IRC office hours/Office hours 2010-10-15

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Session start: Fri Oct 15 18:13 2010
Session ident: #wikimedia-office
[18:13:38] <stevenwalling> Quiet group today. I guess two office hours back to back was a lot. :)
[18:13:46] <WereSpielChqrs> Does your remit include influencing which countries get more distributed hardware to make Wikimedia products more usable in parts of the world that have bottlenecks to the Internet?
[18:13:50] * jeremyb missed yesterday :(
[18:14:17] <Philippe> WereSpielChqrs: are you talking about caching centers, stuff like that?
[18:15:06] <bnewstead> Decisions about hardware deployment aren't in my remit, however it is a priority from the strategic planning process to improve performance around the world...
[18:15:45] <bnewstead> particularly in Asia, where our performance is pretty slow. I was in India last month and it took >2 mins to load a page after an edit.
[18:16:57] <bnewstead> caching centers, yes.
[18:17:09] <WereSpielChqrs> Philippe Yes - probably. Local copies of data so it becomes more usable in countries where currently we have problems. I think it would be logical for global development to feedback to the devs a wishlist of where we would like to improve access
[18:18:05] <bnewstead> GD will indeed feedback wishlists and our expectations is that the needs of these areas will get priority, even if they aren't the loadest voices
[18:18:13] <RoanKattouw> I hear mark talk about this periodically, and what he keeps repeating is that while Europe's network topology is such that having a caching center in Amsterdam (which we do) helps in all of Europe, Asia is different
[18:18:14] <bnewstead> oops loudest
[18:18:52] <Qcoder00> Hello, Is there an agenda for this channel?
[18:19:04] <killiondude> See topic.
[18:19:08] <stevenwalling> Yep
[18:19:30] <RoanKattouw> I personally suspect India could just be treated as a continent of its own (I mean it is huge and has 1/6th of the world's population), but decisions on where to place caching centers are greatly influenced by network topology considerations
[18:19:52] <Theo10011> caching centers would be great, but performance] is not an issue in India
[18:20:03] <Qcoder00> And presumably in terms of existing infrastructure?
[18:20:11] <Philippe> Barry, when you have a've been on the job for... what, three months? can it be that long already? How's it going? What do you think are the biggest challenges that you've encountered?
[18:20:25] <bnewstead> You would certainly know better than I Roan. I agree that India requires its own attention. It is massive and massively complex! Yet, has tremendous potential for growth.
[18:20:42] <RoanKattouw> Theo10011: Barry just said he was in India recently and that Wikipedia was very slow for him there
[18:20:48] <Philippe> Theo10011: If Barry really got 2 minute load times, that's a performance issue :)
[18:20:59] <bnewstead> Thanks Philippe. I have been on for three months - feels like a lot longer. I'm really enjoying it.
[18:21:15] <Theo10011> guys I am from India
[18:21:16] <jorm> man, no kidding. i've got, like, four months, and i feel like a veteran.
[18:21:26] <Theo10011> Barry's issue might be because of slow DNS
[18:21:35] <Theo10011> depending on the ISP
[18:21:38] <jorm> well, that's still an issue.
[18:21:39] <bnewstead> Most exciting parts have been the work with the Indian community on our activities there. I had an incredible trip that was inspiring.
[18:21:52] <jorm> "perceived performance" versus "actual performance."
[18:22:12] <Qcoder00> I did have a question that might be of interest , LMK when the current question's been answered :)
[18:22:19] <bnewstead> I've also enjoyed the work on chapter grants.
[18:22:38] <Philippe> Yeah, Chapter granting process is cool.
[18:22:45] <bnewstead> Biggest challenge is the volume of work: I still need more people to work on the GD issues, but that will come.
[18:22:46] <Philippe> Really neat to see what chapters are doing.
[18:23:10] <Qcoder00> Clarifcation point : What are Chapters and how do they differ from the Foundation?
[18:23:55] <bnewstead> Chapters are independent organizations from various geographies. We have 29 around the world.
