IRC office hours/Office hours 2013-01-26

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[2013-01-26 13:32:57] <sgardner> Okay, I am back :-)
[2013-01-26 13:33:50] <Maggie_Dennis> Welcome back, Sue. :) And welcome to the office hour everyone!
[2013-01-26 13:34:40] <Maggie_Dennis> There's no set agenda for this hour. Does anyone have any topics they'd like to discuss?
[2013-01-26 13:34:47] <jorm> crap. i haven't even looked at my watchlist yet.
[2013-01-26 13:35:14] <sgardner> Maggie, while we're collecting possible topics, I will throw out a couple too.
[2013-01-26 13:36:03] <sgardner> There's a Board meeting in San Francisco next weekend. The agenda's not finalized yet, and it will likely change some. (And I believe somebody is planning to publish the main topics once they're locked down.) But FWIW I can give a sense of what it looks like, at this point, the main topics will be:
[2013-01-26 13:37:24] <sgardner> The biggest and most significant topic is the kickoff to the 2013-14 annual planning process. The planning is about to begin, and to kick it off, the senior staff will present to the Board on what we've gotten done so far in 2012-13, and what we think the main priority areas should be for 2013-14, in order to get the Board's input as the planning starts.
[2013-01-26 13:37:29] <sgardner> Other than that we have:
[2013-01-26 13:37:38] <sgardner> -- Wikimedia Chapters Association and AffCom (formerly ChapCom)
[2013-01-26 13:37:38] <sgardner> -- reappointment of Advisory Board membership
[2013-01-26 13:37:39] <sgardner> -- housekeeping agenda items (a small amendment to the AffCom charter; Board members will sign their pledge of personal commitment and conflict of interest documents; we will discuss a proposed new policy on "duty of loyalty")
[2013-01-26 13:37:51] <sgardner> So we could talk about those items, if we want.
[2013-01-26 13:38:19] <sgardner> Other than that, I will sit back and wait for a while, to see what else people might want to discuss. It feels a bit sleepy here, I must say :-)
[2013-01-26 13:38:26] <sgardner> (I don't mean me: I mean the channel :-))
[2013-01-26 13:39:11] <jorm> it's a beautiful day, though.
[2013-01-26 13:39:13] <Bence> So for starters, what will be the main priority areas for 2013-4?
[2013-01-26 13:39:21] <jps> re annual planning, I'd be interested in your opinion on the optimal growth rate, Sue
[2013-01-26 13:39:55] <sgardner> (Thanks for those, Bence and jps. I will wait for a minute to continue collecting topic areas, but I'm happy to speak to those in a minute or so.)
[2013-01-26 13:40:30] <Bence> also, this "duty of loyalty" sounds interesting, what is involved in that?
[2013-01-26 13:41:02] <everton137> Sao Paulo is rainy :(
[2013-01-26 13:41:46] <aude> hi
[2013-01-26 13:41:58] <Maggie_Dennis> Hi, aude. :)
[2013-01-26 13:42:17] * aude multitasking and doing openstreetmap editathon today
[2013-01-26 13:43:56] <Thehelpfulone> sgardner, are we getting any additions to the Advisory Board, or is that to be released post-meeting?
[2013-01-26 13:45:29] <sgardner> Okay. Why don't I go in order, starting with Bence's first question? And Maggie, you can remind me which ones are next, plus collect new topic areas as they come in. Does that sound okay?
[2013-01-26 13:45:36] <sgardner> (And hi aude :-))
[2013-01-26 13:46:36] <Maggie_Dennis> Sounds good to me.
[2013-01-26 13:47:22] <sgardner> So Bence asked about the main priority areas for 2013-14. And it's a simple answer. At this point, we don't imagine making any significant changes to the main priority areas. You'll remember (maybe) that for 2012-13, they are i) Visual Editor, ii) mobile (Wikipedia Zero plus features enabling mobile contributions), iii) editor engagement (recruitment, retention) and iv) grantmaking (mainly, the launch of the FDC).
[2013-01-26 13:47:43] <aude> congrats on getting the knight grant :)
[2013-01-26 13:48:01] <jps> and the Global Voices appointment!
[2013-01-26 13:48:26] <sgardner> So for 2013-14, we expect they will remain the same. i) Visual Editor will by the beginning of 2013-14, we expect, have been rolled out as the default on all WP language versions -- for 2013-14, we will continue extending its capabilities (editable templates, citations, tables, etc.).
[2013-01-26 13:49:13] <sgardner> ii) Mobile will continue its work, focused on more deals with mobile carriers for Wikipedia Zero (use of Wikipedia from phones without incurring data charges, for people in non-wealthy countries), plus continuing to enable mobile contributions.
[2013-01-26 13:49:42] <sgardner> iii) Editor engagement work will continue. We've had some promising experiments lately, and we'll continue finding ways to make Wikipedia "stickier" for editors.
[2013-01-26 13:49:55] <sgardner> And iv) we'll continue to evolve our grant-making processes and practices.
[2013-01-26 13:50:14] <sgardner> Can I talk for a second about the evolution of grantmaking, because there is one important new thing that will be happening there?
[2013-01-26 13:50:25] <Bence> sure
[2013-01-26 13:51:31] <sgardner> So essentially where we are right now with grantmaking is, we have the basics in place. There's a pretty good applications process, the FDC and other decisionmaking bodies/processes are working pretty well, and we have the nuts-and-bolts practices in place to ensure we're not accidentally giving money to terrorists, that grant recipients are complying with their local regulations, and so forth. So the basics are in place, and working f
[2013-01-26 13:51:32] <sgardner> ine.
[2013-01-26 13:51:55] <everton137> I believe that improve how to add references is fundamental to be made easier (I haven't seen this in the visual editors page, maybe I missed) - just reminding a great mathmatician that edits Wikipedian and didn't have time to learn how to add a reference
[2013-01-26 13:52:48] <Ironholds> everton137: I think things like the citation toolbar (or some variant thereof) will be automatically integrated, although I could be wrong.
