Affiliate-selected Board seats/2019/Questions
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- 1 In 2019, what do you see as the disruptive forces impacting WMF?
- 2 What have been some of your prior leadership experiences where you've moved the needle, changed mindsets, and ultimately influenced decisions?
- 3 What motivates you? Do you have any concerns about joining the Board?
- 4 What do you think are the major risks for the 2030 WMF Board, and what skills, resources, and expertise do you have to offer to navigate the organisation through them?
- 5 What is your strategic analysis of the Wikimedia Foundation Medium-term plan 2019?
- 6 What do you think being a WMF trustee involves?
- 7 How will you gather, evaluate and act on information for all policy decisions?
- 8 How do we deliver the improved accountability and transparency expected by our editing community
- 9 Can you give us at least two concrete examples from your past as to how you have helped change the culture of an organization?
- 10 Would you feel comfortable in speaking out when a conflict or tense situation arises? And how would you deal with this? Please give us an example of when this has happened to you.
- 11 Can you show us the impact of your work at your place specifically in the fields that you named in your statement, things that you promise to do in the big picture?
- 12 Do you believe the Wikimedia Foundation in its present form is the right vehicle for the delivery of the strategic direction? If so why, and if not, what might replace it?
- 13 What is your possition about relevance criteria in Wikipedias? Should it be the same in all of them?
- 14 What input have you personally given to the Movement Strategy process to date?
- 15 What is your position on the policy/practice of secret and termless punishments currently in practice at the Wikimedia Foundation, applied over members of the Wikimedia Community without even informing them they are being subject to such punishment, nor why?
- 16 In case you agree with the current WMF practice on this, should the victims of WMF imposed termless and secret punishments be informed of them, and the right of defense be granted to them before making them effective?
In 2019, what do you see as the disruptive forces impacting WMF?
The greatest disruption to the wiki projects comes from the increase in mobile editing and viewing. This creates opportunities for the emerging communities to include their voices globally. I mentioned this in my comments about the 2030 Plan. Geraldshields11 (talk) 13:56, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
The disruptive forces that have an impact on WMF in this year are the unobtrusive management or in my opinion not transparent or not public. All the procedures are very long and can frustrate the contributors who make the movement live in general. The fact that the movement is too centralized acts on certain freedom such as the right to finance for everyone without looking in what country they live in because usually, these countries have active users (such like Russia or Iran). Maybe one day we will definitely lose these communities either because they will change orientation to create their own movement, or do nothing and stagnate. As, a result, we will lose a whole community or language. My feeling is that the movement has become almost a political movement that excluded some countries, ethnic groups or even minorities. My experience shows that if I live physically in Russia I can not make projects supported with the grant, I cannot be hired by the WMF because I am in Russia (even if there is no candidate for this post, they will take no one than to take a candidate who lives in countries such as Russia), and the worst for me is that the information is not clear/correct in the job offer (there is no information that forbids being in a territory that is blacklist). I see her as the biggest challenge ahead.--Reda Kerbouche (talk) 17:15, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
We spend years writing a perfect mission statement rather than simplify grants and decentralize bureaucracy. We perfect coding styles and wiki search rather than improving content itself and make the site engaging to the users. I believe that the most disruptive force for the movement is us ignoring progress -- we focus on bikeshedding in both technical and organizational matters, while the world steadily moves forward, introducing new technologies (mobile/tablet/set-top TV boxes/...), new ways to share rich content (Facebook/Instagram/YouTube...), new ways to teach (Datacamp/Codeacademy/...), new ways of communicating (StackOverflow Q&A sites/...), new ways to crowdfunding (Kick-starter), ...
Hyperbolically, papyrus scrolls and clay tablets may contain great knowledge, but if the new generation is used to printed books with pictures, they will not participate in the older forms of knowledge as much. New generation finds Wikipedia useful, but less and less appealing simply because it does not stay up to date with the other form of communication. Encyclopedia Britannica had a relatively narrow target audience, Wikipedia appeal is clearly much wider. If we do not stay current, if we continue to deliver walls of dry text sprinkled with a few images in between, we risk becoming less relevant as new forms of knowledge sharing and education slowly overtake Wikipedias. --Yurik (talk) 02:00, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
- Bureaucracy/administrative burden/governance: The movement is currently facing a challenge made by its own success. We are too big and the structure that have nurtured us can no longer accommodate our growth. Incremental change in the same way as Mollusc shell is proven ineffective. It is probably the time to do molting. Further delays in making this important decision will only lead to higher opportunity cost.
- Technological changes:
- (external) Mobile platform is being adopted and is a crucial element to increase internet penetration to all. However, our market share has dropped as more people get access to the internet.
- (internal) Visual editor, Lua script and other technical tools/features have been introduced while a number of things are deprecated. The potentials of new tools have not been fully realized and, in many occasions, there are frustrations and resistance among community members. We cannot afford to loose volunteers because of irregular/unplanned upgrading.
- Demographic changes: Wikipedia volunteers were predominantly young white American males. However, as the society ages and the internet penetration expands to cover the entire global population in the near future, this probably will not be the case. There are untapped potentials in Asia, Oceania and elsewhere.
Disruptive forces means not just negative, they are game changers - they can transform how things are and done, and they can be negative, if you do not anticipate them, but they can also offer opportunities. Among the disruptive forces, able to impact Wikimedia Foundation, I see:
- Considerable changes in the legal landscape (and we have already witnessed the EU lawmakers making steps towards limiting internet freedom), government regulations, censorship across the globe (which can come in different forms, like, for example, a state internet separation and moving towards total control); and our not really distinct brand awareness would be a minus (we do assume that everybody knows Wikipedia and it opens doors - but it is not always a case, if we do not develop it. People are not exactly aware that Wikipedia is not Google and Facebook (the media around the EU vote would often just group us together), and they think we are from the same pool). We need to be more engaged in advocacy globally, trying not only to protect what we have, but maybe trying to change things for the better - we have been reactive before, but in this changing conditions it is better to be proactive, getting like-minded organisations to work with us.
- Major changes in technology (like the recent improvements in machine translation) can be used to help our communities grow content faster and more easily. We have been invested in structured data since 2012 with Wikidata, and for the past three years we have been heavily invested in structured data for Commons development: structured data will help us to make the information we already have into a machine-readable format, allowing us (and all our re-users) to search, edit and re-use it better. Structured data on Commons (SDoC), for example, can improve our partnerships with GLAM institutions, as their content donations would be more ‘discoverable’, thus more and better used. And improving search of Wikimedia Commons files is a huge step forward. Incidentally, a side benefit of the Structured Data on Commons project is that content on Commons will not only be better described, but *multilingually* described, and therefore much more discoverable outside the language of the media donor. (Indeed, today most of us non-native English speakers nonetheless categorize our files using English category names, or they would never be found by anyone who doesn’t speak our language. SDoC solves this issue.). Structured data for language (“Lexeme”), currently in development, will finally let us unleash the potential of truly multilingual dictionaries, as well as thesauri, pronunciation guides, travel phrasebooks, and more. It is the technology Wiktionary always deserved, and never got. And being brand new, we are only *beginning* to see the tools and applications that will be built on top of it. I foresee it powering a variety of learning scenarios, from children to adult learners, from casual learners (like travelers) to serious scholars tracing etymologies or usage changes through the years. Finally, our structured data efforts are *already* the basis for interesting innovation, such as WikiGenomes, Crotos, and Scholia. And this is the tip of the iceberg. In a few years, there will be many more applications, most of which we would not have even imagined.
- Demographic changes: only 1.5% of all Wikipedia edits come from Africa, but the population there is growing, and we need to be where our emerging communities are (either in content or in platforms - they do use mobile phones more, but our editing still is better done on desktops). We need to engage contributors for our content creation to further increase. This volunteer diversity would also mean a change in culture - with new communities joining our projects --アンタナナ 09:44, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Community growth: An issue of great concern to me is growing the open knowledge community to include people from a more diverse backgrounds to we can better meet the mission of providing access to the sum of human knowledge. This is especially the case for emerging communities and more work needs to be done to both understand and support the growth of these communities. This issue is also linked to Knowledge access.
Knowledge access: Pressing a disruptive force for the movement at large that the WMF will need to play a role in is making multimedia more impactful, accessible, meaningful, and easier to edit. This includes both video and data visualization. Currently we are discriminating against people who do not like or cannot access information in written form. Through appropriate investment we can develop systems to make it easier for people to edit, create and add multimedia content to our open knowledge projects. Additionally many concepts are better articulated through interactive data visualisation in addition to other forms of multimedia. This problem can largely be solved through the development of better support technology. Another important aspect of this to encourage the addition of knowledge from emerging communities. In order to fulfil our goal of the sum of human knowledge we need to ensure that knowledge from the rest of the world and emerging communities in particular are included. This will make our open knowledge projects more meaningful to people from other parts of the world which will contribute to the cycle of knowledge addition as more people become editors from those parts of the world. This is strongly related to community growth.
Institutional drift: For the WMF, I see growing distance with the community, accountability, creeping bureaucracy, and mission creep as possible future disruptive forces. This problem is harder to resolve as it requires a stronger institutional and community culture. It also requires greater awareness of how these problems tend to manifest themselves, how to address them in an appropriate manner, and why we need to be cautious of them.--Discott (talk) 09:22, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Disruptive forces are meant to be fast and radical usually. Otherwise, they are just but changes.
I would say, and hope, the most disruptive force for Wikimedia Foundation is actually the Movement Strategic process. The way the process has been done and the things it should strive for are already forcing Wikimedia Foundation to reassess how it operates. And I hope it will push the organization to do that even more once it’s done.
All the other changes would it be tech, product, demographic, legal, etc. are the ground reasons why we are going for that process. But implementing the changes needed to be successful in fulfilling our strategic direction will be disruptive.
We will all have, Wikimedia Foundation included, to be ready for that change. Change in how we do things, the resources we have and how we are all working together.
Disruptive forces are a main reason I've decided to run. While disrupting old practices, which might be painful to some, they also create opportunity for necessary growth and change for the better. There are 2 types of disruptive forces that WMF will have to consider:
- Technological advancements:
- A growing use of machine learning and AI could greatly benefit volunteers’ work. WMF will have to address it to better support our community.
- Better address the increase in mobile usage - we must make sure the service we provide is focused on mobile, as well as attend to those who are still not connected
- Our platform is in serious need of a new User Experience design, that will also be more engaging, actively inviting users to explore the platform
- Mobility and connectivity is influencing the way we learn, we have seen a shift towards learning through videos. WMF will have to make an effort to promote an inclusion of new formats of knowledge in the different projects, to stay irrelevant, especially to the younger generations.
- Copyright laws and legislation, online censorship etc. are affecting countries and practices worldwide. WMF will have to be proactive on advocacy and partnerships with like-minded organization, to fight injustice & censorship and promotes openness.
It is said that "with great power comes great responsibility". As the 5th biggest website in the world, we have to be accountable and responsible first and foremost to our volunteers, then to our audience and donors.
- Community health, the gender gap and other knowledge gaps - WMF has to continue to deal with these proactively: changing practices that do not support volunteers, be transparent, accountable and responsive to community needs.
- Wikidata and Structured Data on Commons are changing practices that the community is used to for years. This, combined with the rise of User Groups and affiliates, means that WMF has to invest in better infrastructure for the community
- Capacity building - communicate with the community - making sure no affiliate is left behind, engage with affiliates and individuals, and develop healthy governance and practices
- Tools - so we all have the tools to do our work in the most efficient, impactful, sustainable and scalable way
- Finally, our Strategic Direction - it is paramount that whatever recommendations the Working Groups make, WMF will implement these properly without dismissing issues that were flagged by the community. Shani Evenstein. 00:24, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
The key disruptive force facing the Wikimedia movement today is the tension between community and professional infrastructure, and maintaining a productive ratio between the two. If we become too top-heavy through overcentralization or too diffuse by lacking a strong direction, we fail. Forces on both ends take many shapes, funding growth for the WMF and some of the better-positioned affiliates while others have little or no growth, community growth in some parts of the globe and stagnation in others, as well as the emergence of outside institutional and corporate influence on the projects through new technical reuses.--Pharos (talk) 03:25, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
I would say the disruptive forces impacting the WMF are the following:
- The growing bureaucracy and centralization inside the WMF and its internal workflows, that have discouraged many volunteers in the past to get more involved, causing the distance between the WMF and the volunteers to increase.
- The US-, white- and anglo-centered perception of the WMF. While this has changed substantially if we go back to how it was 10-12 years ago, the WMF is still perceived by many outside and worse, inside the movement, as a mostly WASP institution with decisions, actions and plans that border on paternalism towards those who do not meet this description. While the 2030 Strategy Process is a more than welcome move that aims to correct many wrongs, a change of mentality needs to occur at all levels, if we really want to have a truly global movement.
- The need for more transparency. There are too many black boxes that prevents us from understanding better how the WMF works, and as a consequence, generates rejection.
- External forces limiting freedom of access to knowledge, from the governments of China, Iran, Turkey and Venezuela to the EU, also obstruct the global impact of the WMF and our movement. In most of the cases I have seen the WMF has been reactive, and what we need is the other way around, a foundation that works actively and advocates for the freedom of access to knowledge.
- The interface of our projects is getting old, and less appealing to the younger generations, who still use them to consult information, but show less and less interest in becoming part of the movement.
- Individuals using the rules and procedures in place as a platform for their own personal benefit, rather than the movement's.
That being said, all these disruptive forces can become triggers of positive changes, handled properly. It is in the trustees' hands to push for those very much needed changes and ensure they are properly followed-up. Maor X (talk) 19:51, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
What have been some of your prior leadership experiences where you've moved the needle, changed mindsets, and ultimately influenced decisions?
At the Berwyn Heights town council meeting, I stated “Let’s liberate ourselves from the patriarchy” because of a comment from one councilmember to a town administrator.
I continue to move to needle in documenting the successful events and edit-o-thons, such as the Art+Feminism photos. Some of these photos were used by Business Insider to illustrate the wiki movement. In addition, I documented the success of AfroCrowd. Geraldshields11 (talk) 14:01, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
One of my leadership experiences outside the movement was in a Swedish company where I was entrusted to totally modify the tracking system of consumer products that have already been running for 3 years to more than 300 co-workers. The system was created and introduced to co-workers with the help of my team of 3 people. First, we created little booklets (tutorials) for everyone to read and then we did workshops, and after we followed them for months to be sure that they went well
Another experience was to make great discussions with members of the French-speaking Wikipedia community about articles related to Algeria that are still a difficult subject especially when we talk about the colonial period, where Algeria was French, and I could even lead an article to the label of a good article.
Soon I will have the opportunity to change mentalities and influence several thousands of Algerian users to help safeguard of the material and immaterial heritage of their countries through the projects I have created.--Reda Kerbouche (talk) 17:21, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
I initiated the Wikimedia New_Readers/Raising_Awareness_in_Nigeria Video project. I got this idea when I observed my community and I realized that we do something different to connect to a new crop of editors. As a result of the Wikimedia New_Readers/Raising_Awareness_in_Nigeria Video project, we saw a surge in the usage of Wikipedia in Nigeria. We also saw a lot of conversation about what Wikipedia is and these conversations spanned as far as Ghana and Cote d'ivoire. This campaign gave me (and other members of my community) the opportunity to reach out to a wider audience via social media, explaining what Wikimedia was and the benefits it had to our community. This activity greatly impacted my society both offline and online. I am happy that this simple idea that I discussed with Zack McCune in Accra won an award for the Best NGO in Africa African Excellence Award 2018 in Dublin, Republic of Ireland.