[18:24:19] <bnewstead> They are affiliated with Wikimedia and conduct a range of outreach activities supporting the Wikimedia movement mission in their geographies
[18:24:30] <Qcoder00> Are chapters equivlant to having local offices then?
[18:24:35] <dami_hun> speaking of chapters, how is the "chapter development ..." hiring going?
[18:24:43] <jeremyb> no, they are independant
[18:24:44] <WereSpielChqrs> I don't think it's "perceived performance" versus "actual performance." I think its very local connection problems v regional connection. We can't upgrade the local internet cafe from dialup to broadband, but we could put caches into half a dozen centres round the world
[18:24:58] <bnewstead> Chapters are NOT local offices. They are independent from the Fdtn.
[18:25:10] <Qcoder00> OK Then, Why does the Foundation not have local offices?
[18:25:36] <WereSpielChqrs> What would local offices do?
[18:25:44] <RoanKattouw> I think that's because we don't have any concentration of staff anywhere other than in SF
[18:25:52] <jeremyb> so, fdtn is in SF,pmtpa,knams,ashburn and maybe india?
[18:25:59] <jeremyb> brazil?
[18:26:00] <Jyothis> bnewstead, how do you see the chapter and a foundation office establishment plans in India on a long term vision?
[18:26:02] <bnewstead> chapter development hiring is moving slowly, mostly because it is a tricky position to hire as the candidate needs to really "get" the community...
[18:26:07] <RoanKattouw> Although I think we're setting up an office in India and changing that, right, bnewstead ?
[18:26:26] <Qcoder00> Local offices : The same thing the Foundation does, but for specifc areas, hiring staff with local expertise (such as knowing how not to get sued for example)
[18:26:34] <bnewstead> ...and have the skills and experience to build systems to help scale our chapter work globally. We'll get there though!
[18:26:37] <stevenwalling> jeremyb: There are people who work for the WMF all over, but there aren't offices in all those places.
[18:26:50] <bnewstead> On local office q....
[18:27:06] <RoanKattouw> The latter simply isn't worth it, because we remote folks are way too spread out
[18:27:11] <bnewstead> We will indeed be opening our first local office in India soon.
[18:27:34] <Qcoder00> OK.. My question about local offices, was mainly to do with the UK vs US issue...
[18:27:39] <bnewstead> this is a pilot to see if WMF can play a catalyzing role along side the community and chapters
[18:28:10] <Herodotus> I believe killiondude had a question regarding
[18:28:12] <Qcoder00> .. and was more to do with having on-staff experts to handle issues that arose in local jursidictions... (other than the US(
[18:28:19] <Jyothis> have we decided on the city that we will open the office in?
[18:28:40] <Dragonfly6-7> Groznyy
[18:28:44] <Dragonfly6-7> Wikimedia Groznyy
[18:28:47] <bnewstead> We don't really see the need for local offices in the UK and US. Chapters can fulfill some of the local functions and we general prefer, as a movement, to minimize formal staff roles to places where there are specific needs.
[18:29:02] <Qcoder00> OK, That answers my question...
[18:29:04] <Qcoder00> :)
[18:29:17] <bnewstead> Great - thanks for asking ;)
[18:29:24] <stevenwalling> I don't see it above Herodotus. Killiondude, can you repeat?
[18:29:48] <killiondude> I hadn't properly written it yet. Herodotus was trying to prod me. :-)
[18:29:55] <stevenwalling> Oh okay. :)
[18:30:19] <Qcoder00> My next question was to do with the fact that as Global Development Officer, what the st=rtagey for trying to balance 192(at least) conflicting legal jurisdictions was going to be?
[18:30:24] <Qcoder00> *strategy
[18:31:10] <bnewstead> Good question - not easy - and not my expertise area.
[18:31:14] <Qcoder00> At English Wikipedia they have been ocassional spats, because of different copyright models in US-UK- Candada...
[18:31:26] <Qcoder00> Those are reasonably straightforward...
[18:31:51] <Qcoder00> But something like say BLP is much more complex given that Uk has a very differnt libel model from the US
[18:32:54] <bnewstead> I'd really prefer not to comment too much on this stuff as I don't understand the legal nuances. Mike Godwin is the expert there and we do tap legal counsel to help when issues come up.