[2013-01-26 13:53:43] <sgardner> What will change in 2013-14, and is important, is that we want to begin (as a movement) to be able to get a better sense of what programmatic activities are working well, and which are not. Currently we (all, I think, the entire movement) only have a very hazy idea of where we're (all) being effective. Like, I think there is a general (and correct) sense that Wiki Loves Monuments is a huge success: that we know. Other projects and acti
[2013-01-26 13:53:44] <sgardner> vities we're not sure about. For example, we don't have a good sense of what outreach is working well and what isn't. We don't have a sense of what types of GLAM work are most effective, and what best practices for GLAM look like. We don't knwo whether the QR code wikitown type projects are effective at recruiting editors or achieving article quality.
[2013-01-26 13:54:01] <everton137> Ironholds, that would be good. I've seem people faces a huge dififcult in citing sources - which is *fundamental* for Wikipedia nature. And when people make mistakes, we know what happens
[2013-01-26 13:54:08] <sgardner> (You can keep talking everton137 and Ironholds -- I am kinda monologuing but that shouldn't stop other conversations, and I'll be done soon :-))
[2013-01-26 13:54:31] <Ironholds> everton137: agreed. have you seen the new link manager?
[2013-01-26 13:54:44] <sgardner> And we need to know what works and what doesn't, so that people running programmatic activities know where to focus their energies and resources, and so that people making decisions about grants know what's worth funding and what isn't.
[2013-01-26 13:54:51] <Ironholds> I'd imagine they'll go with something like that for other 'interactive' elements like referencing, templates, so on
[2013-01-26 13:55:20] <everton137> Ironholds, no, I would love to (trying to manage how too talk in two channels, since I am talking to Portuguese people now on how to involved their country on the education program and my brain is windows like)
[2013-01-26 13:55:36] <jps> �I've mentioned that it would be far easier to measure the outcome of the Education Program if their staffing level was keeping up in proportion to their number of students. Last year it was pretty easy to get a list of all the articles currently in the program. This year, most of the new templates have the wrong date, and there are several hundred of them
[2013-01-26 13:55:47] <Ironholds> everton137: test the visual editor on enwiki, click a link, watch what happens :)
[2013-01-26 13:55:48] <sgardner> So in 2013-14, Frank Schulenberg will be responsible for leading an effort to assess the impact of the programmatic activities run by the movement, in order to help everybody get smarter faster about where we should focus resources and energies. The purpose of that assessment will be to provide useful information to people who run programmatic activities, and to the people who make funding decisions.
[2013-01-26 13:55:55] <sgardner> Okay I am done that piece. Now I'll go back and read.
[2013-01-26 13:56:08] * everton137 is testing what Ironholds suggested
[2013-01-26 13:56:27] <jorm> i was talking with trevor last night about using the visual editor in Flow discussions.
[2013-01-26 13:56:48] <jorm> basically requiring its usage.
[2013-01-26 13:57:02] <sgardner> (everton137, you're right about the difficulties people have in learning how to cite sources. When I found the citation toolbar, it was a *massive* step forward for me in becoming a productive editor. I don't use VE as my default yet for everything, solely because of the citation issue.)
[2013-01-26 13:57:25] <Bence> jorm, what is Flow?
[2013-01-26 13:57:46] <jorm> flow is. . . . complicated.
[2013-01-26 13:58:11] <jorm> it's a feature designed to elevate what we call your "interest graph" to you.
[2013-01-26 13:58:16] <jps> ...previously it looked like staff were monitoring pretty much every article in the Education Program. I'm not saying that's sustainable or even desirable, but if they only had enough to make sure the template dates were correct, then the community could monitor them
[2013-01-26 13:58:21] <jorm> make you a more productive editor and reduce your overall frustration.
[2013-01-26 13:58:48] <jorm> it's coming in many steps, but the first part of Flow is a revamp of the "user to user" discussion system.
[2013-01-26 13:59:27] <sgardner> It's intended to be "talk pages but better," right jorm?
[2013-01-26 13:59:52] <everton137> (on en.wp there is a fancier way on how to add sources. A volunteers from has tried to create a gadget for that, but unfortunatelly we have way less active volunteers to help on that as compared to, thus things progress slowly here)
[2013-01-26 14:00:00] <sgardner> "Talk pages, but understandable to people who aren't familiar with conventions like where to reply, how to sign your posts, etc.'
[2013-01-26 14:00:14] <jorm> the discussion part of it, yes.
[2013-01-26 14:00:34] <jorm> it's like a feed of all your discussions.
[2013-01-26 14:00:40] <everton137> Ironholds, I could only find a fancier way to add links. It is better, indeed. But we still have the references problem, I think (if I got well how to do it!)
[2013-01-26 14:00:51] <jorm> but also other stuff gets into the feed. like watchlist changes. or things like signpost publications.
[2013-01-26 14:01:06] <jorm> or maybe stuff like helpdesk questions, or teahouse questions (if you want)
[2013-01-26 14:01:07] <jorm> etc.
[2013-01-26 14:01:14] <Ironholds> everton137: indeed, but my point was 'that is the sort of interface I imagine they will build for references'.
[2013-01-26 14:01:17] <sgardner> So Bence, others, do you have any questions about our current thinking about the strategic priorities for next year? Does anyone want to ask anything about the work Frank will be doing? It's new, and we haven't got it all figured out yet, but we do know the basics/overview.
[2013-01-26 14:01:18] <Bence> sounds interesting
[2013-01-26 14:01:20] <Ironholds> not 'that is how references work now' ;p
[2013-01-26 14:01:29] <everton137> Ironholds, ah, got it!
