Talk:Communications/Wikimedia brands/2030 movement brand project/Executive statement

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Where is any legitimate decision documented, that the change is valid?[edit]

Where is the valid community decision for the change of the name? Without it the WMF has no legitimacy for such a far reaching change. The WMF is not the boss of the Wikimedia movement, but the trustee of the community. The community is the ultimate boss. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 19:51, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

@Heather (WMF): You link some pages, that you say include decisions, that made the name change fix, I can't see any valid decision in these links, that fix any name change, let alone a valid community decision, that's a conditio sine qua non for such a far reaching change.
  • In the Board minutes from 2015 the word 'Wikipedia is nowhere, nothing was decided at all about the name change.
  • In the Board minutes from 2018 the board explicitely raised the importance of being thoughtful in engaging the community, but no community engegemant whatsoever has happened since, or better, every community engagement had the clear outcome, that there is no possibility to rename it to Wikipedia.
  • In the Board minutes from 2019 Zack presented some survey. If I'm not wrong, it was the "survey" with the completely bogus numbers about support, where a clear rejection of a rename was changed by a misuse of irrelevant numbers to an acceptance. If this bogus numbers were really presented to the board, and thus the board was decieved by the team, the decision is not valid at all.
  • I have absolutely no clue how this decision came through. At that time it was clear, that the community rejects the misuse of the name WikiPedia for the Foundation by a margin of 10:1. How such an explicit anti-community decision was possible goes beyond my comprehension.
So: Where was any valid decision, that justifies the bolded sentence on the other side, that it's a fait-accompli to change the name from Wikimedia to Wikipedia. You have not linked one. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 20:27, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

Perhaps the bluntest the WMF has ever been[edit]

...that they couldn't give a fuck about what the Community thinks of a change Nosebagbear (talk) 19:58, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

+1 The same anti-wikimedian mindset, that created SuperProtect. They don't get it, that they are only our employees, not the boss. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 20:08, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
And after all they wonder, why we lost that much contributors... No respect. Why in the world sombody should give time, money and energy, yes, love, to this all? #NotMyFoundation -- Marcus Cyron (talk) 19:34, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

I am grateful that they have stopped pretending that we have any say in this process, so we can stop wasting our time engaging in it. Gamaliel (talk) 20:18, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

I wanted to leave a longer message here but I've decided it's not worth it. You just spat in the community's face. You can pat yourselves on the back. tufor (talk) 20:28, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

I took the rude word away and replaced it with XXXX. There are people who have worked, put time into this and we need to respect that like we want to be respected. I am also grateful for the statement which clarifies (wether or not I agree is another thing). It is hard to communicate efficiently with 250 000 community members and over 800 wikis, in many many languages. I am thankful that it was translated in French.Nattes à chat (talk) 20:42, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
People who have worked and put time into that are getting a nice salary, and it looks like they started to forget what the source of this salary actually is.--Ymblanter (talk) 20:46, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Heather has not communicated at all here, and meta is the central hub for such discussions. No, this whole sham was just a huge deception of the communities, they never even wanted any input that didn't fit their private POV. It was full and complete anti-community behaviour, deception, betrayal, lies, bullying, all for this useless renaming nobody outside this small group wants. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 20:50, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Please use respectful langage and avoid mentionning salary, it's quite normal for someone to get paid for a job, the result may deceive you, that does not give you the right to be so disrespectful. PLease can a sysop apply the friendly space policy, we are not on meta to read things like "You just spat in the community's face. You can pat yourselves on the back.". It makes one afraid of contributing at ALL when such behaviors are allowed. Nattes à chat (talk) 21:05, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Sorry, but the complete front page here is extremely unfriendly. It's on the surface no bad word, but the gist is aggressive rejection of the community. Such anti-community behaviour like done here by the rebranding team is not friendly, regardless of the wording. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 21:13, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
@Sänger: Unacceptable behaviour from the WMF does not excuse unacceptable behaviour from editors. That said, with the exception of the profanity used, most of the above discussion is well within the bounds of civil discussion, in my opinion. --Yair rand (talk) 21:17, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
The above discussion I perceive as overtly aggressive. It is possible to express how you feel instead of judging, and then what you need. I feel anxious about the tone and the assertions used here, it does not make me feel safe to participate in the discussion. Could you please reformulate using non violent communication and language acceptable in all cultures? Nattes à chat (talk) 21:52, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Why should your standards of “non-violent communication” dictate the borders of acceptability in this international movement? Maybe tomorrow any expression of disagreement with anything anybody from WMF said anywhere will make you feel unsafe, and should therefore be banned entirely, so that you can continue to “feel safe”?
The Foundation wants to “rebrand” themselves, and they have already decided when and how they will do it, but they know their shrewed community and expected some opposition, and therefore implemented a fake community participation process that was bogus from the beginning. It has never been the intention of WMF to honor the community consensus, and we all have been [CAUTION: SAFETY WARNING! YOU ARE LEAVING THE SAFE SPACE!! CONTINUE READING ONLY IF YOU ACCEPT BEING CONFRONTED WITH EXPRESSONS THAT MAY MAKE YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!"] lied to. Being lied to your face does not bother you, as long as it is done using decent wording? You really feel more threatended by words (written on an anonymous online platform) then by real-world actions?
La tête secouée, Troubled @sset   [ Talk ]   13:02, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
@Sänger: I echo the sentiment of Yair rand, and I will add that incivility can result in a block. We are here for civil discussion of issues, and incivility disrupts that atmosphere. Thank you for your understanding, Vermont (talk) 22:14, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
I think this kind of discussion are likely why so much people push for the universal code of conduct. --Misc (talk) 22:38, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
As I see it, the only people pushing for the UCoC are the Foundation people, who finally want to have the opportunity to get rid of anybody who expresses any kind of disagreement with their activities. Probably they are just tired of having to set up fake community participation processes now and then.
Troubled @sset   [ Talk ]   13:12, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

@Nattes à chat and Vermont: Just pointing that you seem to be scolding Sänger (at least in part) for something they have not done. The message you censored here is not from them.--- Darwin Ahoy! 23:48, 18 June 2020 (UTC) copyedited.--- Darwin Ahoy! 01:46, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