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
While at WMF, I started the wiki maps project. I had to convince the management it was what users needed. I had to engage with engineers to get it done. I engaged and helped migrate Wikivoyage communities first, followed by Wikipedias to add interactive maps. I was far more in-tune with the community, who later voted it to be the most important project. Even after leaving WMF, I wrote most of the multilingual maps software used my Comm-Tech team that received OSM innovation of the year award for this work. --Yurik (talk) 20:38, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Please refer to Affiliate-selected_Board_seats/2019/Questions#Taweetham_Limpanuparb_8. --Taweethaも (talk) 14:07, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
How and when people join the board is important: a more stable board is better for the organisation, leads to better onboarding, and makes trustees more efficient. I joined the board of Wikimedia Foundation in 2016 and started working on board governance. My own onboarding process was not particularly smooth, thus it took longer than I had anticipated before - our general counsel and the secretary of the board resigned, we had a brand new chair and chair of the board governance committee (BGC), and we had two vacancies for a few months now. We had a prospect of two trustees leaving at the end of the calendar year, thus increasing the vacancies to four appointed seats. And there was another thing: trustees’ turnover was not synced in the big picture, creating more pressure to look for them. I have created a few scenarios for trustees’ turnover for 10 years, till 2026, to show how it looks: Template:Wikimedia Foundation Board Governance Committee/Board terms.
We discussed the possible scenarios with the BGC, and then added it to the agenda to discuss it with the whole Board. We did not make the immediate decision on changes to any of the scenarios I have proposed, but we did have discussion with the soon-to-leave trustees to see if they can prolong their term, so we would not be that pressured. This also led to deciding that having new people join at Wikimania is better: we have an in-person meeting then, outgoing and incoming Trustees can at least say hello to each other and some in-person onboarding can happen then (appointed seats had their term ending at the end of calendar year, not a fiscal year of Wikimedia Foundation). We have also tasked the Legal department with testing the scenarios we have seen, and advising us on how we can improve our turnover cycles.
Practice showed that it is quite difficult to find a good trustee for an appointed seat if we also want to pay attention to diversity. So it does not work very well, if we try to have all appointed seat join one year, all community selected seats the other year, and all affiliate selected seats the third year: appointed seats should be distributed. And this is now the model we are working with now.
I hope this example shows how an idea should be tested and discussed, to get the best possible result. Leading the discussion does not mean being the only one heard - it also involves listening to people with practice and expertise, preparing data and arguments for the board to make a better informed decision --アンタナナ 14:47, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
The best single example of this is my advocacy efforts to amend South Africa’s Copyright Law that is in need of a makeover to better protect creators of content (such as open knowledge contributors) as well as reflect changes in the use of media in current times. Leading Wiki Loves Monuments in South Africa made me aware of the need for a Freedom of Panorama clause in the law. This also got me involved copyright advocacy in the Wikimedia movement which also made me more cognisant of the need for South Africa to move from a Fair Dealing copyright regime to Fair Use. This lead to me getting involved in the effort to create the Copyright Amendment bill in 2015 which will update the current law. This culminated in my testifying to the South African parliament on the issue which eventually resulted in the creation of a Freedom of Panorama clause in the bill. My work creating and supporting an alliance of mission- aligned and like-minded people on the topic of Fair Use helped to also get it included into the bill. Late 2018,the bill was passed by the South African Parliament and in March this year the bill was approved by the equivalent of the South African senate. Currently the bill is waiting to be signed into law by the President of South Africa. Throughout this time we have had to fight an increasingly intense battle of ideas with anti-bill lobbyists who want to see no change or even greater copyright restrictions.
I feel my direct involvement on this has done a great deal to “move the needle” on this issue and get the bill to where it is now. If or when it is signed into law we will have achieved a great deal in updating South Africa’s copyright law to be friendlier to South African Wikipedia editors and Commons contributors.
I also like to think that I made a difference in raising the community’s awareness of geographically based representation disparities within both our movement and knowledge content on Wikipedia by making this a theme at Wikimania 2018.--Discott (talk) 09:09, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
There were many occasions, but I would like to share two that happened on literally my first days as a trustee, and back then chair, of the Wikimedia Foundation.
First, the stand Wikimedia Foundation took on toxic behaviors. This was a topic of discussion, and I knew it was important, so I worked hard with the board for it to be a very intentional thing, and pushed for the Foundation to increase our spending and commitments on this topic. The Wikimedia Foundation is far from having deployed everything it could deploy yet, but we are working towards this and this was made possible by the strong intent behind that resolution.
Second, and those that attended Wikimania in Esino Lario in 2016 might remember, I made it a point to advocate for a discussion about our purpose as a movement to happen movement-wide and worked to make sure all topics about where we are going were back on the table. I advocated for that very strongly.
I was lucky we had a brand new ED in Katherine who was going in the same direction so that the whole board actually built around that idea. This ended up being the Strategy process we are currently going through and, as a first step, a clear and strong strategic direction.
Here are 3 examples: 1) As a board member of Wikimedia Israel from 2012 to 2014, I was part of the board that made the transition from a volunteer based chapter, to one that hired staff and rented offices. It wasn't an easy thing to get the community to agree on and accept but I was one of the driving forces for that change, as I believed it will help us grow and scale. 2) As part of my academic activities at Tel Aviv University (TAU). I was able to persuade the School of Medicine's Academic Affairs Committee that they should let me open an elective course where I will teach Med students how to contribute to Wikipedia. The course was approved in 2013. Since then, almost 200 medical students participated (about a 1/3 speak Arabic as a native language; about half of them women), writing together almost 300 medical-related articles, which are about 10% of medical content in Hebrew Wikipedia. Those articles got over 6 million views over the years and continue to service the public and other medical professionals. After the success of this course, I was able to convince the Rector's office at TAU to let me open a second course, that will be available to all other disciplines. The course was approved in 2015 and now every undergraduate at TAU can take a course on Wikipedia & Wikidata. 3) During the Berlin Conference in 2017, I had the idea that the group then called "The Education Collaborative" should transforms to the User Group. I helped realize that vision with the help of wonderful friend from around the world, and after a (frustrating) year of waiting for AffCom's approval, we were finally approved. I was honored to be elected as chair of that group and am thrilled to see the EDUWiki community around the world united and working together to realize our shared goals. Shani Evenstein. 23:37, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I am proud to have led the Wikimedia New York City chapter from its founding in 2009 until 2017. I am also glad to have innovated and helped seed both global and regional efforts, launching the first-ever photo events and the first-ever multi-site edit-a-thon campaigns and the fostering of global projects like Art+Feminism and AfroCrowd that emerged from the New York City chapter, as well as mentoring many local communities in the United States and supporting WikiConference North America. I have worked consistently over the years to develop both institutional participation and grassroots community growth, taking a leading role in GLAM and education and changing partners' minds in my country and beyond, even as I have always worked with local communities. Some may have the impression that because the WMF has its corporate base in the United States, this facilitated community growth in that country- in fact, the opposite is true. The one metropolitan area in the United States with the weakest community relative to its potential is the San Francisco Bay Area, and this is not a coincidence. I have strong experience bringing together Wikimedians locally, nationally, and globally, and I want my tenure on the WMF board to further the conditions that will empower others in the community to do the same everywhere.--Pharos (talk) 04:40, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
- I grew up in a family of cops (parents, uncles and aunts on both sides and my older brother) and one of the first things I learned as a kid was to avoid a conflict if you know you stand no chance of winning it. As a founding member of Wikimedia Venezuela, while navigating through the turbulent waters of the Bolivarian government's bureaucracy and the extremely polarized Venezuelan society, we had some of our members called "traitors" on the government-owned media and even questioned at the airport for their supposed links to the CIA -myself included. This triggered a sense of fear in all our members, who did not want to join the ever-growing list of political prisoners of the Bolivarian regime. While standing up to the government supporters' attack would automatically classify us as part of the opposition (some of our members are still PSUV supporters) but also shield us mediatically, As one of the oldest members of the chapter, I explained we had zero chance of standing unharmed against the state, and we decided to keep quiet until the the waters calmed down slowly. And it happened. It took some time, but the references on the state media ceased to appear.
- Another example was in a job I had as QA auditor at a bank in Venezuela. My boss was on maternity leave, so being the senior auditor in the team I was in charge for the time being. The National Assembly was discussing new regulations for the banking industry in regards to the accessibility for less-able users. I explained my superiors and my team that the earlier we started to work on updating our platform to the new regulations and test it (our job) in parallel, the less costly it would be to the bank but also we would have taken a step forward in the industry and it would earn us a good image, rather than sit down passively waiting for the regulations to be approved. I searched all over the internet for the different regulations already in practice in other countries, and studied the project being discussed in the parliament -in the end, when the new regulations were approved, we only had to make small adjustments in our platform and we were certified way before the regulators' deadline. --Maor X (talk) 20:38, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
What motivates you? Do you have any concerns about joining the Board?
My motivation is the great and wonderful people I have met at all the wiki events I have attended. There I discovered a need for emerging communities to be included. Inclusion in the education mission should be a future focus based on the results of the Working Groups. Geraldshields11 (talk) 14:10, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
My biggest motivation is the community that pushes me to put my candidature. All the representatives who have been hitherto were representatives of Chapters, while most of the current affiliations are user groups and I am a representative of a user group. All the old board members who present their candidacy had their chance to make their change in the movement. Now it is the turn for the new affiliations to contribute to this effort. I am not worried about my membership and in joining the Board since I am very confident in myself.--Reda Kerbouche (talk) 17:25, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
In 2006 I volunteered to write Wikipedia API - the API that truly opened Wikipedia content far beyond the direct readers of Wikipedia. It allowed the creation of numerous wiki bots, showed wiki content in Google sidebar, helped DuckDockGo understand your searches, and allowed thousands of research projects in academia to analyze wiki.
At the time I saw it important to open up Wikipedia so that world would benefit from it. Now, I feel it is as important to improve and decentralize our platform. Wikidata was a huge success in part because it was not managed by WMF.
My only concern is that I will not be convincing enough or diligent enough to bring change to the direction, and to avert stagnation. --Yurik (talk) 20:38, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
I did not plan to submit my candidacy in advance. Therefore, in advance, I did not organize support groups for me in these elections. I did not negotiate to approve my application with the community of affiliates. However, it turned out that my application was among the candidates for these elections. I'm not sorry about that. Also, I did not prepare my program in advance. However, it turned out to be unexpected for me that I already have such a program. To do this, I did not have to invent anything like this in vain. Now, a few days later, I can definitely say for myself that the program I have submitted is worthy of being implemented at the general level of the Wikimedia Foundation. I am sure that this will be a useful experience for all without exception of local organizations and projects of the Wikimedia Foundation. This adds even more confidence to my own efforts to complete my program. Although, the latter is already beginning to cause me some concern, so as not to become too self-confident. Therefore, it is important for me to get a critical opinion of everyone: what do you think about the program I have declared?
Please, on my candidate discussion page — Yithello (talk) 09:16, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
My colleagues and I understand that there is a need to represent Asia/Oceania region and to bring expertise in science, law and education to the board. After a careful consideration, I have accepted the invitation from colleagues who have expressed their support for me to take this position. An important factor that leads to this decision is the lack of candidates with similar background/expertise.
I understand that the board membership is a volunteer position with high responsibility. Dedication and commitment are needed. Additionally, in terms of logistics, our region is possibly to furthest away from the Foundation in terms of distance and timezone and this will be an extra challenge to overcome. --Taweethaも (talk) 14:48, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I am thankful for the trust I got in 2016 - I have been trying to learn, develop and gain experience and institutional knowledge, and I am motivated to join the Board for the next term. It is very inspiring to be able to be a part of positive changes - I want our communities to be successful, and I want to be there to voice concerns, make decisions, support. This is also an opportunity to make changes to the world at large - and the strategy process we have undertaken is a path to better aim our efforts and resources to fulfill our mission. This is also that exciting moment when we can rethink how we do things, prioritise what needs to be done - and find partners to do things with us, that we are not particularly keen on doing, so we are able to do what we are doing best. The next few years will be transitional for the Movement and the Wikimedia Foundation, and I would like to be a part of working on this.
I think that the biggest concern should be one’s time commitment. Back in 2016 it was extremely difficult to simultaneously leave a position of a Board member of Wikimedia Ukraine and transfer to a board member of Wikimedia Foundation. I also had to learn a lot, read a lot of materials, and it was all at the expense of my free time and (of course) being able to edit Wikiprojects. And I do love editing, so for the first half of my term it felt like only work and no results, and that is a very frustrating state to find oneself in… Especially if one is a volunteer.
Here’s an example of the time demands of even a fairly simple board matter: the work of the Board Governance Committee (BGC) is aimed at improving how the board is working. As committee chair I have discussed with the Legal department how we can improve things. One of the proposals from Legal was to raise the limit of the maximum terms for board members to 3 times. Then I shared their proposal with the BGC, to prepare for a call on this matter. After the call the document was shared with the Board, then we had a discussion about this at the Board meeting, and after the approval from the Board we planned to have a conversation with the Community about the proposed changes to the Bylaws (which is a usual practice). As there were two other proposals to make changes to the bylaws - adding a line about our commitment to diversity and allowing user groups to take part in the next ASBS process, we decided to combine all three of them in one discussion, thinking that it might be better to have one discussion on 3 topics, rather than make community members and staff take part in 3 separate conversations. This postponement was also communicated to the BGC and the Board. Then preparing and reviewing the materials before publishing, the community conversation itself, then discussion about the outcomes of the community conversation and adding the approval of the Bylaws to the Board’s meeting. This all takes significant time, and depends on a board member’s willingness to put in that time, and to keep the ball rolling, or many delays are accumulated.
Since 2016, my situation has changed quite a bit - I was able to go on sabbatical (that is when a person decides not to work and can afford it), and before applying now I thought hard about whether I can really concentrate on the Board position for a year at least, which is a crucial period for implementing Strategy, and just not look for a job for a while, so I would be able to commit. This is a serious question to ask oneself before committing, as a lot of efforts and time (both staff and volunteer) are used to organise this process.
The other concern is the possible responsibility of the two selected seats in this round for the institutional knowledge, as next year (2020) all 3 community-selected seats’ term - James, María, Dariusz - will end, and also Raju’s and Esra’a’s terms, and that potentially might mean 5 trustees stepping down during Wikimania 2020. Thus the Trustees selected in this round will have to onboard them. Of course, out of these 5 some might be selected again or re-appointed, but that sounds like a reasonable concern - to onboard half of the board while implementing Strategic plan --アンタナナ 15:01, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I am most strongly motivated by three things:
- Community representation: it is very important to me that the board is accountable to the mission. This involves listening to and serving the community in an open and transparent way. It also involves being strong, focused, accountable and truly dedicated to our movement’s mission.
- Community growth/outreach we need to ensure that the open knowledge community grows to include a wider group of people so we can better achieve our mission of the sum of human knowledge for all for free. This includes a focus on emerging countries where the need and the potential is greatest.