[2013-01-26 14:01:39] <everton137> sorry
[2013-01-26 14:01:41] <jps> that's a problem for sure. Poverty gets 4,000 views per day, but only four talk page comments per day. On the other hand, it has an exemplary AFT5 comment stream which suggests several important improvements. Please keep that in mind when discussing AFT5 with people who don't like it
[2013-01-26 14:01:48] <Nicole_WMDE_> jorm do you have a link at hand to the flow-thingy?
[2013-01-26 14:02:00] <jorm> search "flow" on
[2013-01-26 14:02:05] <Nicole_WMDE_> k, thx
[2013-01-26 14:02:15] <jorm> we're going to be HEAVILY ramping up our community engagement on it starting in early february.
[2013-01-26 14:02:20] <aude> jorm: and how does echo relate to flow?
[2013-01-26 14:02:27] <aude> seems slightly confusing
[2013-01-26 14:02:28] <jps> sgardner: again, please make sure the Education Program has enough people so that the community can easily get a list of all the articles currently in it. I really believe without that, you won't even be able to measure its impact
[2013-01-26 14:02:37] <jorm> echo is a notifications engine. flow is a content engine.
[2013-01-26 14:02:54] * jps meant "four talk page comments per year" on Poverty, not per day, sorry
[2013-01-26 14:03:04] * aude still slightly confused :)
[2013-01-26 14:03:17] <jorm> echo notifies you that there are important, time-sensitive things happening. flow is more passive, less time sensitive, and is the full content.
[2013-01-26 14:03:19] <Bence> sgardner: speaking of Frank, the education programme will be completely spun out starting next year?
[2013-01-26 14:03:23] <aude> echo has watchlist notifications
[2013-01-26 14:03:26] <sgardner> jps: thanks. By the way (and I am just remembering this because Frank told me the other day) -- currently, more than 10% of new material added to the Arabic WP is coming out of the Global Education Program work. Which is kind of amazing.
[2013-01-26 14:03:27] <Stevie-WMUK> Sue, I'm really interested in the work that Frank will be doing. Could you tell us a little more about this please? How will this influence the work of Chapters?
[2013-01-26 14:03:33] <jorm> no, it doesn't, actually.
[2013-01-26 14:03:38] <aude> hmmm.....
[2013-01-26 14:03:42] <jorm> but think like this:
[2013-01-26 14:04:00] <jorm> echo: "someone left a message on your talk page." flow: "here are the messages left on your talk page"
[2013-01-26 14:04:17] <sgardner> So let me take Bence and Stevie's follow-up questions, and then we can move on to the next topic, okay?
[2013-01-26 14:04:18] <jps> the Education Program is by far the best bang for the buck in quality improvement, I believe, plus, it's making a generation of gender-balanced young people who know how to edit
[2013-01-26 14:04:32] <sgardner> jps: the gender balance of the Education Program is really, really encouraging.
[2013-01-26 14:04:38] <aude> mmmm, ok
[2013-01-26 14:04:49] <sgardner> Okay -- so to Bence's question. Will the education program be totally spun out next year.
[2013-01-26 14:07:18] <aschmidt> sry, i'm still confused by echo/flow. will it be possible to follow discussions on more than one wikimedia plaform with these?
[2013-01-26 14:07:19] <sgardner> The answer to that is no. I think everyone here knows the basics of the Global Education Program. It's global, and its purpose is to support groups of people who are doing geographically-specific work, wherever they are. To date, because it originated as a US program funded by a restricted grant for that purpose, it's actually itself done programmatic work in the United States. Now though, there's a group of people in the United States
[2013-01-26 14:07:20] <sgardner> (Wikipedians + academics) who want to spin out their own non-profit organization doing global education work in the United States and Canada. We hope they are successful in doing that, and once they have launched, we will only do the global coordination and facilitation, as we've always intended. But, the Wikimedia Foundation intends to continue holding responsibility for coordination/facilitation, because we think the Global Educatio
[2013-01-26 14:07:20] <sgardner> n work is good, and deserves some central support from us.
[2013-01-26 14:07:53] <sgardner> Does that answer your question, Bence?
[2013-01-26 14:07:57] <jps> excellent! What a relief!
[2013-01-26 14:07:58] <aschmidt> currently, we have the problem that most editors are not aware when something happens on meta because they only follow their watchlist on their respective homewiki
[2013-01-26 14:08:25] <sgardner> Should I move on to Stevie's question?
[2013-01-26 14:08:27] <Bence> yes, thanks, sgardner
[2013-01-26 14:08:32] <sgardner> K thanks Bence :-)
[2013-01-26 14:09:49] <sgardner> So Stevie asked about Frank's work, and particularly how it will influence the work of the chapters. So I should preface my response by saying, I'm not making any announcements here, or saying anything officially about this. Frank will be in touch with everybody through normal channels, so for people who were not at this chat, they won't have missed anything important. I am just giving a kind of advance preview, for general awareness,
[2013-01-26 14:09:49] <sgardner> for people who are here.
[2013-01-26 14:10:29] <jorm> aschmidt: hopefully, yes. that's one of the initial plans. however, it's technically difficult.
[2013-01-26 14:10:53] <jorm> we aren't facebook or google, so we don't have a huge amount of money to build things like mapreduce clusters and the like.
[2013-01-26 14:11:32] <sgardner> So essentially it'll work something like this: Once you receive a grant (from the FDC, the Wikimedia Grants Program, or whomever) you're required afterwards to file a report saying how the money was used. The reporting requirements obviously are different depending how much money you received, and from whom. But you file a report. In the reporting requirements, we're going to be asking people to report on the impact of the money spent
[2013-01-26 14:11:32] <sgardner> on programmatic activities. So you might say "we staged seven edit-a-thons attended by a total of 700 people, and 35 of those people went on to be 5+ editors in the following month." Or whatever.
[2013-01-26 14:11:52] <aschmidt> jorm: so i will be able to follow all discussions on several wm wikis in one place? that would be a great step foreward. would be much more important than a visual editor, in fact. thx.