Yep; I personally have no problem with what Nosebagbear wrote, and don't believe it is uncivil. However, from my interpretation of Sänger's comments it seemed as though they were justifying incivility (and writing some borderline uncivil comments themselves), hence my message. Best, Vermont (talk) 00:29, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
I have a problem with people, who use superficially nice words for total aggressive behaviour. People, who put wrap their utter disdain of the community and usurpation of power in fluffy wording and reprimand those who show them off because of the use of language. The whole rebranding enterprise was somethimng, were the souvereigns of this movement, the communities, were left in the dark. It was planned on false assumptions, with doctored numbers to push the agenda of the few, who for to me unbeknownst reasons wanted this desperately. The community was never really involved or asked. I have asked some questions in the very first paragraph here on this talk page, that still wait for an answer. Answers from those, who push this, are something very rare over all. Some fluffy, non-descript marketing-blahblah, that can be ignored because of the lack of content, but no concrete answers. That's all in all a very anti-community, anti-wikimedian, anti-democratic behaviour, that really reminds me of the extreme bad days of SuperProtect, as the WMF declared a total war against the community. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 02:17, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Yeah... It's difficult to interpret this as anything other than "We apologize that we did not effectively communicate that we actually don't give a shit about your opinion." I could use less vitriolic language there, but I kindof feel like communicating vitriol is a bit of the point. GMGtalk 14:08, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
    • Agreed. How hard is to inform from the very beggining that a rename will happen? Not much IMHO. This is not a mistake in communicating, it's the opposite of communicating. They were even given the oportunity back in February when tufor asked for a clear "yes-or-no" reply, but they decided to remain silent. Now they're surrounded by evidence here, here and here that there's no support from the communities that this Corporation is suposed to help or support. This statement, no matter how do you dress it or embellish it, sends a clear message to all of us: the finger, with both hands. They took us for a bunch of patsies and they really belive we are. I've never seen such a contemptuous attitude. This is nauseating. Indeed, #NotMyFoundation. —MarcoAurelio (talk) 20:02, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Spinning "you told us to fuck off and we did it anyway" as not bringing people along on the journey? OK. JzG (talk) 22:48, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

Thank you...[edit]

...for clarifying the position of the Board. I've been trying to understand, through months of discussion on different Meta-Wiki pages, discussions with staff members, and reading the various documentation, why the community has been ignored every step of the way. It would have been much easier and simpler if, from the beginning, it was clarified that the Board had decided to go through with rebranding to Wikipedia regardless of community input. Vermont (talk) 20:33, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

I asked this exact question back in February, but despite pinging Heather and Zach twice and leaving messages on their talk pages I got no reply. This communications team really suck at communicating. #NotMyFoundation tufor (talk) 20:39, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
I took the rude phrase away. I think disagreement can be expressed in an elegant and respectful way. I dont like the slippery trend on our wikis to use incivility as a way to denigrate people or people's work. Nattes à chat (talk) 20:49, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Nattes à chat, doesn't this message belong in an above section? Vermont (talk) 21:25, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Nope. But I took the phrase away this time ː)Nattes à chat (talk) 21:55, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

This is not about being "unclear". WMF staff has simply lied all the time, saying that there was no point commenting on a rename from "Wikimedia Foundation" to "Wikipedia [something]" because the proposal was not even ready yet. Now, maybe they all propagated lies unintentionally, and it's possible that nobody knew what the WMF board decided because nowadays their decisions are kept secret and/or published after years, but the end result is the same and someone needs to take responsibility for it. Nemo 06:14, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

Has there ever been a charity which has treated its volunteers with greater contempt?[edit]

"when community discussions began to sway toward attempting to prevent a rebrand, we failed in clearly and consistently responding that a rebrand itself was not up for debate. " - what's gone wrong with the movements relationship with WMF that they write this, when they should have wrote: when community discussions began to sway toward attempting to prevent a rebrand, we realised we'd made a mistake......

The overwhelming near-universal consensus expressed by 500+ Wikimedia volunteers that this is unacceptable is what is not up for debate. This cannot be allowed to go ahead, and we need to think very carefully as a movement about what we want our relationship with the WMF to be. Hint: no volunteer/no project wants a relationship like this.

A serious discussion about removing fundraising banners should be considered, I think, as it seems to be the only source of leverage they allow us to have. Acather96 (talk) 20:55, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

Yeah loads. There's a reason volunteer relations are a big topic in third sector organisations. The foundation would at the very least have to try and steal the computer you are currently editing from to get into worst of the worst category.Geni (talk) 16:54, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
This is true - my anger towards their statementa above got its own discussion as to its appropriateness, and even I would never consider the WMF to be even near the worst of the worst. It's also worth bearing in mind that, just like we shouldn't be considered an amorphous mob, neither should the WMF (something I should have made clearer in my comments elsewhere) - some teams I interact with are exceptionally helpful. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:26, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
I agree, and on reflection this was an overly uncollegial response; I was very frustrated at the time writing it. I apologise for the tone. Acather96 (talk) 18:40, 23 June 2020 (UTC)

Why did WMF ask the community what they thought about the rebranding?[edit]

If WMF had already decided that a rebrand will happen, in spite of the general disagreement from the community, the only sensitive thing it should do is to stop asking which options was less worse and go ahead to do whatever it wants. At least there would be no hypocrisy. --.mau. ✉ 21:06, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

Is there a reasonable way to explain to donors why it was necessary to spend a horrendous amount of money in a process which was sort of a waste since the decision was already taken? --Civvì (talk) 21:20, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
I guess media would be interested.--Ymblanter (talk) 21:22, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Please don't. --Yair rand (talk) 21:23, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Tbh, I doubt any of this happened with an actual plan. Given the amount of contradictions in statements between various groups of the WMF, it's clear that there's been very little communication between them. Multiple times so far, the liaisons said one thing and then the Brand Director completely contradicted them, and the executive statement also contradicts the understandings expressed in recent statements by multiple board members. --Yair rand (talk) 21:23, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
Is WMF just trying to fork from itself, again? Surely is trying it's best in pissing off all the people creating contents for them, for free. Next step is spitting in the face at all the little donors that gave you from 1 to 50$ a year to rebrand "Wikimedia" into "Wikipedia"? Good move, it will help spreading free knowledge to poor countries (where you know, people could not afford any other type of knowledge) spending a couple millions dollars this way, in spite of global community opposition. --Phyrexian ɸ 21:42, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

Some questions[edit]

Heyo,

I think it's fairly clear that this hasn't best pleased many people, but I imagine that was clear from the start. I think it's important that this doesn't devolve into a shouting match, though, so I'd like to ask some specific questions, if that's okay.