- Institutional development: as our community and the WMF have grown, new problems have started emerging. My concern about over bureaucratization and cultural drift away from supporting community as a means of delivering the mission is an important motivation. I am also concerned with the crystallisation of power structures and the impact this might have on creating organisational inertia that will make it harder to the WMF to action interventions. The “Silicon Valley bubble” effect and the risk of the WMF being over focused on issues and people in its immediate geographical area at the expense of the wider global community is also an issue of concern. --Discott (talk) 09:21, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
What motivates me is to contribute to something that can change the World, and do it with the world. The Wikimedia projects and communities have that capacity, but we have yet to support and empower them to reach that scale.
What motivates you?
- Fixing things that don't work well, which has always been a strength of mine. This touches on 'righting wrongs', which is driven by a strong sense of justice.
- Helping communities grow and empowering individuals to fulfill their potential is one of my greatest joys in life, which is related to my educator's nature.
- A deep and strong belief that all humans have the right for free education and that what we do together matters.
- A tendency towards "Big picture" processes and long-term projects management - I've always liked to drive projects from the idea phase to making them a reality. I like the different aspects of managing a process, relationships and working with others to realize a vision, which is partly why my passion has always been in Outreach and my talent has been creating long-term partnerships.
Do you have any concerns about joining the Board?
Any experienced candidate would understand that being on the board is complex. I'm very confident in the skillset & experience I will bring to the board. However, watching the board for years now, I believe the biggest challenge would be persuading board members who are not from the community, why this next Board should be different, and actually work to serve our community of volunteers, who are those who bring the real value into the movement, rather than being run like a tech company, serving monetary goals and the interests of the shareholders. I would say this is less a concern, rather, it is a challenge and something I'm aware of that will require work and effort. Shani Evenstein. 23:38, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I am strongly motivated to develop and broaden a Wikimedia movement that is a integral part of the Free Culture movement. I have worked for many years to bring people together for free knowledge, and this gives me a profound intellectual and social satisfaction in the building up of a global resource for the public good. The overwhelming majority of the Wikimedia community is here to do something positive, and it gives me an optimistic viewpoint on humanity to be a part of this grand yet imperfect effort. I believe the world is a better place when it is more informed about itself and we can function better as global citizens for it. The greatest personal concern I have is actually losing a local connection to the community and fellow volunteers of my diverse and beautiful city, that has grounded my Wikimedia experience at a grassroots level, but I am also hopeful this same experience can prove fruitful in a wider context..--Pharos (talk) 05:05, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
I decided to submit my candidacy in the very last minute -a few hours before the deadline- because I did not feel my vision of what our movement should be was represented, first and foremost as a Latin American member of a minority. Having grown up between two languages (one at home, one at school) and being the different kid throughout all my school years made me understand from an early age what the need to have your voice heard is, and the more I have contributed to our movement through different avenues (Iberocoop, AffCom, Wikipedia in Ladino, Incubator) the more I interact with people who need to have their voice heard as well. Being able to give them a hand and help them thrive in our movement is what motivates me. This is the reason why I decided to study Wayuunaiki and later searched all over the Venezuelan social media for native Wayuunaiki and Ladino speakers and encouraged them to work on projects in their mother tongue -because I understand what it feels like to be not known, not understood and not represented.
My only concern is the refusal of some actors in the movement to accept the changes proposed by the different Working Groups in the Movement Strategy; this is why we need to have WGs as diverse as possible, incorporate the input from the non-WG participants into the discussions and understand this is a set of common goals we need to attain for the benefit of our movement, one that has changed the paradigm of how to access knowledge. --Maor X (talk) 21:11, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
The major risk to the WMF is ignoring the upcoming opportunity that mobile editing gives the Global South. In my comments to Plan, I stress the two Working Groups efforts. Geraldshields11 (talk) 17:14, 2 May 2019 (UTC) Geraldshields11 (talk) 22:24, 6 May 2019 (UTC) Another risk is having about 1 billion possible readers in China suddenly getting access to the various wiki projects. Geraldshields11 (talk) 22:24, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
Since organizational changes will be followed by misunderstandings within the community, as they are taken out of their comfort zones, there is a risk of rejections of the new strategy proposals because the old routines and ways of working are more familiar. But my crisis management skills and finding a consensus that will be suitable for everyone are my biggest advantages in organizing the new movement. I speak several languages, which will help me to connect with several communities. I am interested in being part of different communities. I am always offering my help to communities without waiting for them to ask me for that.--Reda Kerbouche (talk) 17:28, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
One major risk for the 2030 WMF Board is implementation of the outcome of the 2030 Strategy. The 2030 Strategy will bring about a lot of changes, changes that will not go down well with everybody and this may have us loose some volunteers and donors. To prevent this from happening, I will recommend an open process during the implementation. All concerned parties must be carried along and we must be open to speak with any aggrieved parties. I beleive my negotiation skills will come to play here.
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
Stagnation - doing more of the same, hoping to get a different result.
I came from the community, and yet I have also seen WMF from the inside, working there for several years. I have worked on many critical wiki technologies, and I connected with the community in many different non-technical projects. I was a CTO of a hedge fund, and I have presented at numerous conferences on technology and Wikipedia topics. I think this uniquely qualifies me for this position. --Yurik (talk) 20:45, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Based on Strategy/Wikimedia_movement/2018-20, I anticipate that disparity will be major risks for the Board:
- By 2030, the movement will comprise of volunteers with three decades of experience as well as newly joined members with edits only in the past three days. While we should value contribution and success in the past, we need to aim for the future and long-term sustainability.
- By 2030, I believe that the representation of all sectors and regions in the world will markedly improved. However, the underlying sociopolitical/socioeconomic power of the underdogs may still remain marginalized. Their voices may be heard but resource distribution may still be limited due to various limitations.
As a long-terrm Wikipedians, scientist, educator and lawyer, I offer to use my expertise to help navigate the movement through them. Risks are usually associated with returns or other opportunities. The bright side of disparity issues is the diversity.
- By recognizing the value of veteran volunteers in our movement, we may encourage them to transfer knowledge and experience to novice volunteers. An ecosystem that can accommodate collaboration of volunteers of varying skill/maturity should also be developed.
- Distribution of limited resource is always a difficult issue for most organizations. We do not only want a fair distribution but we wish to make sure that our investment is fruitful and effective. Transparency and timeliness of WMF grant decision is one of the key success factors for the process. A major overhaul of the grant system will be needed when diverse groups of people are fully represented.
Some risks are quite obvious: the recommendations of the Working groups will not be delivered (or delivered quite late, and we shall lose one more year developing a plan); the recommendations will be poorly designed or the plan for their implementation would be not properly developed, managed, executed, and this all work will come to zero positive results… We would fail to engage the community enough, and lose the trust of community, partners, donors in our endeavours.
There are less obvious risks: if the recommendations are quite bold, the board that will have to approve them and implement, might find resistance in some cases, and that might mean a lot of communication with some communities, making sure we have resources in places for long term implementation - so that the work will not stop on technicalities. And also, the board might be passive, the staff might overreach, the communities would not accept changes…
The board approving the Strategy would need to cover possible risks to set the path for the Wikimedia Foundation board of 2030, which would operate when the recommendations will be mostly implemented, so they would need to be prepared to launch a new global and inclusive process. The board of 2030 would need to be an international and diverse body, with quite different kinds of expertise. And our documenting our steps would help them to have a better strategy process.
I have governance experience and institutional knowledge, I understand how Wikimedia Foundation works, I am an active member of the community and an affiliate. I also work with different communities in the CEE region. I value diversity and inclusion, and my track record shows that. I am dedicated to delivering the 2030 strategy process for the good of the affiliates and the entire movement. Moreover I am among those people who get things done, and I think this is something we need --アンタナナ 14:54, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
I have over 12 year experience in the movement and 8 years experience in the non-profit public benefit sector in addition to 4 years experience as a chapter leader. This has given me a great deal of both practical and theoretical experience that will assist the board in navigating the both the foreseen and unforeseen risks that the board might face moving forward should I be elected. Additionally my conflict resolution and listening skills, a product of my job as a criminologist, I can say from experience serving the South African chapter board, has given me a very useful and important skills when serving on an elected board.
- Risk of a growing distance or disconnect between the Foundation and the community. This is most likely the most significant long-term risk. However, actions have been taken over the past few years to address this risk that have had a positive effect. As a community member, it would be my role as a board member to act as a bridge thereby helping to minimize the distance between the Foundation and the community so that it remains a movement that responds to the needs expressed on the ground. We need to ensure that these positive actions are protected. A strong board is an integral part of ensuring the above.
- Risk of board distraction from our core mission. As a result of my training and career thus far, I have become a focused person. I can use that focus to help ensure that the board likewise remains focused whilst adhering to our values and remaining flexible.
- In achieving our outreach priorities in emerging countries, there is a present risk that the board and the foundation are removed from those parts of the world. Being from an emerging country and advocating for knowledge from these parts of the world in the context of our open knowledge mission, I feel I am able to bridge this gap and contribute to the board being closer to the emerging need on the ground.
- Mission creep is a remote but a real risk we should all be aware of and is worth mentioning and addressing. Maintaining focus on the community’s core values/mission and listening to the community will help us navigate this possible risk. I am committed to those community values and will work to defend them whilst listening carefully to the community. My many years of direct and indirect involvement in the community and its mission has made me very committed, firm and focused on our core values of providing the sum of human knowledge to everyone everywhere freely.
- Strategy: how to roll it out and implement it as a movement. This is involves a bottom-up approach working out getting the community’s buy-in with a strategy. A lot of good work has been done on developing the strategy but the real challenge will come in its implementation. As a long time chapter leader and in my day job designing and implementing public benefit projects I have gained considerable experience in the practical of strategy implementation. As well as the development of tactics to better implement strategy in a non-profit setting.--Discott (talk) 09:23, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
Three major risks are looming over us, and they are all rooted in the same thing, the fear of truely opening up.
We have a community risk: we need to successfully onboard more of all the communities that we don’t welcome enough today and even that we don’t know yet. We need them to achieve our mission. In the last three years, we have opened up a lot but are not there yet. We need to be welcoming, accessible and understandable. And more important we need to shut up, listen to all of them better and truly see them as part of our movement.
We have a competition risk. By seeing ourselves as unique and sometimes forgetting to look at the rest of the world we are missing out. Knowledge and content consumption has changed. Big tech players are more and more becoming content providers, content that will compete with the content we seek to provide. We need to pay attention to that, and not discard it by saying we’re a non-profit and we’re different.
We have a product risk. Not only other tech companies will be more and more able to provide content, but they are also doing it in very different ways from ours from a technical standpoint (voice content consumption is ramping up, video is already very strong especially with younger audiences, etc.). But on top of the type of content, we also have a content aggregation issue. We are providing content in long form, which is very good for some audiences but is failing at delivering short forms or interactive forms of content.
On the community perspective, what I bring is a strong will to change our culture and open up widely.
On competition and product, I bring over 10 years of experience, with half of them in a media group and the last three in a leadership position of a strong product driven company.
And I can mesh all of that with 15 years in our movement which allow me to bridge movement values and professional skill sets very effectively.
It is hard to imagine the world even 5 years from now, let alone 10; but if the disruptive force that I described will not be dealt with properly, we will become obsolete:
- We must attend to community health issues and make sure our community is not toxic.
- We must address the gender gap and other knowledge gaps. Inclusivity is not a "buzz word".
- We must support our volunteers, help them grow their capacity and provide them with proper tools to do their work.
- We must invest in developing our platform and provide better service to the public, especially in mobile, and focus on engagement with the public, specifically the younger generations growing up.
- We must invest in advocacy and partnerships in order to be true leaders of Openness in the world.
- And we must make sure that the Strategic Direction is implemented properly and diligently, and be ready to make necessary changes in order to grow.
Failing any of these will have devastating results. Things I can offer the Board to assist its work:
- A deep understanding of the movement, of being part of and leading different types of affiliates. Governance issues are a big part of what the board has to deal with and as a board member and Chair of both local and global affiliates and other non-profit organizations I have ample relevant experience.
- An ability to see both the big picture, as well as the small details necessary to implement a plan from beginning to end.
- A strong desire for volunteers and affiliates in our movement to be taken care of, so they can be empowered to continue the work they are doing and scale it.
- A strong will to see a healthier and more inclusive community - especially as a woman coming from a small language Wikipedia. I come from the community and from affiliates. I will never forget that and what needs to change.
- A strong will to make the strategic process a success, something we not only invested much time, money and energy into, but that actually bears fruits and takes us forward successfully.
- Being a lecturer and a researcher, I know how to talk to different audiences. One of my known strengths is a vast experience dealing with various partners, whether they are educational, cultural or governmental institutions, as well as the for-profit sector. I believe board members must be people we are proud representing us, knowing how to talk to partners and how to collaborate diplomatically.
- I am hard-working, diligent and focused. I'm very good at identifying what is not working, what needs to be done and working with others to deliver.
- Finally, I am truly humbled by the opportunity to represent the broad community of affiliates. Approand ching things with humbleness and humanity has always been important to me, especially working in such scale.
I believe that combined, these traits make me a perfect potential trustee, one that can drive the board to deliver, support the WMF in implementing the necessary changes the Strategic Direction, while attending to volunteer needs. Shani Evenstein. 00:37, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
I believe the major risk facing us for 2030 is a growing distance between the community and the projects' offline support systems, including both the WMF and the affiliates. This can metastasize in many unfortunate forms, but I will highlight one dangerous example not to follow: OpenStreetMap, a parallel project to ours in many ways, has stagnated with a weak OpenStreetMap Foundation and powerful corporate re-users that tend to dominate the project over the volunteer community. There is a real danger of something similar happening with Wikidata and its re-users, that we will have to deal with significantly before 2030. For a vibrant Wikimedia movement of the future, we will have to bridge the distance between online community and non-profit efforts so that we can present a united front in the face of outside challenges and opportunities.--Pharos (talk) 00:34, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
The major risk for the 2030 WMF Board is the implementation of the recommendations coming out of the Strategy Process -that we end up doing basically nothing because the changes proposed are too risky, and for fear of change, the rejection and backlash from many actors in the whole movement. It can go really wrong if the Board is not composed of the right people to take all these challenges and lead the movement in the right direction and deviates us from our mission as a movement and ends up deepening the rift between the WMF and the community.
What skills, resources and expertise do I bring? I have over 12 years of experience in community support for a global clientele, serving directly to those who require it and more than that, listening effectively to them and catering for them at a personal level, which is a crucial skill the members of the WMF Board must have during this process and its implementation: being able to listen, regardless of how positive or negative the message is, and turn it into knowledge and incroporate it to the process. I am fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, Ladino, English and Hebrew, and can understand effectively German, Italian, Catalan and Wayuunaiki, languages that are spoken by a ver large group of volunteers around the globe -and with regards to the last one, I am familiar with the indigenous approach and vision of the world not just because they have been part of my Wayuunaiki studies, but because one of my grandparents was indigenous as well. I also bring to the WMF Board governance and institutional experience stemming from my roles at Wikimedia Venezuela and the Affiliations Committee, which also has helped me create a lot of personal connections with the differents stars in the Wikimedia galaxy. Maor X (talk) 11:31, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
What is your strategic analysis of the Wikimedia Foundation Medium-term plan 2019?
In my statement, 2030 Plan comments, and talk page, I discuss the multiple points. To summarize, mobile editing will make an inclusive and friendly space to open wiki projects to all emerging communities. Geraldshields11 (talk) 17:20, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
The first big challenge will be in the development of underrepresented and marginalized regions because the policy of certain countries will put barriers for us. For that, we will have to react from the inside, as did the Tatar user group, which put the Wikimedia movement inside their local government.