[2013-01-26 14:11:56] <jorm> the way this is probably going to work out is that you'll be notified (on any wiki) that something has happened on a different wiki, and that you should go to that wiki to see what it was.
[2013-01-26 14:11:57] <sgardner> That's how the data will be collected for assessing programmatic effectiveness. Entities that get movement money will report back on the impact that money had, in helping the movement achieve its goals.
[2013-01-26 14:12:29] <jorm> with flow, HOPEFULLY, you will eventually not have to leave your "flow board" and you will see ALL conversations on ALL wikis flow through it.
[2013-01-26 14:13:02] <jorm> but (and it's a big, big but) that's such a phenomenally difficult thing to do technically that it will be a couple of years, easy, before we do that.
[2013-01-26 14:13:17] <Maggie_Dennis> Folks, we have about 18 minutes and three topics "in queue". If Stevie's question is answered, Sue, jps asks: "re annual planning, I'd be interested in your opinion on the optimal growth rate, Sue"
[2013-01-26 14:13:33] <aschmidt> jorm: :( anyway, that sounds rather interesting. thx
[2013-01-26 14:13:48] <sgardner> Frank will gather all that information together, and create a summary report, for people who run programs and for people who make funding decisions, and he will try to help them understand what's programmatically effective (ie, creating impact, helping us reach our goals) and what's not. He'll do that through and with other people (not by himself in an ivory tower somewhere) -- but the purpose will be able to say "X kind of thing seems
[2013-01-26 14:13:49] <sgardner> effective, Y other kind of thing may be promising but we can't tell, and Z other kind of thing is not effective at all." I think that will be really really helpful for the Wikimedia movement :-)
[2013-01-26 14:14:08] <sgardner> That's the gist Stevie. Does that make sense, or have I left anything important unanswered?
[2013-01-26 14:14:43] <Stevie-WMUK> Sue, that's really helpful, thanks for your response. Sounds a really useful initiative and I'm happy to help Frank from a UK perspective.
[2013-01-26 14:14:53] <Maggie_Dennis> Seems I jumped the gun. :) Sue, jps asks: "re annual planning, I'd be interested in your opinion on the optimal growth rate, Sue"
[2013-01-26 14:14:56] <Stevie-WMUK> Makes sense to always be assessing our impact and effectiveness
[2013-01-26 14:15:24] <aschmidt> jorm: i wonder if we could set up a disapora pod for our communication within the wikimedia movement, though, for the time being. it would be a free technology that is already working. we would not have to wait for years...
[2013-01-26 14:15:29] <sgardner> (Honestly, Frank's first report, which will be given to the FDC next fall, will probably be *really* high-level and impressionistic. Because we won't have the ability, immediately, to be super-rigorous. But I think even collecting together 'what we know now' [even if we don't know much] will be useful for everybody.)
[2013-01-26 14:15:40] <sgardner> Thanks Maggie :-)
[2013-01-26 14:15:57] <sgardner> jps, I thought your question was about staffing growth -- was it staffing growth or revenue growth?
[2013-01-26 14:16:11] <jps> both!
[2013-01-26 14:16:30] <sgardner> okay! That's good, because I just did a staffing growth analysis the other day, so I can share it here :-)
[2013-01-26 14:16:41] <sgardner> So....
[2013-01-26 14:16:41] <sgardner> We began 2009-10 with a headcount of 26 and ended with 47, an 81% increase. We began 2010-11 with a headcount of 47, and ended with 91, a 94% increase. We began 2011-12 with a headcount of 91, and ended with 119, a 31% increase. We began 2012-13 with a headcount of 119, and we're targeted to end with 164, a 38% increase.
[2013-01-26 14:17:17] <sgardner> That means the average YOY (year over year) staffing increase has been 61% -- but obviously it was significantly higher in the first two years, and significantly lower in the most recent two years.
[2013-01-26 14:17:19] <sgardner> I think that's good.
[2013-01-26 14:18:24] <Prodego> has there been an average of 61% improvement in 'stuff'?
[2013-01-26 14:18:37] <Prodego> what do 61% more people allow you to do
[2013-01-26 14:19:11] * aude misses the days when i knew each staff person, but suppose the increased capacity is a good thing
[2013-01-26 14:19:15] <sgardner> We've been talking about this at the Wikimedia Foundation lately. Obviously we want to grow our capacity to get stuff done, but it is also equally obviously the case that just adding people to projects doesn't speed them up as much as anyone would like. It takes a lot of time and energy to recruit people, to get them oriented and up-to-speed. And it has a kind of "resetting" effect on the organization -- you end up needing to teach new
[2013-01-26 14:19:15] <sgardner> people a whole lot of history and lore and information about the projects and our core priorities such as editor retention. What we know, what we don't know. All that takes time.
[2013-01-26 14:19:23] <Ironholds> aude: weirdly, I worked out my party trick the other day
[2013-01-26 14:19:30] <aude> heh
[2013-01-26 14:19:32] <jps> Prodego: depends on how you measure. has continued on it's decade-long exponential trend, but has leveled off in the past year
[2013-01-26 14:19:34] <Ironholds> if you name any staffer I can tell you what they do, where they work and who they answer to
[2013-01-26 14:19:41] <Ironholds> Now, can I remember their faces? Can I bollocks.
[2013-01-26 14:19:49] * aude can't name them all
[2013-01-26 14:20:00] <aude> used to be able to do that
[2013-01-26 14:20:01] <Orionist> Hi everyone
[2013-01-26 14:20:12] <Prodego> jps: are most of these new people working on the wikimedia websites in a fairly direct way?
[2013-01-26 14:20:15] <sgardner> Prodego, I think I kind of addressed your question in the bit I just said above. Adding people does add capacity (and I think you can see that in the increased pace of work the WMF is getting done, e.g., on the Visual Editor). But you don't get 100% additional value out of each new person, particularly not immediately.