  1. When did the Board decide definitively that there would be a rebrand?
  2. What was the justification behind this decision of the Board?
  3. Was the decision of the Board published previously? If it was, why was this not publicised to the community? To the best of my knowledge, the only relevant Board statement is the approval of the Brand Project, which does not (to my reading) constitute "a decision to rebrand". If it wasn't, why was it not?

Thank you, Naypta (talk) 22:35, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

Asymmetry of power[edit]

I find it problematic when the WMF staff pushes a view that they know to be controversial to the board, without a structured voice in the room to give the counter argument. The 2015 'request/decision' was actually documented as just a viewpoint of new board members, not something I would be concerned about normally. The 2018 'confirmation' (of what?) mostly reviewed a biased set of information (like a 'brand stakeholder group' consisting of WMF and WMDE staff only?) and does not mention any dissenting voices at all, against the obvious expectations. Now indeed, in the minutes of the August 2019 board meeting, it becomes clearer that this is a path they are set on - but again these are kept secret until well into 2020 and without any dissenting voices. The May 2020 resolution is vague, and does not make any acknowledgement of dissenting voices being considered. I don't just blame the staff for this, but the system as a whole - and the board as its guardian.

Can we acknowledge that the Communities are at least a Major Stakeholder? Can we agree that they have not been really consulted in a fair and unbiased way on the fundamental question? In fact, the thing that comes closest, is this Requests for Comments that was launched early 2020. I'll be the first to admit that such a RfC is highly biased towards the negative - people who agree with the perceived direction have less motivation to go there. But the consensus felt should give anyone pause - it is highly unlikely for the Wikimedia Communities to be so united in opinion. It should give enough pause to invite them to participate in a survey design that asks the tough questions. It should be sufficient to make sure that when decisions are being made, their voices are not silenced, but acknowledged. In the room where the decision happens. When the decision is made. I am not angry. I'm sad. Disappointed. And I feel ignored, and disrespected by the board, as a member of this community. This is not a matter of 'forgetting to communicate' (although that is part of how we got here). This is a matter of taking your (singlemost?) important stakeholder seriously when making decisions that impact them.

If I could suggest the WMF a way forward that I hope would at least do some justice to the dissonance (but you probably won't like it): allow a small group of volunteers some resources and let them build a counter narrative. Let them present the alternative voices, and their reasoning. Then, reconsider your decision as a board, but now actually informed with both sides of the argument. Effeietsanders (talk) 22:39, 18 June 2020 (UTC)

This is very well said, and why this is so tragic. The Foundation's main problem is that the community isn't considered a stakeholder in this process, despite the attempted identity theft of a community-run project's name. If they had considered the community, they would have more thoroughly considered names that were not Wikimedia or Wikipedia, and reported them to the board. The good news is there is still time for this process to start over, once the Foundation understands how much of a mistake it has made. This statement isn't dispositive, and doesn't have any more or less standing than any other member of the movement. (I don't understand why it wasn't posted to a talk page where it belongs.) And so the process still continues. TomDotGov (talk) 22:55, 18 June 2020 (UTC)
I would like to quickly acknowledge that a few individual board members and staff members did engage with the community, and that this probably leaked some arguments into the conversation.
However, I'd like to also point to a comment made by a board member in February 2020 in response to the RfC: "I don't think it is the time and place to ask our community as a whole about a specific opinion yet - the RfC was started way too prematurely. We should discuss the options, constraints, understand the needs of the future better, too - and for that we need data, as well as a constructive dialog. For now, having an RfC is more like a Brexit referendum - we don't know the hows and whys or solid analyses, and we're trying to jump to conclusions."
I don't know if the board itself was aware that they already made a decision on the rebranding. @Pundit: Could you clarify whether you were aware that you made such decision? I imagine there may have been a misunderstanding either by the board, or an over interpretation by the staff. Or could you perhaps clarify when you believe it would be the right time and place to ask our community for a specific opinion about using 'Wikipedia' in the branding? I don't like to drag out this conversation any further than we have to, but would like to see if we can find a joint way forward that makes sure that we can agree what the proper venue is for the community to be part of the decision.
Either way, the above still applies: I'm not aware of any unbiased but structured way in which the community opinions were considered in the underlying decision to fixate on 'Wikipedia' as the brandname and move away from variations on 'Wikimedia'. In part, we as the community are probably responsible for not properly organizing ourselves. You can add the feeling 'confused' to the list above. Effeietsanders (talk) 00:15, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
@Pundit: I'd just like to point out (as you mentioned elsewhere that you missed some pings) that this is still an open question specifically to you. Maybe you could clarify it at some point. Effeietsanders (talk) 20:02, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
@Effeietsanders:Thanks for the ping. The clarification whether I was aware of a Board decision in this regard will soon be clarified by a Board statement (already written, final touches by Nat), so I do not want to jump the gun. Pundit (talk) 20:17, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

Thank you Effe for this thoughtful and thorough discussion. You always warm my heart and remind me of why we are all in this together. Choosing the name Wikimedia in the first place, for the Foundation and the movement, was certainly an all-community affair. A lot has changed since then -- we've added many projects, WP has far outstripped all others in use and visibility, and has become a household name in a hundred languages. Now imagine that part of our movement has come to the conclusion that a) using 'Wikimedia' is no longer working, even running counter to our movement goals; and that b) we should shift back to using Wikipedia as metonym for our growing constellation of projects, aspirations, and partnerships. In that case, it seems supremely important for that group to explain this to the rest of the movement, and bring them on board such a shift.

Polls and surveys won't bring people on board. External brand advisors are hit-or-miss at the best of times, and no help in bringing people on board. So what to do?