The second most difficult point will be the increase in participation on a global scale, which is feasible under one condition: To put everyone on equal footing as I have already mentioned above in an earlier answer. In my opinion, it is adjustable if we are interested in our users, who are our biggest resource.
The proposed priorities are undoubtedly very much linked to the proposed objectives and will be the tool that will help to achieve them. The modernization of our product experience, with the proposed model of engagement, can be achieved quickly by following steps one by one and to listen to the community their adaptation/acceptance to change.--Reda Kerbouche (talk) 17:33, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
Overall, it is a good step: to have a high-level plan for a few years, rather than one. It is quite difficult to plan for projects and deep changes in technical platforms if the work is planned only for one year.
The Strategy recommendations should be finalized by September, then there will be a gap for decision-making between recommendations and the adoption of new goals and plans. And for organisations like Wikimedia Foundation, assuming resource adjustments or structural changes may be called for, this would mean that only by the start of the next fiscal year (July 1 2020) can work on implementation really start. But meanwhile, some work can be done to change, plan, and prepare the Wikimedia Foundation for these changes. The direction gives us at least some goals to strive to reach, like improving our technical platforms (“Platform Evolution”). And if we need to work better with other “allies and partners”, building our advocacy capacity (“Global Advocacy”) and investing in our communities (“Thriving Movement”) seems like a safe bet. The whole Wikimedia Movement needs to be in a better place itself to build on it.
The plan is limiting the focus to a few goals; it is a logical thing to do, as the resources are limited and one needs to prioritise.
The medium-term plan is not a working plan, with little “how”; it is high-level (“what”), so it actually allows flexibility for management decisions, if the recommendations require it. And as any “living” document, it can be changed and improved. I support it as a step forward. --アンタナナ 17:14, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Overall the Medium-term 2019 plan looks well thought out and I am supportive of them. I really like the goal to “build more diverse and robust user experiences that reflect global demographic, content creation, and knowledge consumption trends.” This is an objective I strongly share and have cared deeply about for a number of years now. The two goals of growing participation in emerging countries and modernization are very good and the best two to focus on currently.
The five priorities to achieve these two objectives are also very good. Although I do want to express some caution with regards to priority 5; advocacy. As a person involved in the advocacy space within the movement, I a deeply appreciate the importance of our movement’s core values related to free knowledge and openness. However, we must also be very careful to focus on only our core values that we all broadly share as it is very important that the mission remains as apolitical as possible outside of the key issues that affect our free and open knowledge mission. Thereby ensuring that we are accepting of people from a broad range of political persuasions.
One issue that I am concerned about is that the metrics are overly focused on quantitative values that do not reflect some of the qualitative realities of the impact they are trying to measure.--Discott (talk) 09:03, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
I believe the Wikimedia Foundation Medium-term plan 2019 is the first step to achieving the 2030 Strategic Plan. If I could add my voice to the plan, I will recommend that Platform evolution should make us see editing on mobile devices. More and more people are getting connected via mobile phone. If we want to increase awareness and editing of Wikipedia, we must make mobile editing easy attractive.
The approach is the right one, from both a strategic and planning perspective. It is necessary for us not to get stuck and to allow the Foundation to be more flexible, more reactive, more ready to correct course. This is a first time for the Wikimedia Foundation and provides good key strategic orientations.
I would say as of now it lacks a bit of the inspiration we have in our strategic direction. The medium-term plan should be more intentional and clear on what we are aiming for. Not only from a strategy standpoint but also how are we building up the capacities needed to fulfill our movement directions.
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
The medium-term plan covered all the priority areas that need to be addressed. I very much appreciate thoughts and efforts of all people who collaboratively proposed it. If I can add anything to that plan, I have the following comments:
- Quantitative metrics are challenging. Most of them are set in absolute term without obvious rationales rather than projection of our past performance. I wish to see that majority of the quantitative metrics are set in relative terms. This could be relative to the market or relative to peers. For example, an average number of hours that a person spends on reading or editing Wikipedia - in comparison with an average hours a person spends online or on social media - would be ideal metrics that measure our success.
- Qualitatively, I wish to see stronger emphasis on the community health and communication both within the community and with stakeholders. I understand that these are addressed in Priorities 1 and 3. However, it cannot be taken for grant that everyone will easily know what we do and what we value. I do not wish to see just superficial connection between a brand and qualities of products. (Priority 1) More importantly, as volunteers and communities are the backbone of our movement, I wish to see more specific outcomes for them. In addition to objective/quantitative goals, I wish to add a challenge of subjective/qualitative goals that we wish to see united, strong, vibrant, satisfied and productive communities in our movement. The barometer tool can help us know if they are happy with WMF and/or other infrastructure/environment. (Priority 3)
Overall, it is a good plan that addresses most of the issues that I raised in answers #1 & #4. That being said, the issue that stands out most as missing focus is WMF not clearly taking ownership and responsibility for developing necessary and required tools for our community of volunteers. While it is mentioned and could be seen as intertwined in some places in the plan, there is no clear statement about it. As indicated in my statement, our volunteers are in dire need of technological tools and WMF must lead and own the development, maintenance and support of such tools or empower other affiliates to do so, as in the case of Wikidata, and hopefully soon GLAM. Some of these are missing while others have been privately developed and are maintained by individuals from our community. To foster a sustainable and growing community and partnerships, this needs to become a priority. It seems that money is not the issue. It's just a matter of making sure it's a priority for us. Shani Evenstein. 00:42, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
The current plan has some common-sense objectives that are positive, though I think it prioritizes the brand too much over the movement. It is quite important to develop our platform and build our technological capacity, and I think that expanding and broadening our movement is ultimately key to that.--Pharos (talk) 15:55, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
I like the aspect of the evolution of our platform as a prioritary one. The more robust user experience, the richer the content we present our users is, the more engaged they will be. I still have some minor concerns about how to strenghten the awareness of our Brand and all the discussion behind it, but I do understand the need to have a solid image that is not solely dependent on the Wikipedia name but on the name of our movement as a global brand. And the same with the metrics, seem to be a bit too oriented to quantitative ones and look a bit paternalistic, and I would like to learn more details about them, as well as what about steps towards more transparency; in any case, it is still a draft, which means it can be further adjusted and clarified.
Another aspect that I agree very much is with the priorities of worldwide reach and the global advocacy. We need to use our strenght as a movement to defend the free knowledge, and combinate our efforts with allies to make it a right rather than a service.
What do you think being a WMF trustee involves?
Similar to my being a steward and treasurer of a NTEU labor union chapter, as the affiliate-selected trustee must give voice to those who would be unheard. Then, focus on the means to implement positive change for the better. This positive change could be a better way to recruit and include cross-cultural members of Working Groups. In addition, please see my comments in the 2030 Plan. Geraldshields11 (talk) 21:21, 2 May 2019 (UTC) copy edit Geraldshields11 (talk) 21:40, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
To be a WMF trustee is to be a person who is trusted by the community and representing its interests., A trustee does all the best theircan to make good decisions for the improvement of all conditions for the movement and the community. A WMF trustee is the image of all the movement and has to manage with good faith .he trustee is the person with whom one can speak freely and openly about all the problems that need to be solved can solve. The trustee is who will be in contact with the community without that they to ping him. A trustee is always available and does not see the others from up, on the opposite a trustee works for the community and is always there for them.--Reda Kerbouche (talk) 17:35, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
Represent and translate communities wishes, and help guide the foundation toward what community thinks is important. User groups and chapters tend to be much closer to the local communities, and often have a very good understanding of the local needs. A trustee represents all such voices at WMF. Moreover, the success of the project is by a large part is due to the success of such local groups, and their support is critical to the project’s survival. --Yurik (talk) 20:46, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Legally, after Trustees are appointed by the Wikimedia Foundation Board, they would have two main fiduciary duties: (1) the duty of care and good faith; and (2) the duty of loyalty. (See Bylaws#Section 3. Selection., Wikimedia Foundation Board Handbook#Board members' legal duties and standard of conduct).
Duty of care and good faith. As it says in the Handbook, being a Trustee requires to “comply with applicable state and federal laws, bylaws, resolutions, policies, guidelines and any other corporate formalities”, so one would have need to read and know them; also attending meetings, being ready for them (reading the materials, asking questions if something is not clear). For example, one would need to read quite a bit about Form 990, as it is important to understand what it includes, what it shows, and this is something Trustees need to understand themselves. Some of these things are covered during the onboarding period, as Wikimedia Foundation is a U.S. based organisation, understanding of the law applicable to the Wikimedia Foundation is necessary.
Duty of Loyalty. That means that Trustees would legally be obligated to act “in the best interests of Wikimedia Foundation”. The selection process (whether it is via Community or Affiliates) would not mean that they can act as representatives of Community or Affiliates while they are Board members of Wikimedia Foundation. A Trustee will sign pledge of personal commitment, must follow Conflict of interest policy. And it is often a perception of the Conflict of Interest, that one needs to be aware of.
Trustees should ask questions and require all the information, ask the opinion of the management, experts, communities, partners, donors etc, so they might reach a decision. But Trustees cannot just accept opinions of these parties, as these decisions might also be in the best interest of that other party. So it is possible to imagine a situation when a Trustee would need to make a decision which might not be favourable to a certain community or affiliate, but this decision would be in the best interest of Wikimedia Foundation.
For example, even though Wikimedia Ukraine is one of the affiliates endorsing my candidacy, they would never expect me to benefit them at the expense of the Movement - and that is how it should be --アンタナナ 15:05, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
A good WMF trustee needs to be fully committed to serving the principles of our movement’s core values. This involves representing the community of editors that create the content as well as the readers who access our content. It also means being mindful of the legal aspects of serving the board in addition to acting above reproach at all times.
Legally means that a WMF trustee has a duty of care (this is setout in the WMF board handbook along with other requirements that must be followed) and has to at all time be cognizant that they are representative of the WMF and, to an extent in the eyes of the public, the broader community as well.
A very important aspect of the ethical requirement involves representing the community; WMF was created by community (who can be viewed as the roots of our movement and mission), we have an obligation to ensure that the foundation does not lose its roots. A good example of a Wiki that lost its roots is WikiTravel which has effectively lost its community who have moved to WikiVoyage and is now in a long term state of decline. This must never happen to the WMF and adhering to our core values and ensuring the health of the community will prevent that outcome. Another thing a WMF trustee needs to be mindful of is that the WMF holds resources on behalf of the entire movement. A good WMF trustee is mindful of this and the need for effective distribution of those resources to meet the mission and ensure its survival in perpetuity.
These reasons are why electing the right people with strong experience, the right skills and strong ethics from broad geographical and social backgrounds to the board is important to keep it strong. I feel I meet these needs.--Discott (talk) 09:49, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
Being a trustee requires to be able to think strategically about things we are passionate about. Being able to balance our personal wishes and truths with the needs of a global organization and be a support to our global movement.
It also needs to be mindful of all the people impacted by our work. Not just affiliates, or Wikipedia communities but also of all of our editing communities equally, our donors, our readers, Wikimedia organizations staff, everyone.
Being too focused or advocating too much in one direction creates an unhealthy unbalance.
At the same time, we must be standing strongly true to a clear direction and our values.
Besides dedicating the necessary time and effort to learn the material and attend meetings, a successful WMF trustee should:
- Have great communications skills - with other BoT members, with WMF C level execs, and most importantly, with the community
- Be in constant touch with the community, understand the needs, and translate the feedback into BoT language, making sure things actually get done
- Act as a liaison for the community
- Keep a focus on what decisions are made and making sure these decisions are acted upon and get executed
Shani Evenstein. 23:39, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I have served for 6 years on the board of the Wiki Education Foundation, approving its strategic and annual plans, and supervising its executive director's direction for the non-profit. As a WMF trustee, I would do the same, working ensure the non-profit does its work effectively and, importantly, in keeping with Wikimedia movement values.--Pharos (talk) 00:21, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Being a WMF trustee means:
- First and foremost, being a person trusted by all the stakeholders in our movement, from WMF Staff and other BoT members to the newest volunteer;
- Being a person that is approachable, willing to listen and who is not afraid to speak out when needed;
- Being a person who can communicate in several languages, because the best way to approach,help and talk heart-to-heart is without resorting to a 2nd or 3rd language, but also that uses this skill as a great tool to access more areas in our movement and to connect with sensitivities that may not even be able to participate in global meetings;
- Being a person that has lived across multiple cultures and contexts, and is not afraid to break their own bubble to explore the other ones;
- Being a person that is not afraid to say they need to gather more information before having an opinion on a particular subject;
- Being a person who understands the WMF is here to serve the movement, and not the other way around;
- Being a person who understands every single of the stakeholders in the movement is as important as the other;
- Being a person who understands that the position is not for personal benefit, but for the benefit of our movement and that is focused on making sure the decisions are always for the best of our movement.
How will you gather, evaluate and act on information for all policy decisions?
I can use many tools to gather information and share it, all the social networks, the mailing lists, as well as discussion pages on Meta. In addition, we have the AffCom where there is always a lot of information on affiliations. I will be available in every Wikimeetings or conferences to discuss with everyone. we can take the necessary actions about all needed policies. I am a member of different communities and my ability to navigate between them and the different languages makes me a good bridge to communicate and be part of the board.--Reda Kerbouche (talk) 17:21, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
I believe Community wishlist is currently the most participated in, and therefore the best way for community to solidify on its goals. We should expand it to non-technical matters, but otherwise, unlike the roadmap, it has proven to be the most robust method. Furthermore, the same concept can be applied to gather chapter and user group opinions. --Yurik (talk) 20:47, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
For information gathering, there are no magic shortcuts to circumvent reading document and listening to people. I read widely and critically with relatively high speed. In my daily professional life, I spend time listening to people and also conduct interviews at various levels for work-related purposes e.g. audit/investigation, selecting successful applicants. Evaluation of information is both an art and a science. Systematically, we can use past statistics/historical records as well as market/peer/competitor data to help making sense of the current information at hands. However, in a real world, all information is usually not available and it may require a combination of intuition, vision and conviction to evaluate and act on information in a timely manner.
I believe that a timely decision is very crucial to policy making at the Foundation. We do have a huge volume of information and significant legacy from about past two decades of operation. However, our future growth and deliverables should not be hindered by the past. In addition to that, communication of policy decisions to involved stakeholders to start dialogue for healthy feedback loop is probably the key to our success. --Taweethaも (talk) 12:05, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
Similar to what I do as a NTEU steward and as a town council member, I weigh what is possible with the available resources and the given time frame. As a WMF trustee, I expect to gather, evaluate and act on information for all policy decisions in a very similar way. I realize that sometimes possibilities are limited and that a timely 80% good action is better than a 100% perfect action that is done too late. Geraldshields11 (talk) 00:53, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Policy decisions are the decisions that shape our future actions. These decisions help us to make choices while being true to our goals and purpose. If we are talking about an organisation like the Wikimedia Foundation, not all policy-making is at the board’s level (Resolution:Delegation of policy-making authority).
As a board member, if I have to make a policy decision, I would request the information beforehand, and ask if something is not clear; depending on the complexity of the matter, I might need to request opinions not only of the staff, but also external experts. Community consultations are built into how Wikimedia Foundation operates, so if a policy decision would influence our projects or communities, I would request to see the results of surveys/consultations with the given community or communities, to ensure due deference was given to community input in weighing the decision. --アンタナナ 17:17, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
In this regard I am fortunate to have been trained in this particular field as a large part of my masters degree was focused on policy formation and evaluation. My approach is rooted in understanding the policy before acting on it, designing the policy, envisioning that policy’s intended and unintended consequences, and working out how to effectively implement it.