[2013-01-26 14:20:21] <jps> I think it's clear that actual page views is the correct measure of utility, because among other reasons entire countries are behind a single NAT IP address these days
[2013-01-26 14:20:23] <sgardner> Orionist, Hi :-)
[2013-01-26 14:21:02] <sgardner> Prodego, yes, mostly. The majority of new hires are in engineering, with a smaller amount of people being added to grantmaking.
[2013-01-26 14:21:18] <jorm> typically you can expect a 2 - 3 month period before a new employee is productive.
[2013-01-26 14:21:25] <jorm> (that's true everywhere, btw.)
[2013-01-26 14:21:32] <Prodego> that is good. I am someone suspicious of the 'spreading free knowledge via other means' part of wikimedia
[2013-01-26 14:21:41] <Prodego> I'd like to see most of the money go in to tech
[2013-01-26 14:21:44] <sgardner> The number of people working on fundraising is either flat or slightly down (I think slightly down). We haven't grown the number of people working in finance and administration and Human Resources. We have added a few lawyers :-)
[2013-01-26 14:21:57] <jorm> a lot of the staffing questions could/should wait until gayle's office hours on Monday.
[2013-01-26 14:21:58] <Prodego> and lawyers are good too
[2013-01-26 14:22:14] <Maggie_Dennis> That's a good point, jorm. We do have a bit of a time crunch here, and two questions outstanding.
[2013-01-26 14:22:24] <sgardner> jorm, I think that's true -- that it's 2-3 months. But I also think that during that 2-3 month period, a number of people *around* the new person are less productive themselves. Because they are spending time coaching and orienting.
[2013-01-26 14:22:35] <jorm> this is also correct.
[2013-01-26 14:22:46] <jps> sgardner, you know I think that per-employee compensation should grow to become competitive with employers who can offer equity participation, and I think the enthusiasm burnout shown at proves that
[2013-01-26 14:23:03] <jorm> we're going to hire a director of user experience - my new boss - and i'm going to be next to useless along with them, because i'm effectively going to be knowledge transferring to them.
[2013-01-26 14:23:23] <Maggie_Dennis> Sgardner, did you have any comment on the optimal financial growth of the WMF before we move to Bence's question?
[2013-01-26 14:23:25] <Ironholds> jps: as one of said workmonkeys, if the foundation ever financially competed with places like google I'm not sure I'd be comfortable working here.
[2013-01-26 14:23:29] <sgardner> So anyway -- the gist of my answer to your question, jps, is that I expect us to continue to gradually slow the rate of the hiring. An organization needs to balance between a focus on growth and a focus on core execution, and we are beginning to tilt (appropriately, I think) more towards the latter than the former. I think that's the right path.
[2013-01-26 14:23:36] <Ironholds> because I'd see it as a waste of donor money, frankly.
[2013-01-26 14:23:51] <aude> on the technical side, the code review backlog (especially for volunteers) is getting longer and longer
[2013-01-26 14:24:04] <aude> any efforts being put towards improving that
[2013-01-26 14:24:12] <jps> Ironholds: then I think you are placing you ideals above your own self-esteem and that of your colleagues, which I believe is not a sustainable path
[2013-01-26 14:24:18] <sgardner> Thanks Maggie. Same is true for financial growth, really. I would expect that in two or three years, we are going to want to seriously consider an endowment campaign. But I am comfortable with our rate of financial growth generally, and I don't want us to push donors too hard.
[2013-01-26 14:24:19] <aude> e.g. who wants to review my patches for postgresql support for mediawiki :)
[2013-01-26 14:24:21] <jorm> tbh, i don't necessarily want us to be competative with google, salary wise. the "taking less money" is a shibboleth that helps us keep our culture where it should be.
[2013-01-26 14:24:34] <aude> they just sit there for months and rot sometimes :(
[2013-01-26 14:24:41] <Maggie_Dennis> Okay, with about 5 minutes to go - Bence says, "this "duty of loyalty" sounds interesting, what is involved in that?"
[2013-01-26 14:24:48] <jorm> i don't want us to have employees who are just there for the money.
[2013-01-26 14:24:51] <sgardner> (I'll take a moment to say, it was a GREAT year for fundraising this year. They made more money, and they annoyed people considerally less than in previous years. It was really extraordinary.)
[2013-01-26 14:24:58] <sgardner> Ah, duty of loyalty. Sure.
[2013-01-26 14:25:14] <Ironholds> jps: we've sustained on it for quite a while, thanks :). As jorm says, if we start fiscally competing we're going to be Just Another SF Tech Firm for some new employees.
[2013-01-26 14:25:17] <jps> jorm: the popularity of that opinion is probably what causes the extreme burn-out shown at
[2013-01-26 14:25:28] <everton137> jps, the education program in other contexts can also be important to involve experts that has a lot to contribute on their own languages, but have no idea on how Wikipedia works (from your comment on its importance to adding high quality content, which I agree)
[2013-01-26 14:25:36] * jps rolls eyes at Ironholds
[2013-01-26 14:25:38] <jps> please
[2013-01-26 14:25:50] <jorm> i think you have mis-interpreted that data.
[2013-01-26 14:25:56] <jps> there is no way the Foundation will ever be "Just Another SF Tech Firm"
[2013-01-26 14:26:11] <jps> jorm: what are the alternative hypotheses?
[2013-01-26 14:26:39] <jorm> when you hear staffers (like me) say things like "i could use some more money" it doesn't necessarily mean what you think it means.
[2013-01-26 14:26:47] <jorm> OF COURSE i can use more money. who doesn't?
[2013-01-26 14:26:56] <jorm> but it's not a gating factor for me.
[2013-01-26 14:27:00] <jorm> *i'm already here*.