[18:34:01] <Jyothis> bnewstead, have we decided on the city that we will open the office in?
[18:34:35] <killiondude> Other than providing outreach things like the photo contests as well as helping in fundraising, what are the (actual, not theoretical) benefits of chapters?
[18:34:37] <bnewstead> This is a fun question...I've been asked almost daily about the city...
[18:34:49] <stevenwalling> Two great questions.
[18:35:20] <bnewstead> the answer is we haven't decided and I don't see this as an important decision as I expect our team will travel A LOT.
[18:36:25] <Jyothis> Do we plan to collaborate with print and visual media to make the outreach programs of foundation (not chapters) more visible or are we already doing this?
[18:36:38] <jeremyb> mostly hiring locals?
[18:36:42] <bnewstead> Function of chapters: they are generally intended to support the communities in their countries, help with outreach and recruitment of new Wikimedians and where appropriate liaise with the press, government and other groups.
[18:36:50] <jeremyb> how long will the office be open?
[18:36:50] <Pharos> the great majority of the Wikimedia India folks are in Bangalore, I recall
[18:38:19] <killiondude> bnewstead: My question was really if the actual outcomes of their "mission" were measured (measurable?) and if so, are they achieving that?
[18:38:33] <Theo10011> yup pharos
[18:38:34] <bnewstead> Jyothis - yes we do. I was bombarded with media in India and it can be helpful to share who we are and explode myths about Wikimedia. E.g., a lot of people were surprised we had 20+ Indic language Wikipedias
[18:39:00] <bnewstead> Jeremyb: Our initial thinking is about 3 years, but we want to see how it goes.
[18:39:45] <Pharos> and is the thought the WM India might 'take over' after that?
[18:39:58] <Jyothis> bnewstead, as a part of the outreach program for mlwiki, we have a good support from local press and state government's IT mission. we have been making it a point to provide enuf media support over the years and that has paid us well
[18:40:08] <Pharos> the office functions, I mean
[18:40:09] <bnewstead> Pharos: there are a lot of Wikimedians spread across India. Bangalore folks are more visible because they have done a great job organizing meetups and the chapter team is mostly based there.
[18:40:33] <jeremyb> a lot of people are surprised we're not ad supported or written by a building full of paid, cubicled ppl
[18:40:39] <jeremyb> :)
[18:40:43] <bnewstead> yes - the hope is that WM India will take off - as will the communities.
[18:41:35] <bnewstead> jeremyb - yes, some people actually debated me on the point about ads. they didn't understand it. I quite enjoyed those discussions.
[18:41:43] <Jyothis> first time the local press covered us, existing active members couldnt handle the load and we had to work in shifts to cover it. Similarly, it may be a good point to reach out to the main local dailys and visual media as a part of outreach program
[18:42:25] <Jyothis> a vast majority may not read the english daily in India.
[18:42:42] <bnewstead> Yes - big challenge is to get beyond english media in India. We should also look at radio
[18:42:43] * dferg needs a sysadmin
[18:42:56] <stevenwalling> Wrong channel dferg :)
[18:43:01] <dferg> yes :)
[18:43:22] <dferg> in the correct channel now :)
[18:43:35] <Jyothis> bnewstead, there is a good spur of local and national FMs which we can target
[18:43:58] <Qcoder00> India has more than one language...
[18:44:30] <Qcoder00> So unlike say the US where most people would edit en or es, you could have potential editors on many projects right ?
[18:44:32] <Jyothis> Qcoder00 yes
[18:44:49] <Theo10011> there already are
[18:44:54] <Qcoder00> :)
[18:44:58] <Jyothis> we just counted 65 or so project in the Indic group of languages
[18:45:09] <bnewstead> We have editors in many projects, yes. Worth noting that about 70% of page edits from india are on en
[18:45:12] <Theo10011> last national survey found 1800+ languages
[18:45:26] <Theo10011> and new languages are found even today
[18:45:53] <Theo10011> 94% of the page views to the projects are on en
[18:45:54] <bnewstead> it is great that they are so engaged on en. The challenge is to do the same on the indic languages.
