Learning patterns/Sustaining dialogue with your community
What problem does this solve?
It’s easy to develop a distance between the community you are supporting and the staff of a chapter, especially if the chapter is devoting time to changing internal processes.
The responsibilities and processes for staff supporting volunteers often bear little relation to the end result of the work done on Wikimedia projects.
What is the solution?
To ensure there is a continuous conversation with the community about changes in processes by maintaining communication.
Things to consider
- Organize face-to-face communication: Do this with events that give the community a clear explanation of what is happening, how it is relevant to them, and also a mechanism for their input on the process to get constructive and useful feedback. You do not need to get *all* the community into the same room to achieve a positive effect.
- If you want constructive feedback, facilitate it: Present your proposed idea or change, make it clear and give relevant details. But also point out the specific areas that need criticism or discussion, and give participants the building blocks to create alternative ideas. For example, if you are proposing a committee, make it clear what forming any alternative committee would have to take into account, such as members, remit, frequency of meetings and so forth.
- Open-ended discussion is valuable, but guided and facilitated discussion is better for getting the :community personally involved in strategic decisions.
- Continue the conversation: Plan more than just one meeting, and use the feedback from one event to influence the agenda of the other.
- Post an update after each event to show any work that has been done as a result.
When to use
- When you have plans or ideas that you need community input on
- When the community feels it is not being involved in decision making in a chapter
- When you want long term input from volunteers into strategy
- "use feedback from one session to influence the agenda of the other" - very valuable. It's a good sign of continued communication to show how one event builds up to another Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 11:59, 21 August 2015 (UTC)