[2013-01-26 14:27:08] <sgardner> This is not a big thing: it's just a small item on the Board's agenda. And it's a first proposal: the Board will be discussing it for the first time. But the basic idea is that all Boards have a duty of loyalty to their organization. We know that, and every trustee has always acted in accordance with it. We did feel though, that it would make sense to explicitly articulate what that duty of loyalty consists of, so that when or if Board
[2013-01-26 14:27:09] <sgardner> members found themselves facing a potential conflict of interest, they would have some guidelines for how (specifically) to conduct themselves. So that's the duty of loyalty policy. Geoff has gotten something drafted for discussion, and the Board will be looking at it for the first time next weekend.
[2013-01-26 14:27:25] <Ironholds> jps: what makes us different, then? Size, goals? Google is pretty big and wanted to Not Be Evil; sure, that makes them a prestigious place to be. But that's all it makes them.
[2013-01-26 14:27:33] <jps> the problem is, nobody ever hears that, jorm. We have an abundance of self-deprecation which leads to burn-out and festering resentment
[2013-01-26 14:27:48] <sgardner> If the Board likes it, and ends up adopting it, I think it's something chapters might want to look at adopting for themselves, as well. It basically just lays out how you're supposed to act in various circumstances, to uphold your responsibilities as a trustee.
[2013-01-26 14:28:02] <jps> Ironholds: goals and open content means, for starters
[2013-01-26 14:28:08] <Prodego> jps: so does wikipedia
[2013-01-26 14:28:27] <sgardner> (I am going back now and reading, catching up.)
[2013-01-26 14:28:47] <jps> Prodego: I'm not sure which statement you were responding to, sorry
[2013-01-26 14:28:59] <jorm> i honestly don't see greater turnover than i do at most tech places; in fact less in some cases.
[2013-01-26 14:29:03] <Ironholds> jps: have you got any evidence of festering resentment or lack of money being the burn-out rationale? Because I think Erik (or Gayle, I forget) explicitly ran through some aggregate data on exit interviews with you on the mailing lists.
[2013-01-26 14:29:04] <aude> sgardner: efforts to improve code review backlog? (especially for volunteers)
[2013-01-26 14:29:17] <sgardner> Prodego re your earlier comment about tech. Yes, most of the money goes there. This year, I believe Engineering and Product make up 61% of the spending and 52% of the staffing.
[2013-01-26 14:29:17] <Maggie_Dennis> We have one minute and one more question on the table - Thehelpfulone asks, "sgardner, are we getting any additions to the Advisory Board, or is that to be released post-meeting?"
[2013-01-26 14:29:18] <Bence> thanks sgardner. (The other major items on the agenda were also interesting, but this was new to me)
[2013-01-26 14:29:23] <aude> it's discouraging to have your patches sit around for a long time and sometimes rot
[2013-01-26 14:29:30] <jps> Ironholds: did you listen to Gayle's comments at ?
[2013-01-26 14:29:43] <jorm> aude, you'll need to talk to sumana about that, i think.
[2013-01-26 14:30:04] <aude> jorm: i think we could use more platform engineering people
[2013-01-26 14:30:23] <sgardner> Maggie, I can stay a few minutes extra, and I wanted to make a quick comment on the salary stuff. Then I'll go to thehelpfulone's question, okay?
[2013-01-26 14:30:29] <jps> Ironholds: and no, Gayle has not released those slides as she said she would. She has not released the list of questions, either.
[2013-01-26 14:30:37] <Maggie_Dennis> Fine by me. :)
[2013-01-26 14:30:41] <Ironholds> jps: okay. She's the head of HR and pretty busy :)
[2013-01-26 14:30:45] <sgardner> So on the salary issues, I'm wondering if anyone here is familiar with Dan Pink's work on salaries/compensation?
[2013-01-26 14:30:49] <aude> the answer isn't 20% code review time but need something else
[2013-01-26 14:30:52] <jps> Ironholds: nobody "explicitly ran through" any of that data on the mailing list
[2013-01-26 14:31:01] <sgardner> His work builds on an enormous body of literature on this topic. It's been really, really well studies.
[2013-01-26 14:31:04] <sgardner> *studies
[2013-01-26 14:31:08] <sgardner> gah, *studied
[2013-01-26 14:31:11] <jps> Dan Pink? URL?
[2013-01-26 14:31:16] <Ironholds> jps: sure; as said, it's people who have left I was talking about rather than people still here (who, we can presume, don't consider it THAT big a deal)
[2013-01-26 14:31:27] <Ironholds> (I'd argue that the underlying survey is actually going to be non-representative since it excludes contractors, but whatever.)
[2013-01-26 14:31:34] <sgardner> (Can someone find a URL for Dan? There was a really great YouTube talk, and he's written about it extensively on his blog.)
[2013-01-26 14:32:09] <sgardner> Also interestingly, Dan used to write extensively about Wikipedia, as well. Back in about 2005, he wrote one of the first really good, thorough articles about Wikipedia, for Wired magazine.)
[2013-01-26 14:32:28] <Maggie_Dennis>
[2013-01-26 14:32:44] <Ironholds> is pretty good, too, it's his RSA presentation.
[2013-01-26 14:32:46] <Ironholds> (well, adapted)
[2013-01-26 14:32:59] <Maggie_Dennis> Oh, that's a specific subpage. :)
[2013-01-26 14:33:27] <jps> Ironholds: do you think that only 40% of employees who have been with the foundation more than two think we have "extremely competent people in key places" but 80% of newcomers do is a big deal?