Firstly, establishing the objective of the policy is important in addition to who it affects, and why it is important is imperative to evaluate the impact of policy decisions. The above sets the foundation for the subsequent steps. For gathering information I rely on feedback from community members (both online and offline) primarily, Wikimedia Foundation staff and partly from partner organizations. I would also use statistical data collected from surveys and other sources. Based on data and feedback from multiple sources, I would look at the information in the context of both the policy objective in question as well as our movement’s principles.
The next step would be to try and work out what the unintended impacts of that particular policy might, especially relating to its negative possible impacts. Work out how to rework the proposed policy so as to mitigate these negative effects. I then try to take into account how the impact of achieving that policy objective could be measured.
The final step is to draft the policy into a clear, concise, and easily understandable format and get it reviewed. Good policy must be easy to understand and implementable.
All this needs to be done in the context of understanding that a requirement of good policy is that it is accepted and legitimate in the eyes of those it will effect. No matter how well thought through and well intentioned, if a policy is not accepted by people, it is a bad policy.--Discott (talk) 09:56, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
The way I work, would it be as a trustee or in my professional capacity, is to digest provided documentation, usually done by staff knowing their trade, challenge that by researching the topics at hand and put all of that in a spreadsheet.
And then, to assess outcomes based on that information by answering basic questions like “what is the most likely outcome? What are the best and the worse outcome?”. And then make up my mind, present my fellow trustees with my arguments and use their opinions and arguments to change/adapt or reinforce mine.
Good Research is the cornerstone of making any sound decision. I will gather info, cross it with different sources, make sure multiple POVs are represented, make recommendations and finally, using this solid data, will do my best to convince the rest of the trustees. Once decisions are made, I will verify they are executed. If it's a policy change, it should include time for iterations, and back-and-forth process with the community. Shani Evenstein. 23:39, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I will keep my pulse on the community, partly through my pledge to hold a monthly office hour for community members. It is important that we appreciate the diverse points of view on community issues, and work toward solutions that effect the most good globally while also working within the context of outside circumstances and trends. I think I can be the most accessible board member in the history of the WMF, and my door will always be open.
Before taking a decision, it is necessary first of all to gather information from all parties involved, as every coin has two sides (and an edge) and then get input/opinion/recommendations from experts, WMF staff and volunteers via online (community consultations) and offline methods. Then, based on all that information put together plus previous similar contexts, I would come to a decision with the help of tools to analyze data, and then make a decision, and present my recommendations to the Board for discussion. This decision is followed-up by assessments at specific periods after its implementation, and the feedback obtained from the community as well from the Staff and Board will help adjust them if needed, for the benefif of our movement. --Maor X (talk) 14:45, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
How do we deliver the improved accountability and transparency expected by our editing community
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
Surprisingly, by reducing bureaucracy, and by fragmenting the budget. The most significant project of the past 5 years is Wikidata - and that was built and managed by Wikimedia DE, not WMF. WMF having far more resources does not have anything as impactful to show. So just like smaller companies tend to be more efficiently managed, so do smaller self-managed entities could do in a non-profit world.
Every oversight has cost. For example, you can buy your own flight ticket - often more convenient and sometimes cheaper than what WMF offers. Or you can have WMF travel specialist book one for you. The cost of the ticket is marginally the same (let’s say 10% more if you do it yourself), but the cost of having several travel agents on staff to book it for you, plus the cost of back-and-forth time and aggravation far outweighs the salary + benefits + office space that the travel specialists may require, plus there is still oversight by one’s manager and financial officers.
When a small community asks for a tiny grant for a small project, we have a complex process of oversight to ensure that nothing goes amiss, which in the end ends up costing far more than if the oversight was lighter, and we would simply judge by the results. The fear of losing a small amount makes us spend far more in the end. --Yurik (talk) 20:48, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
I see four areas that can help improve accountability and transparency of the movement to the expectation of editors, readers and other stakeholders. It proceeds progressively from step 1 to step 4.
- Sincerity/willingness to engage in the process: This is especially needed from people in the position of power.
- Two-way communication between related stakeholders: This can be in a form of reports/voluntary disclosure and feedback/comments/endorsement votes.
- Empowerment of the people not in power including the marginalized/underrepresented: Actions can be taken based on information gathered from the stakeholders to the best interest of all.
- Efficient structure for sustainable administration: Successful process is formalized into a new structure - hopefully understandable to most people and with reasonable administration cost.
I hope that improved participation in the Working Groups, such as was mentioned in the Wiki User Groups Affiliate channel on Telegram, will lead to a better 2030 Plan. Right now, there seems to be a disconnect between the people who want to contribute and the level of active participation. Geraldshields11 (talk) 01:04, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
The question about transparency is important, but I do not think that we have a clear understanding of what we mean by that. We still do not have a consensus of the desired level of transparency, and how to achieve that transparency. Transparency means different things to different people. Some people are content with our public reports, some would be discontented even with all open meetings (as it is the wiki way).
Board transparency is one of the ongoing tasks of the Board Governance committee; you can find a summary here. Involving volunteer advisory committee members can be an example of how more transparency in decision-making can be reached.
Accountability across the Movement is one of the issues the Roles & Responsibilities group is working on, as we are discussing what the structures should look like, and no roles should come without clear understanding of who is accountable for what to whom.
I think lack of clear understanding of roles and who does what in the movement makes it more difficult to be “enough transparent and accountable”, and the Strategy process is a good time to talk about this and change it --アンタナナ 17:18, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
A good and very important question. Currently the level of transparency by WMF trustees is pretty good as it is so long as people follow existing protocols.
Beyond following existing protocols on transparency there is a need to report certain actions and keep people briefed on what is going on in these meetings. One thing I am good at is holding regular updates with people on events and discussions that have taken place. Listen to the community online and offline, this includes large projects such as FLOW. It is something I regard as extremely important. Documentation is an important part of this. There does come a point however where we have to mindful of the balance between documentation and having the time to get things done or implement decisions. Implementation is a core responsibility of WMF trustees.
With respect to accountability an important underlying question is that we want a WMF that serves our community. Encourage the mindset that the WMF is here is support the community is very important and something I strongly believe in.--Discott (talk) 10:07, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
I would rephrase this question as follows: How do we achieve the level of accountability and transparency that our communities expect of the organization.
Accountability and transparency in the Wikimedia World have a tendency to mean nothing and everything.
If “Recent changes” is the benchmark for transparency, then transparency is something we will never have, no organization can be that transparent. Often, however, the lack of transparency is just a lack of knowledge of the data available, where to find it, and in what context to look at it.
On the accountability part, I would answer again on accountability to whom? Because of the many stakeholders the Foundation have, this gets critical. One decision can be praised by one part of the community and loathed by the other. And when I say part, I can even see that between two Wikipedia editing communities. I think we need to work much more with all of our stakeholders, without losing sight of the strategic direction and of our mission. We will need to be accountable, but we cannot be complacent, or always choose the easy route and only be accountable to the status quo holders, being accountable is a balancing act.
So before answering on “delivering”, I would need us to define exactly what one is trying to achieve exactly, why do we need transparency, who do we decide we are accountable to? (this is something, for example, the Roles & responsibilities Working group is working on). And yes, the devil is in the details, but that is also what it is to be a trustee, seeing the hidden details.
This is one of the issues I care most about, as can be seen in my statement. The first step should be recognizing that the WMF exists not only to keep the servers on, but also to be a leader of Free Knowledge in the world, and maybe most importantly, tend to community needs. This should become a priority that drives policies and decision making. In practice, this means that first WMF has to be more transparent and C level execs should become more accountable than before. In addition, new policies that better support volunteers should be put into place. As indicated in my statement, I will promote hiring a WMF employee dedicated to the Board. This employee will facilitate data flow to the board and initiate agenda topic for meetings with WMF. This way the Board can be proactive, and not only reactive to what WMF puts in front of it. This, in turn, will help the board make sure c level execs are accountable and WMF management is actually supporting volunteers. Shani Evenstein. 23:43, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
In addition to personally implementing a monthly office hour for community members, I will support WMF reform so that a clear majority of board members will be selected by and accountable to the community. I also believe that independent staff positions whose entire job is to assist affiliates and other volunteers will greatly enhance movement-wide accountability and transparency.
With the growth of the WMF, the number of bureaucratic barriers has increased, affecting almost any procedure involving the WMF with us volunteers. And with more barriers, there is less and less transparency and this all results in many black boxes in the WMF, eroding the trust volunteers have in the WMF, a foundation that is devoted to the spread of Free Knowlegde -and here's the irony: a foundation in which the roles and responsibilities are not sufficiently clear for everyone, and on which the accountability of its different bodies needs to be made a default rule. I can recall a case when a 10K USD grant was approved to map the situation of indigenous languages in Latin America without even checking with the local affiliates, which in turn have voiced their views on that situation and have worked to help improve it through different online and offline intitiatives. What were the results of that study? Exactly the same issues that all affiliates in the region have pointed out for years were identified by this study. In the end, 10K USD of movement funds misused, something that could have been avoided if the staff responsible for approving that grant had cared to check directly with the local affiliates. Situations like this must be avoided with clear guidelines for transparency and accountability at the WMF level. Maor X (talk) 20:08, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Can you give us at least two concrete examples from your past as to how you have helped change the culture of an organization?
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
Maps and Graphs - neither were a priority at WMF, and yet I knew they were important for the community. We now have maps and graphs, despite the resistance and the lack of dedicated resources. --Yurik (talk) 20:49, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
My understanding of an organization's cultural change is a change that will persist even after my departure because members of the organization have a firm believe in it.
- I regard the the creation of usergroup within Thailand as a change of culture of the Wikimedian movement in Thailand and I was a key player in the process in the past decade. The initial conception in the Thai community was that we strictly do online activities only. My interaction with Wikimania 2011 and other conferences sponsored by the Foundation have changed my view and I gradually brought outreach activities to Wikimedians in Thailand over the years. The new usergroup has grown organically and the dynamics of people/culture has changed overtime. Eventually my students took over and applied for a recognition as a chapter in Thailand.
- In my capacity as Assistant Dean for Information Technology in the past four years, I promoted the use of university email account among staff and students. I gave talks to new students at the beginning of academic term three times a year and create assignments to make sure that all students have an access to necessary features of the university account. It took time for students and staff to see benefits and to adopt the platform but the new practice does persist after I left the position. The adoption rate is now significantly higher than before and possibly among the highest in the university. I am proud of this cultural change because I did not only give talk to big group of people but I spent time to individually explain things to all staff and students that contacted me or came to my office. We have learnt together in the process and I made improvements to my talk/assignment for students.
At a Berwyn Heights town council meeting, I stated “Let’s liberate ourselves from the patriarchy” because of a comment from one councilmember to a town administrator. (I mentioned this in an earlier question.) This was not the end but a beginning. The result was better than expected. Geraldshields11 (talk) 01:21, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
I joined Wikimedia Ukraine at the end of 2012, and then the board members were the most active volunteers - they wanted to do projects, and they were the ones involved the most. By 2016, when I joined the board of Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Ukraine moved from having the board doing everything, to having the board delegating responsibility for the projects to volunteer committees. It also meant a broader volunteer engagement, and increased understanding that if one wants to be a board member, their role would be more oversight and less involvement in actual project work. This change in how things are done allowed Wikimedia Ukraine to increase organisational capacity, take on more programmatic work, and lessen volunteer burnout.
When I joined the Wikimedia Foundation Board and was elected chair of the Board Governance Committee (BGC), I decided to use a provision in the charter, allowing the BGC to have non-voting volunteer advisory members who are also not board members and are privy to the documents, discussions, and processes of the the BGC. This was also an opportunity to use more expertise from the Movement, and have volunteers interested in governance working on the governance. For example, Gayle Karen Young, Ido Ivry and Kat Walsh were involved in looking for good candidates for appointed seats; Tim Moritz Hector had valuable experience in governance review, and his perspective was useful for the BGC work; Ira B. Matetsky gave feedback on governance issues. This allows to involve more people in decision-making and get people to be more familiar with board work. --アンタナナ 17:22, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I can give three distinct concrete examples of organisations that I have had direct involvement in changing the culture of:
- In Wikimedia ZA I have created both a culture of reporting and a culture of robust debate. The culture of reporting was a necessary evolution over the years to both keep track, in detail, of what we are doing, measuring impact, tracking the evolution of our chapter and to help us learn moving forward. An important part of establishing this culture is developing a habit amongst our members of writing up the reports as soon as possible at all times and to always be mindful of the reports whilst conducting the program. This encourages members to record information as things happen and take photographs for better tracking. The culture of robust debate was developed more gradually but is more important as it ensures that the chapter’s leadership is always honestly and fully informed. It requires that members be constantly reminded that they are encouraged to “be bold” and make their concerns and opinions heard. But to do this in a way that “illustrates good fait.” It requires that others “assume good faith.” This is an extension of online policies on Wikipedia that have been adopted in the chapter. I can not claim to have been solely responsible for this particular cultural adoption (as it is very much a group effort) but I did play an important role to implement it and entrench it as a cultural norm in our chapter.
- In the Safety Lab I have been responsible for getting our organisation to adopt a rigorous culture of research and analysis. Most of the rest of our team at the Lab is very experienced and focused on in the field action and intervention. My presence has ensured that we now, as a matter of course, think about problems in more detail, based on wide ranging research that informs a systematic analysis that then helps inform the proposed project solution. As such the Lab is now has a culture of taking a methodical rigorous approach to problem solving that does not come at the expense of slowing down our short project turnaround and deployment times.
- With ReCreate South Africa being a founding member gave me a change to ensure that the organisation had a strong culture of keeping our community of pro-Fair Use activists informed of our activities. I have done this by both attending Parliamentary hearings on the Copyright Act and reporting this in real time to our members and running the organisation’s website. Another culture I am proud of introducing to this organisation is the culture of visually illustrating things. This takes the form of writing up infographics and summarising complex concepts with examples. An example of this is the infographic I drew up summarising how the South African Copyright act, that has Fair Use in it and other great things as well, will impact people should it be past. Thereby illustrating why creators of content should support the bill that the anti-bill side has been spreading misinformation about.--Discott (talk) 17:33, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
There are many examples, but I'll reply based on my experience as Chairperson for WikiProject Med Foundation and the Wikipedia & Education User Group, focusing on the gender gap, specifically including more women, & inclusivity and being less USA-centric. First, accepting the chair position for these 2 UGs was a conscious decision, as we need more women leaders in our movement. It was important for me to lead by example and demonstrate that we can be international without being USA-centric, and encourage more women to participate in leadership roles in our movement. We recently had elections in both groups and I have encouraged female candidates. I also made sure we have candidates from a variety of countries. Both boards are now more gender-balanced and most of our board members are non-English native speakers. It's a good start. These 2 issues are part of my decision-making processes in every role I've taken, big or small. Another example would be the recent GLAM-Wiki conference host by Wikimedia Israel. I was asked to be in charge of the program, so I’ve created a diverse international Content Committee that was inclusive of all genders, and that created a likewise diverse and inclusive program. This would also be the case for the coming Wikimania, in which I'm a co- Space Leader for 2 spaces - Medicine and Education. Shani Evenstein. 23:49, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I will focus on cultural changes with the Wiki Education Foundation and Wikimedia New York City, as well as with other regional usergroups.