~ We do need constructive discussion. People who are passionate in their belief of a) and b) should explain them, in their own language and way. We should focus on the central change, not possible extended / associated changes. Just convey this critical and significant change, the needs that motivate it, and what we might do about it.
~ We need some limited data, about both the merits and demerits of change as perceived by different audiences. It does not have to be excessive, but should be balanced: not just anecdotes for one of those sides, and not just responses to one type of poll.
~ We also need passion and coherence and style -- with which you can make even a brand like UGG or Smuckers or I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! shine. Spending time on committee discussion + review tends in the opposite direction, towards blandness. At that point we are just choosing the color of the chrome on the motorcycle set aside for jumping the shark. –SJ talk  03:02, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

The fundamentally weird thing about this is that Wikimedia is a bad name. The main problem is that it's too easily confused for Wikipedia. So what's the Foundation's Project Team suggest - Wikipedia, Wikipedia, and, um... Wikipedia. Which is the one word that's more easily confused with Wikipedia. So by their own standard, it's a bad name for the Foundation. The right thing for this would have been to run an RfC to let the community suggest names. Make it clear that if a name is tradmarked, it's a no-go. We'd come up with some name like WikiKnowledge, or better yet something in a language other than English, to improve our worldwide appeal.
But for some reason, this project thinks the community can't come up with ideas. And so they think the only way to get an authentic brand is to steal from the community. TomDotGov (talk) 03:10, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
TomDotGov: I've said this before elsewhere today: I don't rule out the possibility at all that the community would arrive at the same point as the Communications Team has. But you're totally right, they may also arrive at a third option. But in those cases, at least the community would feel emboldened and ownership of that decision.
SJ: I would love your approach even better. My proposal forward was already a compromise away from that, because I don't get the impression that the WMF staff (and maybe the board? Unclear.) has its heart set on becoming the Wikipedia Foundation. If there is significant support in the community for that new name compared to the status quo, then for Heaven's sake let's go with it, given the funds that have been spent on this. I am not convinced of that at all though. I do know that whatever process comes after this, it should maybe be run by a third party. Because I suppose there may be people in the community who feel that the Communications Department is not currently able to hold an unbiased view or support/run an unbiased process, given the poll designs. Effeietsanders (talk) 03:44, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
@Effeietsanders:, I’m truly sorry that you feel this way. It reflects a real disconnect between our intentions and how we are coming across that we really need to fix. I have a lot of respect for community and also for our Board. I do not believe that I or my staff pushed a view onto them; we shared with them the data we collected, including links to community discussions. In answer to an earlier question you raised, we do see our communities as major stakeholders. This is why we review our research, proposals, and conclusions with our communities so often and so publicly. It is why we invited community members to define the brand in Zoom calls, and in-person workshops at the very start of this project. It was our intention when we launched brand discussions in 2019 to hear viewpoints, and those viewpoints did have considerable impact. For instance, from direction shared in 2019, we made the outcome opt-in and paused to explore more options at several points. Participating in new branding is offered as optional to anyone else who is interested, and it will not change the names of any public wikis at all.
The decision that a change was necessary to improve our branding was made some time ago, as I understand it. The specifics of what that change might look like have evolved and have included close legal evaluation of some of the other alternatives proposed (by my team and Snøhetta in acting on community suggestions), which did narrow the field of possibilities. For instance, some proposals relied heavily on the generic term “Wiki,” and we were told that this would be difficult to defend. The trademark “Wikipedia” is already protected as well as widely recognized. The specific decision not to retain “Wikimedia” was only recently affirmed to me, but I do understand the reasons behind it, and have been part of the the detailed research on our movement brands over multiple years.
We still very much hope to invite participation in selecting the best of the options on the table and, as mentioned, offering feedback on how those options might be recombined. I understand that there is disappointment among some as to what those options are, and I am sorry that you and others as well may be feeling sad, frustrated, and confused. No decisions on this difficult topic have been made lightly, and my project team will do the best they can to make sure that your perspectives are heard. While the Board and Foundation Executive staff will make the final decision, your opinions and perspectives do matter. -ZMcCune (WMF) (talk) 07:31, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
"to make sure that your perspectives are heard" 😂 --> "we hear you, but don't talk to loud so its more easy to ignore you" ... (if WMF would really care they would see Requests for comment/Should the Foundation call itself Wikipedia - IMO its overwhelming. So don't pretend you care if you don't) ...Sicherlich Post 08:21, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
@ZMcCune (WMF): "your opinions and perspectives do matter" - How come they mater, if all you have to present us are three variations of the very option that was widely rejected in all public interactions you had/have with us, and which is directly against the 2015 suggestions recalled by the Board, increasing confusion and donor deception by dressing the Foundation with the clothes of Wikipedia, as if it was indeed the volunteer-built Encyclopedia people want to donate to? --- Darwin Ahoy! 11:20, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
@ZMcCune (WMF): "The specific decision not to retain “Wikimedia” was only recently affirmed to me." By who? All the input we're getting from Board members is that the Board has not decided to rebrand yet. See, for example, the discussion at Jimbo's talk page. I'm wondering if there are problems with communications inside the WMF. TomDotGov (talk) 12:26, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
Thanks Zack,
I honestly appreciate the work you and your colleagues do, and have a lot of respect for each individual. What I'm ranting against, is the system we created together, that resulted in this "disconnect". I don't doubt the good intentions, and that as an individual you're trying to consider input. The system somehow resulted in a situation where the community is not taken seriously because it does not dare present it with the question at the foundation of this whole issue: Is it worth changing.
There are however some conflicting signals as to when the decision that moving away from "Wikimedia" was made, and by who. While Heather talks in the past tense about this decision, and suggests it was made a long time ago - both Dariusz and you seem to suggest it has not yet been made. This together is again resulting in a disconnect: the community is being told not to discuss this, both because it's too late to discuss it (the decision was made ages ago) and because it's too early (see the quote from Pundit).
As long as there is no structured way to get opposing views presented in the room where and when the real decisions are being made - I don't think the 'system' really considers our opinions and perspectives. If it was a single opinion, you could get away with considering it in the preparation to the meeting. If it's this big a chunk of the community speaking up, it should be taken more seriously. Effeietsanders (talk) 13:27, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
@ZMcCune (WMF) and Heather (WMF): Nothing in this statement shows a real and valid decision by anyone, that a change to WikiPedia has to be done without any alternative, even if you really think a simple board vote would be enough for such far reaching decisions. Yes, there were this early presentations, were it looked that way, but that were only presentation with no decisive value whatsoever. On the other hand, you always pretended, that the community should be involved in this process, and the community has made a clear and unambiguous statement, that a use of WikiPedia for the foundation is no option at all, it did so even in the first survey, where it voted 57:12 against this renaming. So it was clear from the beginning, that this is something unwanted by the community, but you still went on with this, and you can't deliver even a sliver of evidence, that the decision was really made the way you try to tell us. And you still spout off about community involvement, while you ignore everything the community is saying. I really can't come up with your intentions, they were definitely not "working with the community", as you did the very opposite. You somehow got the impression, that a decision towards a renaming was done, but can#t deliver any prove for that. The community on the other hand has a very solid proven decision, that your unfounded renaming option is out of bounds. It really is a disconnect, and I see it between you and the reality of this grassroots movement, where there is no central deciding body.. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 13:20, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
@ZMcCune (WMF) and Heather (WMF): The trademark “Wikipedia” is already protected as well as widely recognized - Are you implying that "Wikimedia" is neither protected nor widely recognized? I don't know about protection and I really hope it is protected, indeed; as for recognition, here in Italy we struggled for years but nowadays even the press :-) knows the difference between the encyclopaedia and the movement. So this sentence of yours is true but irrelevant in this context. --.mau. ✉ 13:51, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
I don't think it's irrelevant. When you couple that with The specific decision not to retain “Wikimedia” was only recently affirmed to me, ... and the fact that their options were presumably Wiki and Wikipedia, they went with the one that is already protected ("Wikipedia"). -- Kaartic correct me, if i'm wrong 11:01, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
Of course, I'm just theorizing -- Kaartic correct me, if i'm wrong 11:07, 21 June 2020 (UTC)