[2013-01-26 14:33:56] <Maggie_Dennis> See also: (Dan Pink on what motivates workers)
[2013-01-26 14:34:10] <Ironholds> jps: I think it's a big deal. But as someone who has been here for..well, 2 years is my next anniversary, actually - I'd argue it's not down to 'those people aren't competent'
[2013-01-26 14:34:18] <sgardner> Anyway, the gist of what Dan says (and a large body of social science says) is that most people, most of the time, really want to make enough money that they don't have to think about money. The literature says that complicated bonus schemes and incentive schemes don't work -- they actually encourage people to think in a self-interested way, because in effect they reward that. And they seriously *dis-incentivize* people who are intrins
[2013-01-26 14:34:19] <sgardner> ically motivated. (Intrinsically motivated in this context means "I want to be excellent at my job" or "I want to make the world a better place" rather than "I hate my job and want to buy a sailboat." In other words, intrinsically motivated people are the people we want.)
[2013-01-26 14:34:22] <sgardner> (Still writing)
[2013-01-26 14:34:49] <Ironholds> it's the invariable problem of 'we hire lots of brilliant, brilliant, individualistic people, and those people are going to have conflicting ways of solving a problem, and when two people with competing ways of solving a problem clash one walks away thinking the other is an eejit for not getting the Totally Obvious Solution'
[2013-01-26 14:35:15] <Ironholds> it doesn't say anything about either employee's competence, merely that there are some drawbacks to hiring brilliant iconoclasts. And also me.
[2013-01-26 14:35:26] <jps> Oh, Dan Pink is responsible for that RSA video? I wrote at how it would never survive an inclusion debate because it's based entirely on primary sources which are contradicted by essentially all of the secondary sources
[2013-01-26 14:36:01] <Bence> jps: have you checked out the book it is based on, I guess, it might have more content than fits into a 10 min video?
[2013-01-26 14:36:18] <Ironholds> sgardner: sorry for ruining your discussion ;p
[2013-01-26 14:36:23] <jps> there are a few secondary sources which agree with it, but they've been answered by other meta-analyses which do not
[2013-01-26 14:36:26] <sgardner> If you spend too much time, as an organization, thinking & talking about money, and setting up complicated compensation schemes, intrinsically motivated people get irritated. Because the presumption underlying those schemes is basically that nobody would work hard if they weren't going to make five more dollars. And intrinsically motivated people are offended by that supposition, plus it encourages them (and everyone) to shift into a t
[2013-01-26 14:36:27] <sgardner> ransactional mode, where they're like "I am worth more than five extra dollars. I am worth five hundred thousand extra dollars." So it ends badly -- it's bad for everyone.
[2013-01-26 14:36:30] <jps> Bence: that book is not even peer reviewed
[2013-01-26 14:36:31] <sgardner> (I am reading you now, Oliver :-))
[2013-01-26 14:37:10] <sgardner> There is lots of analysis and research supporting what Dan says. Basically all studies of incentive schemes support it :-)
[2013-01-26 14:37:20] <jorm> interesting. that explains some of my emotional responses when i'm told that I should be making a larger salary.
[2013-01-26 14:37:28] <jorm> honestly, it kind of offends me. i get irritated by it.
[2013-01-26 14:37:41] <Ironholds> hee hee
[2013-01-26 14:37:51] <Ironholds> actually, when I was hired and Erik told me his suggested salary for me, my first reaction was
[2013-01-26 14:37:54] <Ironholds> '...can I have less?'
[2013-01-26 14:38:03] <jps> sgardner: I think you are mistaken. Only primary sources support that. oh ugh I realize I posted the wrong list url above....
[2013-01-26 14:38:10] <jorm> because there's an unspoken implication that i'm not competent enough to gauge what my work is worth to me.
[2013-01-26 14:38:50] <jps> sgardner / all: has the secondary sources which all disagree with the idea that increased compensation does not motivate people
[2013-01-26 14:38:51] <sgardner> Anyway, it's slightly off-topic to my main point, which is that essentially, the Wikimedia Foundation wants to pay people enough so that they don't have to worry too much about money. They can pay their rent, they can go out to dinner, they can buy clothes and have transportation and take the occasional holiday. So that's what we're trying to do. But we will never pay people Google salaries or Facebook salaries, because we don't need t
[2013-01-26 14:38:51] <sgardner> o, and we don't think it'd be a good use of donor funds.
[2013-01-26 14:39:09] <jorm> source are not necessarily truth.
[2013-01-26 14:39:13] <Ironholds> as someone who's not getting google money, I'm cool with that.
[2013-01-26 14:39:19] <sgardner> jps: maybe I will start working on whatever WP articles relate to this. Then we can battle over sources :-)
[2013-01-26 14:39:23] <Ironholds> I think the rest of us probably are as well. Because if we weren't....we'd be at google ;p
[2013-01-26 14:39:47] <jps> is a particularly important MEDRS secondary source which shows how the belief can be harmful in a clinical context
[2013-01-26 14:39:59] <jps> ...which seems to be down... :(
[2013-01-26 14:39:59] <sgardner> Ironholds: and this is the thing, right? I think the staff who have spoken on this issue have been pretty clear about it. Money is not key to them. They don't care very much about it. I think that's consistent throughout the staff.
[2013-01-26 14:40:01] <jorm> i left a position at a company that pays top-of-scale. my title was Senior Software Engineer IV, which is an architect.
[2013-01-26 14:40:09] <jorm> i don't miss the money.
[2013-01-26 14:40:19] <jps> works
[2013-01-26 14:40:20] <sgardner> Now there is one small additional thing that I'd mention.
[2013-01-26 14:40:25] <jorm> i make enough to live on. i don't worry about it. that's all i want to worry about it: that i don't have to worry about it.
[2013-01-26 14:40:47] <Ironholds> pretty much
[2013-01-26 14:40:59] <jps> sgardner: I believe we already have discussed at length
[2013-01-26 14:41:06] <Ironholds> I think this touches on something sgardner was talking about a while back; that what really makes people effective is having fewer things to worry about.
[2013-01-26 14:41:24] <sgardner> We do do a cost-of-living increase annually at the Wikimedia Foundation. And honestly, I am concerned that the cost-of-living in the Bay Area, and particularly downtown San Francisco, is going up considerably. (Because of Twitter, Yelp, etc. expanding in SOMA and the downtown area.)