The Wiki Education Foundation, of which I am a board member, had significant community problems due to the legacy of the the WMF program they split off from on English Wikipedia. In addition to fantastic efforts by staff that streamlined the classroom program and that vastly improved the quality of student edits, I helped to repair the cultural breach with the community by encouraging greater engagement with WikiConference North America and through other social means, and I think the two halves now appreciate and understand each other better, and feel less alienated.
As a founder of the Wikimedia New York City chapter, I consciously changed the culture of my own organization, working to broaden it by gender, ethnicity and experience to better reflect the amazing local diversity. We did this through focused edit-a-thons, working with efforts like Art+Feminism and AfroCrowd that subsequently grew globally, and by encouraging leadership on a broad basis. I have similarly worked for many years to support and encourage leadership in other regional usergroups, greatly diversifying the geography of active communities in the United States, and assisting where I can beyond.
1) During Wikimania 2014, I stopped by the booth of Wikimedia TN User Group to greet them, since I was their liaison, and talk to them in person for the first time. At that moment, the two tunisian wikimedians who were at Wikimania were attending lectures, and a volunteer from Algeria was sitting there. I asked him about the situation in Algeria and encouraged them to organize themselves around an User Group -this volunteer mentioned the fact that Algeria was a much larger country than Tunisia, the level of freedom was different -but I insisted and showed him examples of other affiliates set up in partially-free countries that have grown and thrived despite the circumstances, and that the support of the movement, the committee and the WMF would be there for them. He came back to his country, consulted with other colleagues and decided to apply for recognition as an User Group. Today, Algerian Wikimedians has run an education program and have organized several events in the country and participated in other at regional and global level, from WikiGAP to Wiki Loves Earth and Wiki Loves Africa. While I am 100% confident they would have achieved all this success, that "yes brother, you guys can make it! Count with me!" may have been the initial spark that encouraged them to take a step forward for the spread of free knowledge. And I can't be more proud of them <3
2) In my current job, I give tech support to our customers and also analize their DNA test results, either via phone, remote desktop or e-mail. Being part of the DNA SME Team, one of my responsibilities is making sure my colleagues -especially those in Tier I- consult less with us, escalate less cases to us, feel more confident when analyzing DNA test results and provide our clients with the best user experience possible. So I came up with the idea of a series of short, content-heavy sessions that would give them that "aha!" moment, ignite their curiosity to learn more about the subject, and transmit that knowledge to our users. We have reduced the number of consultations and escalations by 80% and 70% in less than 6 months, and some of them have already attended conferences on the company's behalf. I can't be more proud of my colleagues, who have not just raised their level of knowlegde but especially the confidence they have displayed with our customers, in person as well as over electronic platforms. --Maor X (talk) 15:17, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
Would you feel comfortable in speaking out when a conflict or tense situation arises? And how would you deal with this? Please give us an example of when this has happened to you.
This question is similar to the earlier cultural change question. I will not repeat myself so see my earlier discussion. Most importantly, it is not just being able and willing to standup for your beliefs but to say it at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way. As part of my ongoing efforts to hone my craft, I have been involved in Toastmasters,which gives me practice at leading and teaching, which will help me navigate the many duties as a trustee. After all, a trustee is not there just to be an empty suit in a meeting but to lead and, if necessary, teach. Geraldshields11 (talk) 01:20, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Being a board member also means that one might find himself or herself in a tense situation around some topics or even a conflict might arise. And this can often happen because of not clear prior communication or misunderstanding. To prevent this, the board members of Wikimedia Foundation receive materials in advance, have a chance to discuss them in the mailing list; María, our chair, regularly conducts one-on-one meetings to check if people have input or concerns before a board meeting, and is very approachable, so that it can go back to the staff and be addressed. Recently she has introduced the practice of having the executive session at the beginning of the board meeting, so everyone is familiar with the topics of the agenda prior to the meeting and has had multiple opportunities to discuss, and different venues to express, their opinions and concerns. And I personally find it very useful: it helps to create enough opportunities to get input and lessen any potential tension at the meeting itself. And if more discussion space is needed, the board agenda will be built to allow time for further thoughtful discussion. We are looking for diverse Trustees with different background specifically to get deep insights, the process needs to allow them to speak up, but there is no need to have heated conversations or inactive Trustees. That is something that every Board seeks to reduce in order to have thoughtful and constructive debates, and we are no exception.
In 2015 my community (Ukrainian Wikipedia) identified that conflicts are something we need to learn how to better deal with. In 2016 we organised a training on Conflict Management in the context of the Wikimedia Foundation’s pilot program Community Capacity Development (CCD). The training was useful for me, as around that time editing the Ukrainian Wikipedia was becoming less joyful for me, because as an administrator I would be summoned to all discussions with an expectation that I close them, or mediate, or determine guilt and block someone. So I felt I do not want to edit as antanana, because then people would notice I am active and try to get me to handle their conflict. But after the training I realised that not doing anything is not a way out: I couldn’t possibly resolve or even try to resolve all the conflicts; we would need more people involved in that. But I can try to concentrate on a few of them, where I can help more (sometimes, because my background would be suitable, or because I (do not) know users involved). And there are situations where my presence will just make things worse. In these situations I might reach out to some people involved in a conflict, and try to talk privately. Not always public appearance can help.
As I said, in a lot of cases the underlying reason for a conflict or tense situation might be a misunderstanding, and this is something which can happen even more often with non-native speakers or people from different cultures. Getting people to concentrate on future steps, rather than on what went wrong is a universal rule I try to apply in such situations. --アンタナナ 18:53, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
In my day job as a criminologist I have been exposed to tense situations that could result in conflict. Whilst I am not a specialist conflict resolution expert I work with people who are and who have worked in extremely demanding situations which I have been privy to. I have even had occasion, both in my work and in the open knowledge community, to use these skills. This has taught me to be more diplomatic and methods for reducing or resolving conflict. It has also taught me the importance of listening, empathy, what one says, and how it is said.
One instance comes to mind I had to use these skills at work about when I had to defuse a tense situation between two staff members. By listening to both sides and articulating their respective positions in a neutral way that captures their respective grievances so that that each side could see the other sides point of view I was able to defuse the situation. I was able to further improve the situation further by working out a mutually agreed strategy for moving forward on the issue of disagreement. During this process it was very important to take both sides point of view, and even more importantly, their feelings on the issue seriously. Articulate those back to them in a way that is both reaffirming of reasonable opinions whilst pointing out unreasonable opinions. How those unreasonable opinions will be damaging to everyone and how an agreeable solution can more easily be achieved by abandoning them.--Discott (talk) 08:59, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
Yes, I would feel comfortable to deal with a conflict situation. In some cases, the situation can be resolved with video chat - we often forget the Assume Good Faith principle, which often escalates into a shouting match, rather than attempt to resolve it. I believe people can be reasonable if given convincing arguments (some say I am mistaken, but I am still hopeful). Running a bot a while ago has caused some questions and concerns from the community, and most issues were possible to resolve with documentation, FAQ, and simply engaging with the community to resolve the issues. The same process happened during the introduction of the Maps project, when we had to migrate from the existing system to Kartotherian-based one.
In recent years, there were many tense situations where I, as the leader of a test center, had to act on behalf of my university and on behalf of a standardized test company. The most serious incident was probably when five foreign nationals were eventually arrested and prosecuted. I have handled the situation with integrity to the best of my training in law and in education for the best outcomes of all involved parties. Use of physical forces were kept to a minimum; no perpetrators escaped even if we were outnumbered by them; rights of the perpetrators were respected as we kept in mind that they may be innocent minor. I very much appreciate and respect professionalism of my colleagues and other parties handling the incident. The key to successful management of this incident is that I have seen a similar incident in the news a few years ago and prepared for it.
To answer the question, I deal with a conflict or a tense situation by using my personal integrity, accumulated experience as well as help/support from professional team/colleagues. I do not want to say that I deal with all cases - no matter how serious - comfortably. However, I always deal with all matters that arise calmly and take into account all available information and resources at the time. --Taweethaも (talk) 10:57, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, of course I would, and it would be one of the most important things I bring to the board. I'm part of a culture where people don't "keep quiet to be nice", but rather speak up and fight for what they want; in my case, fight for what's right. The challenge is always doing so in a way that is still respectful to others and in a way that is engaging, rather than alienating. It's a fine line to walk and doing it successfully requires experience, which I have, serving on the board of multiple international groups. In that context, I also believe that making mistakes is ok, as long as you own your mistake, admit them and work to solve it, apologizing when needed. A recent example of speaking up in a tense situation was facilitating a meeting during the recent Berlin Summit about the elections. I believed it had to be done to draw the attention of both User Groups and Chapters. It was a tense session due to the stressed timeline, but Jeffery and I did out best to stay focused, be objective and go through all the points, one by one, till we got consensus in the room. Was it perfect? No. But we did our best under a complex and challenging situation, in a room with a tense atmosphere. In the end, I think it was worth it, as I believe we contributed to engage more people in the discussion about this election, which will hopefully result in more User Groups on board the process, which was (and still is) very important to me. Shani Evenstein. 00:02, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
I think that I have a reputation in the Wikimedia movement as someone who has both strong and independent principles and can still be diplomatic in reaching out to others and their ideas, and I don't think these qualities are contradictory but complementary. For me, the ultimate principle of the Wikimedia movement is a radical inclusion that supports a consensus-based approach to expanding free knowledge. I have pushed for reforms and found good compromises, such as expanding the Chairs' Meeting to include a number of usergroups, which I proposed at Wikimania Cape Town. I would model my behavior as a WMF trustee in the same spirit I have followed as on the boards of other Wikimedia movement organizations, and as an editor.--Pharos (talk) 16:15, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
I am not the kind of person who would sit down and keep my thoughts to myself when I know my input is needed, and the situation is not correct. A few years ago at a Wikimedia Conference in Berlin, the members of the AffCom held a meeting with members of the WMF Board in regards to the requirements that needed to be met by User Groups in order to be eligibe for recognition. One member of the Board, who is no longer part of it, insisted that the requirement of a minimum of 300 edits in the last 6 months was too high, and would prevent people from applying, and the idea behind this affiliation model was to make it easy for wikimedians to organize, work together and get assistance from the WMF; the discussion went around in circles until I reminded that Board member that they, having less than 180 edits since 2005, could not understand the risk of opening the door to recognition as a Wikimedia affiliate to people who didn't have the basic knowledge of how the movement and projects work and how it could overload the system in a way the movement wasn't ready to handle. While I admit that I could have used less direct words and I apologized for that and the apology was taken -and in the end, our argument was accepted- the bottomline is that for me, when it comes to the movement and us volunteers, I am ready to speak up, fight and make my opinion counted because I don't want our movement to crash but to thrive. Maor X (talk) 19:27, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Can you show us the impact of your work at your place specifically in the fields that you named in your statement, things that you promise to do in the big picture?
I will describe directly the most important achievement and the impact that it made in empowering the community. It is without a doubt the MOOC in Arabic that had more than 10 000 new users registered on our platform. It was teaching how to write Wikipedia articles (without grants, all of these is by finding the right persons to do the work). I am sure that this work is the biggest work in the Arabic language in the whole history of Wikipedia.--Reda Kerbouche (talk) 17:23, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Today it is believed that translations from foreign languages are difficult to do. Many people believe that for this kind of activity, one must confidently speak both languages involved in a particular translation. This idea is fair and correct! However, the current level of information technology, provided for open access through the Internet, can greatly simplify the translation process. In the last few years (about 3-4 years) I was traversed the way of trial and error when in my practice it was necessary to translate texts from different foreign languages. This was an urgent need for me, since the information I needed in my language was not enough to make final decisions on a particular issue. Therefore, I did not stop searching for new methods and approaches for translating, although I do not know most of the languages that usually received important information for themselves. Now I have gained some experience with such kind of intuitive translations that almost every person can master. This can be relatively easily done by each of the 186 million Wiki users. I suggest using the intuitive translation mechanism in all areas of the Wikimedia Foundation in all available languages in various projects. It will be extremely useful for all communities of the Wikimedia Foundation. Not everyone speaks English even, for example, while English Wikipedia articles can satisfy searches of Wikipedia users from different countries of the World. However, by asking for such information in their own language, the new user usually does not find it in their language Wikipedia. Therefore, such user loses any interest in further cooperation. This situation needs to be changed at the general level of the Wikimedia Foundation. This can be done and I propose to do it! —Yithello (talk) 07:57, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
In a capacity of volunteers on the Thai Wikipedia, I had been instrumental in many decision/policy making matters in the community. My previous roles are Sysop, CheckUser, ArbCom, organizer of WLM/WLE competitions and lead coordinator in the Thai usergroup. Here are some of deliverables that I made since 2006:
- Nominations of new Sysops and removal of inactive Sysops on the Thai Wikipedia; Introduction of CheckUser and ArbCom.
- Introducing Wikipedia Assignments in classroom and producing active new volunteers leading the user group in Thailand.
- Supporting and leading photo contests (WLE/WLM) and one-time activity to increase number of articles beyond 100K.
- Securing inaugural partners/supporters for the usergroup.
I anticipate that impacts of my promises in the candidate statement will be
- (To redefine and balance the relationship between the WMF and internal/external stakeholders) This will address the well-known governance/bureaucracy issue that we have been facing with for the past few years. It will sustainably increase productivity of the movement.
- (To seek due attention from the foundation to the underrepresented) This will not only give justice to people in needs but also harness untapped potentials for the benefits of the whole movement.
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
I already bought Graphs/Charts, Maps, API, and now working on the Multilingual templates and modules project, and they clearly have positively affected thousands if not millions. Being on the board will allow me to encourage movement as a whole to focus on content as the primary product, and community, chapters, and user groups as the primary way to create that product. --Yurik (talk) 20:52, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
I have been instrumental in documenting the successes of various Wikimedia events, such as the Wikimedia Commons photo of mine that was used by Business Insider. This illustrates the progress that has happened. Without photos, many events would only have a text article to document success. With photos, that can transcend languages and cultures, success and safe spaces are shown. This will continue the success and outreach to various emerging communities. Geraldshields11 (talk) 23:31, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Some of the things I care about cannot be delivered on a big scale and at once everywhere, if one wants them to be delivered profoundly... Namely, diversity and inclusion - in a lot of communities this very concept would require changing culture, which is never easy to do… I have a few volunteer roles in the Movement - I am an editor, active member of an affiliate, a Trustee of Wikimedia Foundation - so I would group my work accordingly.
As a Board member of Wikimedia Foundation I am mostly involved in governance, thus even the bylaws changes I was leading, for user groups to be able to vote in Affiliate-selected trustees process can be an example of that (even though the impact we won’t be able to see for now, the changes are too recent).
The Bylaws now state that the Board of Wikimedia Foundation should be committed to diversity when appointing Trustees - if there is a will, there is a way (for example, Raju, Lisa, Esra'a, Tanya). The community and affiliates even now might be more inclined to select white males to the Board - just because our biggest language communities and more powerful affiliates statistically include fewer females, and it is quite impossible for people from smaller language communities to be visible enough to get selected.