Legitimacy of this decision, legitimacy of the Board[edit]

Since the Board unilaterally decided by decree and without any community consultation nor discussion to postpone this year elections and extend the 3 community elected members mandate (which was already extended by a extend it's mandate from 2 to 3 years|previous resolution) one additional year, on account of Covid-19, I wonder what is their legitimacy to face everybody now with this highly controversial and extremely divisive unilateral decision to rename the Wikimedia Foundation with a variant of "Wikipedia Foundation", in full knowledge that this is an highly stressing and consuming decision for the whole community. The pandemic was bad enough to postpone the elections, but now, with it raging on, it's OK to just throw this whole earthquake at us? And even worst, not directly and frankly, but by way of a WMF staffer? An explanation from the Board about this would be more than welcome, as soon as possible.--- Darwin Ahoy! 02:25, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

It's not clear that the Board has approved much more then exploring ideas for a rebranding - especially not the inanity that all three ideas have to include "Wikipedia". It's very important to realize that this is just another statement from a Foundation employee. Those haven't been particularly accurate in the past, so why would this one be different, just because it was inappropriately posted in mainspace rather than on a talkpage? Certainly, it seems like the board has been reluctant to say anything other than this project should, at some minimal level, proceed.
And it should - just not with a poll that can't lead to the obvious conclusion. That despite it being really difficult to find a name that doesn't include Wikipedia, the community considers the identiy theft that the Foundation's brand project team is trying to pull off unacceptable, and hence one of our parameters is that it won't happen. It's not like the number of people opposing the current path the Foundation is taken isn't going up, and it's not like the survey, in it's current form, is likely to be considered acceptable as a CentralNotice.
That being said, I think that it would be absurd for the Board to make major changes like this without first standing for election. TomDotGov (talk) 02:35, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

Regarding " the Wikimedia Foundation reserves the right to revise its name"[edit]

No, the foundation doesn't have this right. All rights, the foundation has, are delegated to it from the real superiours, the community. Without clear community consensus, the foundation cannot and must not make any changes, that are as severe as a name change. All such far reaching decisions have to be vetted by the community in some kind of RfC or such, the WMF alone has no authority to do such far reaching decisions on their own. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 05:10, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

Though I may agree with your sentiment, that's factually inaccurate. The Board of the Wikimedia Foundation does have the right to change it's name, change policy, and change basically whatever they want. To quote their bylaws, "All corporate powers shall be exercised by or under the authority of, and the business and affairs of the Foundation shall be managed under, the direction of the Board of Trustees either directly or through a written delegation of authority." Best, Vermont (talk) 06:19, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
Sure, and ISOC thought they had the powers to sell .org to the highest bidder, but in the end they didn't, probably in large part because the Attorney General of California disagreed with the sale.
I also suggest legal to re-read all the contracts signed with third-parties across the years, which are not published. I've read some and you may have some surprises. ;-) Nemo 06:29, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
So far the Board / WMF had guts to reverse bad decisions they were pushing through against the community will, even though they had perfect authority to implement these decisions. The one which went the farthest was the superprotect, it was featured prominently on the Board elections following it, and it was reversed with apologies. Taking a decision against a very clear will of the community is just not reasonable. May be we have to go through the whole cycle, with Board elections, taking off fundraising banners, subsequent reversal and apologies, but it would be much easier for the Board to stop this right now.--Ymblanter (talk) 06:45, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
This is indeed an hell of a time for putting up this war against many of the volunteers that collaborate in building this project. I'm still hoping there was some kind of misunderstanding along the chain of command, and the Board in fact never approved what Heather (WMF) stated in their name. It's outrageous that we couldn't vote for the community members because of the pandemic, and now, in the middle of the pandemic, a board that has 3 members with a temporarily extended mandate of dubious legitimacy, takes this kind of decisions of colossal proportions with a deadline inside that mandate? And with a timeline totally inside the expected pandemic timeframe, which seems to be hindering almost everything in the WMF but the Branding Team? What is this? There's no way this can be right.--- Darwin Ahoy! 11:35, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
Well, that is a well-known or well-established pattern which so far occured on every Wikimedia Foundation scandal. One member shows up, makes a statement, which the board seems to never have officially decided on. The member takes all of the shit-storm, the board never reacts, and the electable board members wonder then later, ater they all have been voted out after the next election why they fell in the communities's dislike or worse. --Matthiasb (talk) 15:14, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
My general feeling is that there is a limited right for the Wikimedia Foundation to change its name, up to the point where it increases confusion. If they wanted Wiki Movement Foundation or Wikifoundation or even something like Antiqaria Foundation, I'd be fine with that. What they shouldn't be allowed to do is to steal the identity of another portion of the movement, without that other portion of the movement's consent. I think that how the non-Wikipedia portions of the movement feel about the rebranding is also very important, and should be considered as a matter of comity. TomDotGov (talk) 15:42, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

Trumpization of Wikipedia[edit]

What we see is the Trumpization of Wikipedia. It's benefits have been stolen years ago by the WMF for their own use. They believe on the fucking marketing shit of rebranding. Which never ever in history has been successful, or at least there does not exist any proof of a successful rebranding. Every rebranding lost money, trust into the product, and customers. Only marketing agencies benefit from rebranding.

