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Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Reports/Movement Strategy Playbook/Make clear asks of participants

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Make clear asks of participants
Participants at WikiArabia 2019 in Marrakesh

Asking for general feedback in a wide open way may seem more collaborative or inclusive — but it can often end up frustrating or failing to make the best use of your participants’ time. Be specific in your calls to action or requests for advice, and be clear about how it will impact a specific outcome or end result.

  • “Ask really clear, concrete questions, as opposed to ‘what do you think?’ Have a clear understanding of what you actually want from people. Guiding them more to the exact value they can bring. What questions / answers / feedback do you want people to bring?”

Be clear about when people want to be consulted[edit]

  • “Release early and often” is a common rule of thumb in open processes — sharing drafts in progress, releasing early prototypes, iterating and editing in the open, etc. But some audiences actually prefer to be consulted later in the process, or can get frustrated by early drafts and prototypes."
  • “There was a lot of miscommunication / false assumptions when we shared early drafts. This was surprising to us, given the way Wikipedia actually works. We tried to explain to people that this was an adaptive, iterative process. And we wanted to share early because we were worried that if we didn’t, people would think: ‘this strategy has already been set.’”
  • “[W]hen we shared things in raw, early form, people often ripped it apart. The first version of recommendations was published early -- a very early prototype. And it got met with a lot of pushback. It was almost like: ‘how dare you publish such an unready thing?’”
  • “Context and expectations matter. There was a lot of waiting between these early drafts, so people didn't take them as drafts; the amount of waiting created expectations. Whereas if you see something on meta.wikimedia.org, people bring a different expectation; they understand it’s a work in progress.”

Tools and examples for asking questions and making requests[edit]

Do you have tools, methods or ideas that you, your community or organization use for this? Add them to this section for others to see.