As a member of the Board I also supported the decision on allocating resources to anti-harassment, making it a priority. This is a still ongoing effort, of course. But we do stress that harassment is a problem for our editing communities, and we need to make us a better and safer place - without this we would not be able to grow, and would not be able to increase diversity and inclusion. They go hand in hand.
As a member of Wikimedia Ukraine, I was among the initiators of a Ukrainian version of Women-in-Red month in my home language community, the Ukrainian Wikipedia. At the end of 2017, we had 13,69% of female biographies in the Ukrainian Wikipedia at the beginning of the month, and we have gained 1% during that month - more than 400 articles created about women - and what is more important I think, we got more people aware of this existing gap, so some of the editors continue working on this even now. That project helped us to get in contact with other people and organisations, who care about this issue, and, for example, this year, a teacher in a university gave her students a task to write articles to Wikipedia on their course topics... The important things about it is that the course is named: Introduction to Gender Studies, and her students wrote around 100 articles during the course. And that (I believe) can be an “introduction” to changes in my language culture - some of the topics were just not existent in Ukrainian!
The next step is organising an article contest in June about Women in STEM - to showcase that STEM is also for females. This string of projects (they do need to be connected, this cannot be a one time event/project), of course, is not applicable to my role as a board member of Wikimedia Foundation, as it only shows my personal commitment. But, this experience in trying to change things in one local community is important for understanding how difficult it is worldwide, and also how harmful we can be if we just try to implement things based on not enough research or bad assumptions.
As a volunteer editor and administrator of the Ukrainian Wikipedia I am usually pointing out to other editors that we need to be kinder to newcomers, and even if they have created a page we are clearly going to delete immediately, it is still better to leave at least a message on their talk page, saying something like this: “Yay, you have managed to create an article successfully! But we would probably need to delete it, as there are some rules, please read them, and stay around, if you have questions - just ask us”.
Deleting an article of a newbie without human written explanations - they are not fluent in Wikipedia jargon yet - feels really cruel, and does not help us grow. Whereas teaching, explaining, helping - does help. Even if in the end people understand that Wikipedia is not their thing - they would still be thinking more positively about us, maybe helping us in other ways. It might happen that yesterday you were explaining a rule to somebody, today you are explaining to them about how to form an affiliate and apply for a grant - and tomorrow they will be the ones making our projects a better place --アンタナナ 20:25, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Regarding the big picture, I first thing I promise to do is to ensure that the WMF keeps true to the movement’s mission. An important part of this is serving the community so as to achieve our movement’s open knowledge mission.
As a board member of Wikimedia ZA I have led the chapter for the past five years. Strengthening and serving the community of South African editors so we can better serve people in South Africa to access content and better serve the rest of the world by encouraging the growth of African related content on Wikipedia. I promise to continue and expand this by encouraging the further development of the open knowledge community and work to expand access to free knowledge. Particularly amongst emerging and currently marginalized communities.
Community engagement and advocacy: as I have previously mentioned and important impact result that I have been able to deliver on, so far, is to get a Freedom of Panorama clause added to the South African Copyright Amendment bill and played a role in getting Fair Use provisions included in the bill as well. That bill has been passed by the South African Parliament and currently waiting on the President of the country to ascend it. If or, hopefully, when that happens it will be one of the biggest impact in this field. The path to pursuing this impact started with a process of consultation with both the South African chapter and the broader South African Wikipedia editing community in multiple languages. Only after the community agreed, and I as surprised at the strength of support for this action, did I embark on trying to achieve this impact objective.
Two examples that are relevant here: 1) Individually, as a volunteer - my academic courses, which I wrote about in my answer to question #2. I would only add to the details above that during these courses, each student usually writes 2 article, and in the past 4 years one of them is from the Hebrew Women-in-Red list, as part of my overall agenda to expose the students to different knowledge gaps and bias in Wiki projects. Some students choose to write the second article from that list as well, as they relate to the agenda. Second, I would like to note that I am very proud of the fact that I run a very diverse class. Not only around 50% are women, but I support students who's mother tongue is not necessarily Hebrew, but also Arabic (in Wiki-Med especially, a 1/3 of my class speak Arabic as a first language), Russian, French and Spanish. Finally, I would also like to add that the course model I created has inspired others in the world, and via a research paper I wrote about it (that was published in a respectable Education Journal), it continues to have an impact on academic research and keeps telling the story of how we can use Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects in the Education curriculum. 2) As a group leader - founding the Wikipedia & Education User Group is a good example of impact in my field, which again was mentioned in my answer to question 2. Our focus is the global needs (rather than local ones)for volunteers running educational initiatives around the world. Very proud to be part of a group that is working together consistently since 2014, helping with resources, mentoring and advocacy within and outside the movement. Shani Evenstein. 00:15, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
As a volunteer editor and admin at the Ladino Wikipedia, I came to the Judaeo-Spanish (I'm a L3 speaker) Wikipedia when it was basically having zero activity, and so far I have created 1,216 articles in it, out of its current 3,857 articles, and have started to gather around other contributors; while its editing community is still small (6-7 regular editors) its number has been growing steadily, at a rate of 1 editor becoming regular per year. While many people may laugh at these small numbers, the fact that it is a severely endangered language according to the UNESCO and with over half of its L1 speakers over the age of 80 is a great achivement, but there is still a lot to do -and I want to replicate the same strategy that resulted in this level of growth to happen to other small Wikipedias, and Wikipedias in endangered languages.
As a founding member and member of the first Board of Wikimedia Venezuela, I have learned how to gather around volunteers, motivate them to work together and leave aside individualisms, navigate through complex bureaucratic processes not just at a local level but also with the WMF, plus being part of an affilate that has survived its country's worst socio-economic-politic crisis, and growing despite the negative and unsafe (for volunteers) context around it.
As an AffCom member, I have been part of the implementation of the newest model of affiliation in our movement, the Wikimedia User Groups. With over 110 User Groups, since the first one was recognized in 2013, and some of them either attaining chapter/thematic organization status or in the process to become one, and some of those still User Groups organizing more activities than small chapters, the User Group model has become a source of great success because it opened the access to resources and helped facilitate the organization of many volunteers across the globe who had been excluded until then, spreading the mission and vision of our movement. While this exponential growth has also meant new challenges for the committee, it also opens the door to new models of affiliation (as well as revision of the current ones) that will facilitate more volunteers to join the network of Wikimedia affiliates and further expand our reach.
As one of the founding members of the Iberocoop initiative, I have been part of the set-up of the first organized network of Wikimedia affiliates, which has been later replicated in a similar way by other groups of affiliates, like WikiFranca, Wikimedia CEE, WikiIndaba, WikiArabia and the ESEAP Hub. This has meant the cooperation among different Wikimedia affiliates with a regional/linguistic/cultural focus that has helped us not just organize events and learn from each other, but also influence the movement by joining forces, rather than acting individually.
All that previous experience -from devoting myself to one project, onboarding new volunteers and make sure the community environment is welcoming and inclusive, to encourage the organization of affiliates to pursue common goals and survive local and WMF bureaucracy- will help me in a great deal to work from the Board of the WMF for a healthier, more inclusive and less bureaucratic ecosystem, the organized and sustainable growth in the number of affilates and the pursuit of common goals for the benefit of the entire movement. Maor X (talk) 19:24, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
Do you believe the Wikimedia Foundation in its present form is the right vehicle for the delivery of the strategic direction? If so why, and if not, what might replace it?
No, because for me the first thing to be done is to rethink the centralization of the movement in certain levels to give the chance to more communities that make the movement live to fully enjoy all sectors especially to be able to be member of WMF staff and receive grants directly from the foundation. My answer is that it will be better if we create several hubs around the world instead of one central entity.--Reda Kerbouche (talk) 17:25, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
No. The community wishlist has been the most successful form of feedback I have seen. It has engaged the largest percent of the community, and resulted in clear and actionable steps. I believe the wishlist should include non-technical matters, and would be a good path forward. --Yurik (talk) 20:53, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
A simple and natural answer to this question is, in short-term, yes and, in long-term, no.
- I acknowledge the legacy that we have made together as a free-knowledge movement and I appreciate the central role of the Foundation in leading the movement through this rapid growth/expansion period. For the near future, the Foundation in its current form will still continue to serve its function.
- However, we have been experiencing stagnation/saturation or even deterioration in some areas/segments of the key results. These are the challenge that the Foundation in its current form may not be able to address in a long run. I personally believe that the free knowledge movement will eventually thrive but I foresee that there are a number of possibilities/outcomes such as
- Transformation/restructuring from a product-led organization to a value-led organization. Majority, if not all of the stakeholders, volunteers and readers in particular, should embrace the same common core values and work towards common goals. Core values implemented on the best technology of the day will be our products. The products will have to adapt/change accordingly overtime and, in theory, if most people are inspired by values rather than products, they will continue to stay/grow with us.
- Separation/decentralization of various products/mechanisms into independent but related specialized/regional organizations. These independent organizations will be able to deliver outcomes at a faster pace. A number of these may exist only for a short period of time through a life cycle of a certain product/idea.
- Formation of competitor organization(s) with similar core products and the end of the 'free-knowledge' monopoly.
The short answer is - no. As I mention in my statement, I believe 2 major changes need to happen at WMF - it needs to be more accountable and it needs to be of better service to the community of volunteers who enable all the Wiki projects. These entail being more transparent, engaging the community better, even when it's hard, attending to volunteer needs first, and then to partners needs, and looking forward understanding that we play a role bigger than just begin Wikimedia, but rather one of advocating for Free Knowledge to all in the world, on and off line. To achieve all that there should be structural changes to how WMF is operating, to how it reports and to how it engages with all the volunteers in our movement. Without that, the strategy process would become no more than buzz words flying in the air, a bunch of money lost, and more importantly, lots of volunteer time wasted. I'd like to avoid that at all cost and want to see us as a movement really rise up to the occasion and making this process count. Shani Evenstein. 23:08, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
Regardless of whether it is the correct form, WMF is the form we currently have. Unless there is a major radical shift in organizational structure that I do not see happening, WMF is here until the 2030 Plan starts to get implemented or reworked. So, until then, only incremental changes and incremental improvements can be made. As trustee, it takes a skilled eye to figure out what is possible and move a program forward, similar to what I do in my day job. Geraldshields11 (talk) 01:36, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
- Hi Gerald - out of interest, why do you not see a major shift in organisational structure happening? Structural questions are very much part of the Movement Strategy process - indeed, the first scoping question for the Roles and Responsibilities working group is about future structures! Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 09:34, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
- Dear Chris Keating (The Land) Thank you for the question. You are the second person, as of 7 May 2019, to ask a question on this page. Thank you for volunteering on the Roles & Responsibilities Working Group. The organizational structure of the Wikimedia Movement in all its complexity lends to having a central funding source or donation gatherer. The cathedral vs bazaar models are discussed; however, the focus should be on who controls the funding. With funding in the hands of any one group, then that group is the natural center of power. We could have funding decentralized but then that, in of itself, could lead to claims of process violations. Geraldshields11 (talk) 00:03, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Right at this moment (frankly) we do not have any other vehicle capable of delivering the strategic direction. But the Wikimedia Foundation needs to change how it operates (and that’s why the mid-term plan is a good idea), and to involve more affiliates and communities in this work, because on its own the Wikimedia Foundation will not be able to implement the strategic direction. I would not have submitted an application to join the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation, if I did not believe that the Wikimedia Foundation is one of the vehicles to deliver the Strategic direction, though as I said, I do see ways it needs to evolve to be equal to this new task. --アンタナナ 17:24, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
In essence no, but I do believe the WMF has an important role to play.
We should be mindful of the importance and overarching role the community must play in forming and delivering the strategic direction. The affiliates also have the organisational ability and the on-the-ground presence to implement more effectively many aspects of the strategy. The affiliates also tend to have a much stronger and more accountable connection to the broader open knowledge community thereby usually having a better understanding of how the community feels or is engaging. Having said that the Foundation does have the resources and organisational coherence to most effectively deliver on many other aspects of the strategy. However better coordination and a stronger partnership relationship between the WMF, affiliates and the community broadly need to be further developed.
This highlights the need for greater communication, transparency, and trust built on a two-way partnership relationship to be further developed, instead of a top-down hierarchical relationship. The WMF exists to promote the open knowledge mission and a very important part of that requires it to serve the community. The community does not exist to serve the WMF.
This is a long way of saying that meaningful implementation and monitoring of the strategy is a group effort that needs both the WMF, the affiliates, the community generally as well as other partners.--Discott (talk) 09:29, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
No, the Wikimedia Foundation alone is not in the right form to deliver the strategic direction. As for what might replace it, this is something that is being worked on by a Working Group. One thing I did shared over the last few months is that it’s not just about Wikimedia Foundation but how we address power dynamics. If we want to be successful, we would need to assess that topic with the following values:
- We are but temporary stewards of the movement. Everything we do if for the people that will come after us.
- We are serving a greater purpose. Being of service should at the core of everything we design.
- We must not be afraid of smashing down existing dynamics if we need to. Perhaps it is time we reopen the Wikimedia USA discussion
- Our endeavor is far greater than we imagined, and we are at the beginning of it. We need to be ok with the fact that we need to grow beyond who and what we already are.
No, at least not in its current form. There are many changes we need to have done -from transparency to organizational structure, to accountability to communication and community engagement- at the WMF, that without those changes, the recommendations stemming out of the Movement Strategy process will fail, and all the resources invested will go gown the drain. And it does not just mean a waste of movement funds but also of the efforts and time invested by volunteers who have dedicated time and energy to work on this. It would be like a slap in the face of us volunteers, which have made this movement our life. However, that doesn't mean the WMF must dissappear; the WMF is a very important actor in the movement but chopping it off the Wikimedia ecosystem is not something we can afford either. Maor X (talk) 11:47, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
What is your possition about relevance criteria in Wikipedias? Should it be the same in all of them?
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
Assuming this refers to Wikipedia‘s "notability" criteria: while it would have been easier to have had 'one rule for all', it is not something I would have supported or that I find to be practical in our global and diverse community. Different language Wikipedia have different maturity level and different needs. One of the reasons to Wikipedia’s success was that it was able to empower users. Some of that means deciding on governance and enforcing it in users' own languages and contexts. What works for one community, might not work for another. Some things are common to all, such as values that drive all of us: e.g. transparency, copyrights etc; while others need to be decided by each community - like notability. In my mind it's in a way more important if we had centralized info boxes. But this is a pure community issue and beyond the scope of what the board should be dealing with. Shani Evenstein. 00:20, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
If you mean "notability", then the rule is a consensus-driven rule that may be flexible given the limited coverage of third-party sources on, for example, a language-specific poet. Geraldshields11 (talk) 01:44, 7 May 2019 (UTC) However, if you mean "relevance to a culture" or "relevance to an encyclopedia", then I leave it to our volunteer editors to make that decision as they BE BOLD. Geraldshields11 (talk) 01:44, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Pardon me, are you talking about what is called notability in English? I am not sure in which scenario this would come to the Board's table, much the same as I do not think it would ever come to any affiliate's board table, but it is fine if you just want to hear our own thoughts on this.
Personally I think that these things are editorial and I am used to all projects having their own policies and ways they do things. The Wikimedia Foundation rarely imposes on Wikimedia projects any editorial rules (except legal issues, like Wikimedia Foundation board’s resolution:Biographies of living people). So while we do need some shared “backbone” to feel that we are together, we also need to be self-governed.