[2013-01-26 14:41:31] <Ironholds> so in that regard, as long as we're paying people enough money that they can go 'I am going to work' as opposed to 'I am going to work, and then I have to talk to my manager about a raise so I can make rent, and...' it's fine.
[2013-01-26 14:41:57] <jorm> i don't have to take small side-contracts.
[2013-01-26 14:42:04] <sgardner> So if the cost of living increases sharply, we will need to see some of that reflected in people's salaries. But that's a reasonable thing, and we track it. So if we need to adjust for that, we'll know.
[2013-01-26 14:42:05] * aude (as working on wikidata) thinks it'd be boring to go back to working for the government or some other thing
[2013-01-26 14:42:07] <jps> I don't believe people have the inclination to truly speak in their own self interest when surrounded by peers who constantly go on at length about how lack of competitive pay is some kind of a badge of honor
[2013-01-26 14:42:39] <sgardner> jps, but they could speak to HR, right? And we do staff surveys which are anonymous. It's never been mentioned in the staff surveys: I've read them all.
[2013-01-26 14:42:40] <Ironholds> jps: so, none of us are competent to judge if we're comfortable being paid as much as we are? :P
[2013-01-26 14:42:54] <sgardner> Anyway -- on to thehelpfulone's question :-)
[2013-01-26 14:42:55] <Ironholds> and the person to judge our internal comfort and satisfaction levels lives outside our head? :)
[2013-01-26 14:42:59] * Ironholds quiets
[2013-01-26 14:43:03] <Maggie_Dennis> Thehelpfulone asks, "sgardner, are we getting any additions to the Advisory Board, or is that to be released post-meeting?"
[2013-01-26 14:43:17] <sgardner> Ah, thank you Maggie :-)
[2013-01-26 14:43:30] <jps> sgardner: a survey asking age, marital status, ethnicity, gender, department, tenure, and organizational level is not an anonymous survey
[2013-01-26 14:44:20] <Prodego> depends who looks at tem
[2013-01-26 14:44:23] <Prodego> them*
[2013-01-26 14:44:33] <sgardner> I am not sure, actually, if we'll be getting any additions to the Advisory Board. It's not unusual for departing Board members to be invited to join the AB, and Matt Halprin has just left the Board, so it's possible the Board may invite him to join the AB. But mostly the purpose of that agenda item is to confirm the existing AB members. That's supposed to happen once a year, and this is the meeting where it's scheduled :-)
[2013-01-26 14:44:38] <jps> Ironholds: satisfaction score and peer appraisal score burn-out speaks to it more forcefully than anything I can say about it
[2013-01-26 14:44:43] <Maggie_Dennis> jps, the surveys to which I've responded don't look like that. :)
[2013-01-26 14:44:52] <Ironholds> satisfaction != money, necessarily.
[2013-01-26 14:45:07] <Ironholds> it could mean 'the foundation moves too slow' (which is something that has been directly heard by the culture researchers et al'
[2013-01-26 14:45:33] <Ironholds> and, again, there are many explanations for 'I question the competence of my peers' that don't involve peers being incompetent.
[2013-01-26 14:45:38] <jps> Maggie_Dennis: are you claiming that the November employee survey did not include all those demographics? Because they all appear in Gayle's unreleased slides
[2013-01-26 14:45:58] <sgardner> jps: I don't think we ask any of that -- marital status, etc. And I see the free-form comments separate from any information that might be individually identifying. But I take your point for sure, because people may not know that their confidentiality is protected, even though it is.
[2013-01-26 14:46:16] <sgardner> And our satisfaction scores were totally normal. They weren't low.
[2013-01-26 14:47:11] <Ironholds> jps: I would imagine 'gender percentages' is pretty easy for human resources to calculate regardless of survey data. they're human resources. they have files and such.
[2013-01-26 14:47:36] <Maggie_Dennis> Okay, we've gone well over time. :)
[2013-01-26 14:47:47] <sgardner> We do track a bunch of that information -- e.g., gender and tenure. But I don't remember being asked about any of that in the survey itself.
[2013-01-26 14:47:48] <jps> sgardner: I believe you are mistaken. All of those demographics are tallied on the slides Gayle showed and said last month that she would release. As for satisfaction scores, Glassdoor scores are abysmal, and that *is* anonymous. They only do email verification for people who claim to be employees
[2013-01-26 14:48:03] <sgardner> Anyway, yes Maggie you're right -- we are pretty much out of time :-)
[2013-01-26 14:48:05] <Maggie_Dennis> sgardner, thank you for staying longer to discuss additional topics.
[2013-01-26 14:48:17] <Ironholds> jps: sure, so it's a lot of ex-employees...and how many of them complained about salary?
[2013-01-26 14:48:18] <sgardner> No problem, I was happy to talk with everyone, as usual.
[2013-01-26 14:48:24] <Maggie_Dennis> And thanks to all who got up early or stayed up late or just took time out of their Saturday to hang out with us. :)
[2013-01-26 14:49:09] <Maggie_Dennis> I'll make sure that the logs of the discussion are posted on Meta.
[2013-01-26 14:49:15] <sgardner> Okay! nice to talk with you all. And if you're interested in the Board meeting agenda, keep an eye out for it to be published. I don't know who'll be doing that -- maybe Stephen Laporte or Geoff, or possibly Bishakha or Alice.
[2013-01-26 14:49:19] <jps> I also want to say that I hugely appreciate the opportunity to discuss these things, because clearly I'm not getting read on the mailing list
[2013-01-26 14:49:21] <sgardner> Probably within a few days.
[2013-01-26 14:49:44] <sgardner> Nice to speak with you too jps -- I do enjoy these talks, even when we disagree :-)
[2013-01-26 14:49:51] <sgardner> Bye folks :-)