Well, what to say...? I even cannot say that I am disappointed. In fact, I expected this outcome. For years the WMF did alienate itself from the communites by doing bad things like image filter, superschutz, VE, Flow, FRAM ban, T&S. This row of WMF measures have been hurting the communities and damaging the relationship between them and the WMF. Whereas within many of the communities especially the board became a highly distrusted body.

Next month it will be 14 years I am spending time in Wikipedia, and for twelve years I am writing a considerable part of all of the articles in the German language Wikinews. As a Wikinewsian I understand the rebranding as a slap into face. Why? Because I am a Wikinewsian and rebranding Wikimedia as Wikipedia Organization means that the WMF only has interest in its cash-cow Wikipedia only and does not count on the sisterprojects. Meanwhile in reality, Wikinews might be and should be the most important project in a world of fake news and propaganda, for which even the U.S. seem to be an excellent example, with Fox and Breitbart publishing lies and the WPost and NYTimes hiding themselves behind paywalls. There is no further need to point out on the exigency of a free press in countries like Poland, Hungary, and Turkey, and many many others, where the free press is on retreat. Not talking about Belarussia, Azerbaidshan, China... But the WMF does not get it. When talking as Wikinewsian I am sure, the folks at Wikiquote, Wikisource, Wikiversity, and Wikibooks share my point of view, though the have their own specific needs.

Obviously the WMF isn't glad with the communities anymore and is looking to install another community called The Movement. In my humbled opinion Wikipedia isn't a movement. It's a place where we spend our free time like any other hobby, e.g. soccer or collecting stamps. Maybe it's time that the commnities are looking out for a new foundation.

Note: When I used the term "communiies" I was including all kind, no matter by language or sisterprojecct without claiming that each one is sharing my opinion. --Matthiasb (talk) 09:27, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

As a Wiktionarian+Wikisourcerer+Wikipedian and other projects occasionally, I can say I share your point of view on the WMF disregarding sister projects. Noé (talk) 09:49, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
Can we agree that comparing someone to Trump accomplishes the same as what is implied by w:Godwins Law? Such comparison is not really enlightening, and mostly accomplishes insult. You won't convince anyone with that. I understand the sentiment behind your message, but please: leave American politics out of it. Effeietsanders (talk) 14:16, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
I guess, to the extent that the intended meaning is "condescendingly authoritarian", then there is probably some sympathetic agreement there. GMGtalk 14:21, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
But yes, this comparison is truly enlightening. Mautpreller (talk) 18:25, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
No, Effeietsanders, we did not agree. Compare someone with Hitler would mean to compare someone with a man who is Co-responsible for the death of some dozen million human beings. To say an organization is trumpish just means, that they did not longer care for other opinions, is autocratic, undemocratic, unfair, greedy and despotic. All this fits 1:1 for the WMF. Please don't try to kill such correct critic with "Godwins Law". This is far away from this! -- Marcus Cyron (talk) 12:32, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

Some thoughts by an editor[edit]

"We", that is the active editing community at large, don't need WMF members to accept responsibility for "bad communications", but what we need instead are different behaviour and different decision making processes by the WMF.

There seems to be an inability within parts of the WMF to see the community as an integral part of the Wikipedia and its decision making processes. From my perspective the WMF is turning into an ever increasing (potentially self serving) bureaucracy with an identity crisis, probably due to the clash of corporate culture of social media enterprises and (and at times questionable fund raising optimization strategies) of various non-profit organizations on one side and an open source type community and global volunteer movement on the other. As a result the WMF seems to keep pushing things, that the community (at least in that form) neither needs nor wants, with the potential of creating a lot of disenchanted editors (at a time where WP is desperately seeking editors) and ultimately being harmful for the scope and quality of the encyclopedia.

Another way to look at it, is that the WMF needs to decide whether its priority actually lies in branding and donation optimization to support an ever growing bureaucracy or whether it lies primarily in serving and supporting the community.

Or for yet another comparison from the product world. It feels like prioritizing packaging over content or branding over engineering. While one can argue that in a profit driven market such priotizations do make some sense (at least in terms of temporary profit maximization), they make much less sense for a project like Wikipedia though. In fact many members of the community probably joined the project because it was not driven by such market rules.--Kmhkmh (talk) 15:56, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

Which is what we were saying all the time since at least the superprotect. And the problem is indeed systemic. I interacted previously with Elena and Quim, and I know that they are reasonable people who certainly appreciate the importance of the connections to the community. I am really sorry that they have to do now what they have to do. I have never interacted with Zack or Heather but I am sure they are wonderful people and qualified professionals. However, when we have collection of all these people built in into the structure, we see that the result is absolutely miserable, that really serious mistakes have been made, and that in the end of the day the system acts again as if the community is a collection of some annoying individuals who ideally would just not be there. I am sure at some point someone will quietly find another job, and then this person will be declared to be an architect of all this disaster. And this happens over and over again.--Ymblanter (talk) 16:21, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
Indeed. There are plenty of good people at the WMF, and I have more confidence in WMF's senior leadership now than at pretty much any point in the past. But still, we end up with this kind of problem. Which is part of the reason why I believe the structure is the issue. And, indeed, why the strategy recommendations ended up including significant, if gradual and slow-moving, changes to structure. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 09:03, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

This might be a small thing but[edit]

Regardless of what I think of the rebranding I do take issue with your text that this started "at the request of the board in 2015". Being an active participant of that Board meeting I did not recall that, and reading back the minutes I find that this was specifically NOT a request of the board. One (or more) of the new board members indicated that "Some of the potential goals included assisting the relationship between the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia community, addressing some technical challenges, resolving potential branding inconsistencies or confusion..."