[18:46:50] <Jyothis> Infact, I had just put out an RfC to create a subset of Global sysops to help Indic languages that has very low activity
[18:46:57] <bnewstead> There is some amazing work happening on the Indic projects, despite challenges. Excited to see them growing...and hope we can provide support.
[18:47:01] <Qcoder00> Theo10011 and question to bnewstead: It's noted in some studies that India still has caste prejudice, in implementing a WM India strategy, how would this be countered?
[18:47:15] <Dragonfly6-7> oh deaer, that's an excellent point
[18:47:38] <Dragonfly6-7> I'm not sure if it *could* be countered; rather, it would have to be accommodated
[18:47:43] <delphine> interesting choice of word "countered"
[18:47:49] <Dragonfly6-7> but on the other hand, that's one of the advantages of anonymity
[18:48:10] <bnewstead> Maybe some of the Indian colleagues are better qualified that me to talk about caste, though I will say...
[18:48:14] <Qcoder00> delphine: There are whole pages about 'systemic bias' on English Wikipedia...
[18:48:16] <Theo10011> caste prejudice is a not an issue in the large metros or cities
[18:48:33] <Theo10011> its more in bifurcated remote communities
[18:48:41] <Theo10011> along with many social issues
[18:48:56] <Theo10011> I don't think its an issue that would come up for the foundation
[18:49:01] <bnewstead> that I believe DEEPLY that Wikimedia's work can and should be an equalizer. After all, one needs no credentials to contributor. We are a meritocracy.
[18:49:05] <Jyothis> Theo10011, completely agree.. the new generation care less about it, infact
[18:49:09] <Theo10011> its also illegal
[18:49:47] <Jyothis> bnewstead, atleast in the Indian projects that I have interacted, we already have a diverse group working well together
[18:49:50] <WereSpielChqrs> Are there any caste specific languages or do castes always cross languages?
[18:49:58] <delphine> bnewstead: you still need to learn some about editcountitis ;) and how if we were really a meritocracy, bots would rule Wikimedia ;)
[18:50:16] <Theo10011> not language specific
[18:50:22] <Theo10011> its archais werespiel
[18:50:23] <Qcoder00> That may be so, but it would be a shame if Indic Wikipedias, there was a perception of bias/ prejudice purley on the basis of those able to edit...
[18:50:36] <Theo10011> archaic system, unheard of in the large cities
[18:50:37] <Jyothis> casts cross languages. probable exception would have been sansckrit about 5-1000 years ago
[18:50:48] <Jyothis> I mean 50-100
[18:50:55] <Theo10011> well the issue of bias is even raised on en wp
[18:51:10] <bnewstead> yes, I'm still in the naive, rose coloured glasses phase ;) I'm trying to enjoy it while it lasts
[18:51:16] <delphine> bnewstead: I'm not sure what questions have been asked, so I'll give a shot at asking one, tell me off if it's already been asked ;)
[18:51:16] <Qcoder00> And I'm sorry as i ddin't mean my question to start a pollitical disscussion about on off-wiki matter
[18:51:39] <Jyothis> :)
[18:52:09] <delphine> QUESTION: Roughly how many chapters do you see in say 5 years, and of these, how many completely financially independant (ie. able to raise money in their own country)
[18:52:37] <delphine> bnewstead: numbers don't interest me as much as "scope" so to speak
[18:52:40] <delphine> :D
[18:53:16] <bnewstead> Cool - On the # of chapters, I'd love to see growth of chapters in Africa, Asia and South America...
[18:54:03] <bnewstead> The second half of your question is really important though. We should strive for quality and quantity. We aren't trying to plant the flag everywhere...
[18:54:20] <Pharos> and what about North America?
[18:54:36] <delphine> (/me just had a "Houston, we have a problem" moment ;))
[18:54:55] <bnewstead> we (I mean the movement - btw) should strive for chapters that provide valuable outreach and community support activities.
[18:55:02] <delphine> ha! Pharos question is fantastic
[18:56:13] <delphine> bnewstead: can you imagine having chapters that we know are "never" financially independant?