What I would really love to change is helping each other more across different Wikimedia projects. For example, after a new Wikipedia is created, no one really pays attention if (or how well) they understand basic copyright concepts. Thus smaller Wikipedias might have quite a bad situation around these issues. The same with notability - some might copy rules from bigger Wikipedias, and these might not be exactly suited for this or that project. For example, in the Ukrainian Wikipedia, we struggled with not having enough sources for notability for music recordings - even the most popular ones were not covered enough by our media, so, we had to make local rules to serve us for the time being. We should share good practices between projects more actively.
Overall, the issue of notability in even one project can be a complicated matter; across all projects - it would require a real profound discussion. There are some underrepresented groups (colonised countries, whose history is not documented or is poorly documented) being left out by current notability guidelines; likewise, we have no place to incorporate different forms of knowledge, like oral tradition, and this is something which could come up in the 2030 recommendations.
If you think that some things are not working out in your project (or projects), you might want to have a look at this page: Community Capacity Development/Community governance, maybe you would find people who would like to work on this --アンタナナ 14:42, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
I assume the question is referring to notability requirements. If so my answer is no, I believe that each language Wikipedia should be free to develop and use their own criteria. I live in a country with eleven official languages which makes for a linguistically diverse chapter. Through this and my chapter activities I have learnt the importance of giving each language community the freedom to develop their own guidelines on this. I can see the imposition of ‘universal’ criteria causing alienation and grief amongst the language communities.--Discott (talk) 09:36, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
As a Wikimedia Foundation trustee, this is not a topic I should pitch in. Editing communities are in charge of the projects' governance.
Is this about notability requirements? I personally think it must not be a blanket policy to be applied on all Wikipedias, and I will explain why:
I am from Venezuela, a country with over half a million mother-tongue native speakers of an indigenous language, comprising 26 ethnicities and in some states they make up to 50% of the local population. Most of these communities have no written tradition of their own and if they do, it is very recent since the introduction of a writing system for them was last century. Based on the current notability requirements, most of their knowledge and traditions can't be on Wikipedia. We cannot run the world's largest encyclopedia if we deny the right to those indigenous people to document their own knowledge in the way it best fits to their cosmovision -forcing all the languages/communities of the world to document their story under the same western-world vision. On another side, I am a second-language speaker of Ladino, a severly endangered language, as well as a speaker of Wayuunaiki (an indigenous language of Venezuela and Colombia). The list of vital articles does not adjust to the Wikipedias in these two languages, because some the articles that are actually vital to these Wikipedias are not, and probably won't make it to that list because according to our western concept of notability, those topics aren't relevant enough to appear on Wikipedia. And the same with for instance, professional female football players -there may not be sources where they are mentioned, but since most male football leagues are covered by the press, in many cases (in Latin America) male football players of a 3rd-tier league are more "notable" than a first-tier female football player. And I think this policy goes against our aim to be inclusive, open and reliable. I understand the need for reliable information and references, but we must find a compromise between that and inclusiveness. Each community should have their own policy with regards to less represented languages and groups, while other guidelines like technical, copyright and accountability must stay global as they're our common DNA as a movement. Maor X (talk) 20:25, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
What input have you personally given to the Movement Strategy process to date?
I participated in the discussion with workgroups about community issues and movement in general. I am also the representative of Algeria in the strategy movement, I will ensure the transition of the new movement and processes in my country. I will also represent my community and share its feedback with the working groups in order to raise their voice and make sure that everybody is heard in this process.--Reda Kerbouche (talk) 17:26, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
I have written a number of position papers on the topic:
- I Dream of Content (a short vision paper written about 4 years ago)
- From Dream to Reality (actual steps to implement that vision)
- When Should Pragmatism Outweigh Philosophy?
As far as I can remember, I always participate in the Movement Strategy process when there is an opportunity to do so.
- Wikimedia Movement strategic plan, February 2011 has my username on it. This is probably due to my contributions on the strategy wiki.
- I personally participated in the strategy track at WMCON 2016-17.
- I answered the call for Movement Strategy 2017 on the Thai Wikipedia.
- I helped facilitate the Movement Strategy 2019 on the Thai Wikipedia.
I've participated in the Strategy Process, both in Phase 1, as a liaison for a few communities: GLAM, Education, Libraries, Medicine & the CEE groups; and in Phase 2 as a member (and one of the coordinators) of the Partnerships Working Group (WG). I've also attended the last Wikimedia Summit in Berlin, where I was able to collaborate and connect with other Working Groups, and representatives of various other affiliates and groups as well as individuals to hear their thoughts, impressions and feedback on the process. My main concern right now is how all the feedback from this long and costly process (especially all the suggestions that the WG will be submitting in the coming months), will be implemented by WMF. This is one of the reason I believe we need strong representatives in the board right now, ones that will be able to make sure that implementation is done in a way that serves the community at large in the best way possible. Shani Evenstein. 22:22, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
Please see my comments on Wikimedia Foundation Medium-term plan 2019. In addition, for the Wikimania 2014 event, I volunteered to be a member of the Programme Committee. Geraldshields11 (talk) 02:20, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
I am a part of the Roles & Responsibilities working group. This is one of 9 working groups, and our work is focused on different roles, purposes and relationships of our “power structures” (the Wikimedia Foundation, affiliates, committees, communities etc); how we are organised, what is not working and how crucial functions are distributed (like data protection, software development, legal etc); what are (and can be) global, regional, local and thematic responsibilities; how governance and decision-making is done across the Movement, etc. We have finished preparing a community conversation around roles & responsibilities with our scope and a list of our scoping questions. In order to do that, we conducted a survey of affiliates and interviews with participants in Wikimedia Movement. We are working on mapping how functions crucial for the Movement are distributed now (legal, fundraising, data protection, software development, communication), and where we see the “pain points” and which models would have fewer “pain points” there. Also, we are learning how other like-minded organisations have gone through strategic directions, and I am going to be a representative of my working group at the Creative Commons Global Summit, to conduct interviews with people and discuss their experience and learn from them. We have calls and meetings, work on the documents. That said, the work is ongoing, and we are right in the middle of the process.
Preparation for the strategy discussions also involved talking with communities and affiliates directly, at local and regional meetings. These direct conversations were especially important to me as an affiliate-selected Board member of the Wikimedia Foundation, so I tried to attend meetings if I had a chance, and talk with community members about Strategy and what they can bring to it.
The Movement Strategy process cannot happen in a vacuum, it actually is supposed to motivate communities and affiliates to work on a plan relevant to them and their situation. Thus, I am also involved in a working group on strategy of Wikimedia Ukraine, as a member of the organisation. The scope is smaller, so it is easier to show the progress: I have translated questions for Wikimedia Foundation to run a survey on readers of the Ukrainian Wikipedia, at the beginning of 2018 we have organised a survey of readers/editors, and the results are documented here: Wikimedia Ukraine/Community Survey 2018. At the beginning of this year we had our first strategy session and now are working on organising an online discussion and the second strategy session. Wikimedia Ukraine’s projects are mostly aimed at content development, so one of the assumptions we have at the moment: our strategy would be built around looking for answers about how we can be strategic about the content of Wikimedia projects. If people are mostly reading the Ukrainian Wikipedia to get in-depth knowledge of topics in their native language; and almost half of the respondents (48.96%) are either school children or students, we need to concentrate our efforts (like contests and thematic weeks) on creating good content on the topics that school children and students need.
I am taking part in strategic work on a few levels - from an easier one for one community/affiliate to a complex one as the Movement Strategy. This is an opportunity to discuss things which are not working across the Movement and how they need to be changed - and this is something everyone can help with, either by motivating their communities/affiliates, or by sharing ideas and feedback --アンタナナ 09:52, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
I was involved in the early days of the strategy process when I attended the Wikimedia Conference in 2017. For me it was very important to ensure that outreach, particularly in currently under represented geographically based communities (especially Africa) was included as a strategic objective. In our effort to achieve our goal of providing access to the sum of human knowledge freely there is a need to expand content coverage from under represented groups. An important example of this, that I am familiar with, is on African topics which are relatively poorly covered on Wikipedia. That is why I participated in the call for and support the diversity and community health objectives. My interest in advocacy has also led to my engagement in the advocacy component of the strategy. Overall I regret that I have not been able to get more deeply involved in the process due to my other community commitments as I feel it is important.--Discott (talk) 09:31, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
I am very honored and happy to have been accepted to participate in the Phase 2 as a member of the Community Health Working Group and participated in the first meetings held during Wikimania 2017, and have also attended the Wikimedia Summit in Berlin on behalf of the AffCom (but internally we decided to send members involved in a WG) where I met in person with members of my own WG, and had the opportunity to learn/with from other Working Groups as well as representatives of various other movement stakeholders. In my own WG, we also conducted interviews to many WMSummit participants with the aim to obtain more personal feedback about their vision of the movement and the process, as well as their concerns in regards to what needs to be done to have a healthier, more inclusive and safe community, based on the scoping questions of our Working Group. Regarding the Strategy, my main concern is the way all these recommendations that the WGs will submit to the WMF Board are going to be implemented, as each WG is preparing a long and detailed report after all these months of hard work of consulting and debating, and which have involved a lot of resources from the movement. For this reason, we need affiliate-selected representatives to the WMF Board that have been involved in the discussions and that will make sure the recommendations are implemented in the way that best benefits the movement as a whole and makes it more open and inclusive while increasing the transparency and accountability of the different WMF bodies. Maor X (talk) 16:38, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
What is your position on the policy/practice of secret and termless punishments currently in practice at the Wikimedia Foundation, applied over members of the Wikimedia Community without even informing them they are being subject to such punishment, nor why?
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
I am not aware of any secret punishments imposed by the foundation. I believe, however, that
- The operation of the foundation should be transparent and should be subjected to standard practice relating to Freedom of information.
- The foundation, in principle, cannot impose a punishment or a fine to individuals. This is not permitted by law. However, the foundation can decline to do businesses (e.g. do not grant fund) with certain individuals. These processes are usually made in public and there must be good reasons to do so.
- @Taweetham: Thank you for your reply. The punishment is indeed in the sense you say. However, I very much disagree that refusing to do business with someone is not a punishment. That's exactly what the sanctions and blockages by international bodies such as the UN or the EU usually are about, refusing to do business with some state to punish it.--- Darwin Ahoy! 15:17, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
While I would have probably used different terminology than "punishment", I can certainly understand how WMF decisions can be perceived as punishment to volunteers. The short answer is that these types of practices cannot remain a way to deal with volunteers as they are simply bad practice. It again goes to being transparent, giving proper answers to volunteers asking questions and having processes that actually support volunteers, rather than imposing things on them without their knowledge. Shani Evenstein. 00:23, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
As far as I know, the Wikimedia Foundation has three main “hammers”: blocking from editing, banning from attending events, and deciding not to give grants to individuals. I would like more transparency on this, but I understand that sometimes one needs to find a balance between transparency and privacy. Imagine, that there is a user harassing and threatening another user. After looking at the evidence Wikimedia Foundation would decide to block the harasser. But it is not always actually safe just to tell the blocked user that a complaint from this or that person is the cause of this block. Especially if the risk of the harasser fulfilling his/her threats is high (like, if they know each other offline). So blocking from editing and event bans can require more looking into and must be handled with extra care. It is a bit difficult for me to imagine this kind of care needed for a decision not to give grants - it seems this “hammer” is mostly used because of procedural and disciplinary reasons, so informing a person about such a decision makes sense.
I have no context about the case you have been complaining about on the lists, so cannot offer an informed opinion about it. I have stated what I see as the general operating principles for sanctions against volunteers; and to my knowledge Wikimedia Foundation staff abides by these principles and acts professionally. If in your case there was a rare lapse of judgment, or a mistake of oversight, that is unfortunate, and it can and should be investigated within Wikimedia Foundation by appeal to the staff involved or their managers, and I am confident if that is indeed the case, it would be remedied. --アンタナナ 17:58, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I am against arbitrary and secative punishments for anyone. People are entitled to being told when they might be doing something wrong and given due warning. If this is not done then such penalties will be reasonably seen as both vexatious, capricious and unjust. This undermines the mission and erodes community cohesion thereby undermining the WFM in the long run. I need to look into this further to gain a deeper understanding of this issue.--Discott (talk) 09:34, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
I am not aware of a secret black list or something like that, and if such thing exists, it must be taken down immediately as it infringes upon the right of volunteers to know what's going on. And if unfortunately is necessary for the WMF to apply a penalty upon a volunteer, they must be notified not just when it starts and when it finishes, but also what that penalty involves -restrictions on funding, or applying for scholarships to a Wikimedia event, for example- and stating the clear reason for it. As far as I understand as an AffCom member, some people have been made not eligible to apply for funding over a specific period of time but the term limits have been set very clear. If they have been extended by the WMF, it was neither done without checking with the AffCom nor was done for the benefit of the movement as a whole, quite the contrary.Maor X (talk) 15:39, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
In case you agree with the current WMF practice on this, should the victims of WMF imposed termless and secret punishments be informed of them, and the right of defense be granted to them before making them effective?
Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)
Unfortunately, I do not have sufficient information at this point in time to make a decision whether I agree to the secret practice. With only certain exceptions (such as privacy), I believe that policy and operational matters of the foundation should be transparent to the public. I understand that there may be embargo or expiry date for classified US government document. We can adopt a similar standard for that. --Taweethaも (talk) 05:53, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't agree with this practice, but would like to stress that there needs to be a transparent process, one that allows reaction / input from the volunteer without keeping them struck in a loop that they have no control over. Otherwise we are risking wronging and hurting people who do not deserve to be wronged, affecting their lives in an unjust way. WMF should have clear criteria on what they are basing their decisions on, and those cannot rely solely on input coming from AffCom or Any sole source for that matter. Measures should be taken to avoid instances like these and volunteers should have a clear venue to address their concerns and get answers in a timely manner. Shani Evenstein. 00:25, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
As a general rule, WMF should be as transparent as possible. One possible solution, since wikis love lists, make a list of the banned people, reason for ban, who decided on ban, date/term of ban. Geraldshields11 (talk) 02:29, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
As I said above, I think that there might be cases when volunteers can be sanctioned without explaining reasons behind that. These cases would also make it difficult (or impossible) to give them a chance to defend themselves, as it can harm other people. --アンタナナ 17:59, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
As I mentioned in my previous response I am not a supporter of secretive punishments for anyone. The only exception might be if the person involved specifically requested confidentiality but that is a contextual issue. However I still feel I would need to know more about the context of this particular issue before I can make a fully informed judgement or provide a satisfactory answer to this question.--Discott (talk) 11:03, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't agree with such practice, and again, I am not aware of such secret black list. If a volunteer is going to be denied funds for a specific period of time, for example, they must be notified way in advance, told the reasons why and I am assuming there was a procedure that came to such unfortunate decision. As an AffCom member, I know the restrictions applied to volunteers involved in affiliate de-recognitions apply for a very specific period of time; if the WMF has decided to extend them, is something that was definitely been done without the input of the AffCom. While I would like to see more transparency coming from the WMF, making a public list of "banned" volunteers, detailing which type of restrictions have been imposed on them and for how long is also against their privacy; but this information should be available to volunteers organizing events, for instance, because it would be very uncomfortable to grant a scholarship to attend a regional Wikimedia event and then have to inform the awarded volunteer that they are restricted from receiving movement funds to attend an event, causing in totally unwanted emotional distress. Maor X (talk) 15:30, 7 May 2019 (UTC)