As the minutes state: "No final decisions were made on these topics. Lila and the executive team will evaluate those ideas and make further recommendations with advice from the Chair and the Vice Chair for wider consideration at future Board meetings"

So no... at that time this was not a request from the Board. Things might very well have changed since, but then please use that as a source rather than these minutes. Jan-Bart (talk) 17:51, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

A curious reference indeed. You are right, we did not make such a request. It has been a while, but things in the air included making use of our major brands to promote and connect our less well-known ones and potentially redoing the WMF's visual brand which had extremely low logo-recognition, and had not been updated since Neolux's poll-winning design in 2003. I don't recall that extending in any sense to renaming the WMF.
You know that my primary contribution on the branding front was advocating that we spend less on the Wikimedia mark, particularly the visual one, given that we had little practical need to defend it and would likely redesign it one day! ;) Given that I was unsuccessful - we spent millions to defend it in even the smaller jurisdictions and have not yet updated it - I am particularly sad to see this deprecation.
This historical confusion about the ownership and origin of ideas and directives, worries me most about this process: it suggests that whatever the outcome, it will have no staunch and enthusiastic supporters. A change this substantive should be driven by a core group of enthusiasts excited for it, demanding it, persuading and enthusing others about it. If anyone has that joy right now about any of the proposals, I haven't seen or heard it. If we don't have that, it's actually quite risky, from a brand perspective. We are all our movement's best ambassadors, and noone is at their best when shy about using their own foundation's name. –SJ talk  19:29, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
Thank you, Jan-Bart! I agree it's not a small thing. There is no legitimacy without accountability, and providing false or misleading information about who's responsible for a decision undermines the very foundation of accountability. Nemo 19:29, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
Hello Jan-Bart, I remember Your name from other times, I would have said worse times in the relationship between the WMF and the volunteers in the projects, but I am not so sure anymore. Thank Your for Your insight, that provides some transparency and openness, that is missed too often in the communication of the WMF nowadays. --Magiers (talk) 19:43, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
It's true those notes do not indicate a request, but it was the best public item I could find and I wanted to be transparent without going into a bunch of distracting qualifiers. I was on the Communications team, Katherine was CCO at the time. We were directed by then-Executive Director Lila Tretikov to prepare and present to the Board, at the Board's request, about changing the Wikimedia brand in November, 2015. I interviewed Board members and every c-level executive at the time to prepare for the presentation. Here are the slides we presented. The Foundation did not publish presentations along with Board minutes at that time. Katherine changed that practice when she became ED, and now board presentations are published along with the Board minutes. Heather Walls (WMF) (talk) 20:14, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
Many thanks for clarifying, and for sharing those slides. I was no longer on the Board in that November meeting; that looks like a better source. And your slides make a lot of sense -- all points that remain relevant today, including the challenge of changing (or repurposing) strongly-held community identity. –SJ talk  02:54, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
Yes, thank you Heather. To others: As I mentioned in the Telegram group I am not arguing with the fact that a brand strategy is important (I am grateful that staff members are spending time on Brand strategy, as the brands of our movement are some of the most valuable assets we have). I was simply pointing out that in 2015 the board did not request a change in the branding of the Foundation (although this has been talked about a lot over the years). Honestly I do not recall the discussion on this presentation during a board session but I am with SJ that most of the contents of your presentation remains relevant five years later. Jan-Bart (talk) 06:13, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

TLDR for busy people or who hates reading a wall of text[edit]

We don't give a shit about what you say.
We will do it anyway, whatever you say, or whatever you think.
You have no say about this.
So stop complaining and follow the leadership of the Almighty board.

Seriously what the. — regards, Revi 18:29, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

I don't know, how they want to get back to "community input" for their plans regarding Strategy, UCoC and so on from here. --Magiers (talk) 19:48, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
Oh by the way, 2020's WMF somewhat reminds me of Lila Tretikov. — regards, Revi 21:51, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

The right of the WMF to choose its own name - but not Wikipedia[edit]

Let me start by saying that I have not yet decided what I think about the overall rebranding process.

But there is one thing that @Heather (WMF): said that strikes me as odd:

"Whatever the precise solution, the Wikimedia Foundation reserves the right to revise its name for strategic reasons that serve the sustainability of the movement and our shared vision."

Yes, of course you have the right to choose your own name. Nobody in his right mind is challenging this right! You have to consider many aspects of branding, like long term donor relations, like trying to attract new editors, like positioning yourself as one of the great advocates of free knowledge within the political sphere, and so on. In addition, you have to choose your name wisely, to have the biggest impact possible. If you feel like “Wikimedia” is not working for you any more, than you should definitely make a change and find a better name.

But: You want to choose a name that is already taken, a name that is simply not available to you – “Wikipedia”. It is the name of an encyclopedia, written by thousands of volunteers for the last nearly 20 years. When you rebrand the WMF into the Wikipedia Foundation, you are taking away the brand value of “Wikipedia” from the communities, which created it in the first place.

I am proud to call myself a Wikipedian. It means: “I contribute to Wikipedia, the encyclopedia.” I might or might not see myself to be part of a larger movement – but when I call myself a Wikipedian, I am explicitly referring to my contributions to the encyclopedia. If you, the WMF, are renaming yourself into the Wikipedia Foundation, you take away something from me. And you cannot do that – because the value of the Wikipedia brand is exclusively created by the people who contributed to the encyclopedia. I value the work of the WMF, and I served for five years as the ED of Wikimedia Germany. And I would have LOVED to have had the opportunity to call myself the “Executive Director of Wikipedia Germany” – but I never was that, and it took me a lot of time to understand that I can speak for Wikimedia, but not for Wikipedia. If you take away the name “Wikipedia” from the communities (and that is what you would do by naming yourself after the encyclopedia, even so it is not your intention), you could create a tsunami that you would not be able to control. Please reconsider.--Schreibvieh (talk) 20:14, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

Well put, Pavel. I recall well how much frustration the name "Wikimedia" has caused for all of us in outward-facing roles, where we would often be met with confused looks or responses like "But that's not related to Wikipedia, right?". I suggested a Wikipedia-centric branding system when I was still a volunteer Board member, but that proposal was widely rejected by those who cared to weigh in. My takeaway was that changing the brand system was not a very tractable problem, and I gave up on it.
An alternative to "Wikimedia" that a large number of folks would get excited about may well exist (my first thought was "Wiki Knowledge Foundation", but that's a bit too close to the name of another organization you once led ;-). Perhaps the answer is to finally embrace the silliness of the Wikimedia/Wikipedia naming and make it work in product and site design, logos, public comms, and so on.
While part of me would be pleased to see the organization called "Wikipedia Foundation", I am inclined to agree that the cost of such a move may be too high. I also worry that its legacy could be to increase, not decrease, confusion and frustration for those who join the movement. --Eloquence (talk) 20:58, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
Back in the days, I used to say: "let´s just mumble after "wiki" (not sure if this works in english. "Wir nuscheln nach dem Wiki....")--Schreibvieh (talk) 21:09, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
Thanks Pavel, and Erik, for weighing in; I'm glad we have your long memories still, and your perspectives. I think the moment has passed for when we were giddy about branding and rebranding and new names; and Pavel, I admire your sense of stewardship. -- phoebe | talk 02:50, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • It still communicates to the community that "we don't actually give a crap about projects besides Wikipedia". So, I mean, thanks to all you people who have donated millions of hours of time to projects that are not Wikipedia. You are at best an afterthought. GMGtalk 21:37, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Well put Pavel and Erik. Let's "finally embrace the silliness" indeed. Isn't "rule 0" of Wikipedia that it only works in practice and not in theory? (Although Elinor Ostrom wrote that when this happens maybe the theory should be fixed.) Part of the issues with "Wikimedia" are not issues at all, part are self-inflicted. The Wikimedia Foundation stopped even trying to use the "Wikimedia" brand properly about a decade ago; meanwhile, clear abuses of the "Wikipedia" brand have kept increasing and the communication of our values kept decreasing.