[18:56:28] <bnewstead> On the budget question, I'll just say for now that we need to think through sources and uses of funds. It is unlikely that all countries will have local funding sources to fund their work. it is also likely that some countries will have...
[18:56:38] <Jyothis> bnewstead, I would recommened working with the state governments in india as well. many of them have an IT mission or IT committee that can help us do a lot more. When we released our wikipedia on CD, they helped a lot and they requested permission to distribute it directly to government schools across the state
[18:56:59] <bnewstead> more funds available than are needed to advance the mission. This is a key topic for the movement roles process.
[18:57:07] <WereSpielChqrs> Do you see chapters as continuing to be geographic entities or do you think there is space for language based organisations?
[18:57:41] <bnewstead> delphine - yes, I do imagine having chapters that are not financially independent in the sense that they might rely on grants from the movement.
[18:57:49] * ChanServ gives channel operator status to stevenwalling
[18:57:51] <delphine> bnewstead: cool :D
[18:57:54] * delphine too
[18:57:55] <delphine> ;)
[18:58:12] <bnewstead> Pharos - I haven't given a lot of thought to the North American question yet to be honest.
[18:59:06] <delphine> bnewstead: you should really ;) it's gonna be a tough one soon, me thinks (and hopes)
[18:59:07] <delphine> :P
[18:59:30] <bnewstead> WereSpielChqrs - thanks for asking. I can imagine there being space for a range of organizations supporting the movement, yes. It is a question we need to take up in movement roles and it would be great to have varied perspectives/ideas.
[18:59:52] <Pharos> from our experience, chapter activity in North America can greatly multiply the outreach and effectiveness of the Wikimedia movement
[19:00:02] * delphine agrees with Pharos
[19:00:38] <killiondude> I don't think the foundation wants to appear America-centric. Even though North America consists of more than the US.
[19:00:51] <bnewstead> This might be controversial - I'm not 100% sure I agree. I don't have the data, but I do know that we've grown a lot in North America without chapters.
[19:01:15] <delphine> bnewstead: what do you measure this "growth" in NAmerica with?
[19:01:49] <Theo10011> well atleast mexico and canada need their own chapters
[19:01:49] <bnewstead> That wasn't intended as a negative statement, but we should be open minded. "growth" in readership, share of total edits
[19:02:03] <Pharos> pound for pound, dollar for dollar, the Wikimedia movement is much stronger in NYC than anywhere else in North America
[19:02:21] <Pharos> with a greater capacity for local outrewach than even San Francisco
[19:02:23] <Pharos> IMHO
[19:02:26] <delphine> bnewstead: ok, I see another measure of growth when we talk to chapters, ie. "IRL events and such"
[19:02:33] <stevenwalling> Perhaps Pharos. I know some West Coast folks who might argue with that. ;)
[19:02:50] <delphine> s/talk to/talk about
[19:03:26] <stevenwalling> It's about time time wrap up, unless anyone has any quick final questions?
[19:03:41] >chanserv< access #wikimedia-office list
[19:04:10] <Theo10011> so which city did you like on your visit?
[19:04:17] <Theo10011> :)
[19:05:10] <bnewstead> Just a final note on the NYC/US question - this is worth discussion (I didn't intend to express a view). I do however have a view that a big movement priorities are to expand around the globe, so we need to consider that as we look at places to invest and spend time. This includes the work of my team...
[19:05:58] <bnewstead> Theo10011 - nice try. I'm not going to answer that. I loved all three cities equally, though you were a terrific host in Delhi ;)
[19:06:18] <Theo10011> thanks
[19:06:19] <Theo10011> Ill take that
[19:06:37] <stevenwalling> I think that's good place to end.
[19:06:37] <stevenwalling> I think Barry's late for a meeting. :)
[19:06:42] <bnewstead> Thanks all for the good discussion, I look forward to following up and being back soon. All the best!
[19:06:46] <killiondude> It's always a question of effectiveness versus looking good for the foundation, Pharos.
[19:06:47] <delphine> bye
[19:06:49] <Theo10011> bye
[19:06:57] <stevenwalling> Thanks for coming everyone! Bye!