    The dereliction of duty in pursuing the Wikimedia Foundation's mission is so severe, that now some executives openly state they gave up on even trying to work towards it. But we were already suspecting it for a few years now, when we saw the Communications department walk further and further away from Wikimedia and free knowledge values, in many acts of ineffective communication but most visibly in its botched website migration and clumsy logo changes. Nemo 07:56, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

  • One point about this claim by the Board that they have the right to change the name of the Foundation. Yes, they have this right. I also have the right to blow out my brains & kill myself. Only doing so would devastate my wife & leave my daughters without a father. Exercising some rights without both the input & consent of others is to act selfishly, & irresponsibly; the Board deciding to change the name of the Foundation without the consent of the volunteers is as selfish an act as suicide. And one might the Board's renaming the Foundation on those grounds suicide because we know volunteers will either reduce their contributions or quit entirely, thus bringing all of the projects to a premature end. -- Llywrch (talk) 20:08, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I think what Schreibvieh is describing is a very good point. That WMF has not the same name as Wikipedia, underlines the independence of the Wikipedia communities to take their own decisions. For board/staff members of Wikimedia organisations it can be confusing that the name of the organisation is not the same as Wikipedia, but that is because the board/staff members are not the boss/CEO/etc of the Wikipedia platform, as the boss on Wikipedia is the community. In other words, it is not the name that is confusing but it is that the community is in charge of Wikipedia, and not any of the Wikimedia organisations. Romaine (talk) 04:07, 28 June 2020 (UTC)
    • @Romaine: Unfortunately, some of the WMF staff explicitly disagree on whether they are in charge of Wikipedia. --Yair rand (talk) 04:30, 29 June 2020 (UTC)
      • @Yair rand: Let's having them open their eyes, because that is since the start of Wikipedia how it works: the community decides. If they keep disagreeing on this point, Wikimedia does not sound suitable for them. Otherwise we keep having situations like the movement brand project in what it drains out the energy from the community instead that of that it energizes the community. WMF has been founded to enable the community to do their work so the community can take care of what actually matters: the content. WMF was not founded because the community wanted a CEO/boss that decides for the community. Also important to note: WMF staff cannot give orders to volunteers from the community, aka WMF is not the boss. But the community can give orders to WMF (often going via the WMF board (chosen by the community)). To summarize: the community is the boss, WMF staff is there to service the community. Over the years I got more and more the feeling that WMF staff have the idea they are not working for the community, but for the bosses inside WMF. This is I think the foundation of the many problems WMF has. I think a reorganisation of WMF is needed to have WMF become a community driven Wikimedia Foundation. Romaine (talk) 01:49, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
  • @Eloquence: Really? "I recall well how much frustration the name "Wikimedia" has caused for all of us in outward-facing roles, where we would often be met with confused looks or responses like "But that's not related to Wikipedia, right?"." Really? In all kinds of outward-facing roles I had in the past decade I never ever had anyone being confused and saying something like that. It all starts with proper communication. Of course I do not know how other volunteers and staff in outward-facing roles have experienced this, but I think this should not be an issue. But if this really would be an issue, there are two ways of dealing with this matter: 1. or WMF changes its name, or 2. the communication of WMF is adjusted. Clear communication is for WMF a problem that lasts already about 15 years! The most recent one: the rebranding of WMF. I would suggest that to fix the issue of the confusing (?) name of WMF is clear communication. Perhaps something like: Wikipedia is the platform, Wikimedia is the organisation behind it. Romaine (talk) 04:13, 28 June 2020 (UTC)

Just stop[edit]

Let's just stop. There is just too much wrong with this whole situation.

  1. The WMF does not have the authority to rename itself "Wikipedia" against the wishes of the community. Someone might object that I do not properly understand the legal position - the WMF owns the trademarks and can legally do what it wants. If someone raised that objection, I would tell them that they might understand the legal position, but they don't understand anything about how the Wikimedia movement actually works.
  2. This whole statement really doesn't engage with the community participation from the 444 - last time I looked - volunteers who have gone to the unofficial RFC and said "just no, don't change your name to Wikipedia".
  3. Any credibility that this whole project had with much of the community has been undermined by the way it's been conducted. There was the point last year where we were told that because 57 people of 10,000 people who had viewed a page, there was 0.5% level of opposition - then I was sceptical. Now we've spent 6 months holding consultations and workshops on the pretence that switching to "Wikipedia" was not in fact predetermined, and now we hear that it was predetermined some years ago.
  4. Neither of the proposed names are actually any good. I have not encountered a single person inspired or energised by them. I have however encountered a lot of people holding their tongues because they don't want to rock the boat (which is a common feature of what happens when teh WMF is about to make a mistake...)
  5. No-one has addressed the actual problems of including "Wikipedia" in the WMF's brand. They are, so far as I can see:
    The fact that Wikipedia volunteers (or at least a large number of the more active ones) appear to prefer to maintain a distinction between the projects and the supporting organisations.
    That non-Wikipedia editors do not want it implied that the projects they contribute to are less important.
    That many Wikimedia organisations have some concerns about being too closely identified with Wikipedias, for legal reasons.
    No-one's done anything to try to solve any of these problems, except by making bits of the core proposal optional which will result in a confusing mish-mash of different names and inconsistent trademark uses.
  6. We're left in a position where it seems the WMF is saying "actually, we don't care what feedback we're getting, we're going to go ahead with something despite clear opposition from the community. And we can, because we hold the legal power to do so." Every time that I've seen the WMF force through a change despite this level of opposition, it's ended in tears. Don't do it again.

Regards, Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 21:41, 19 June 2020 (UTC)

I agree with Chris.--Schreibvieh (talk) 21:44, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
Great statements in the two above sections by Pavel and Chris. If rational arguments do not work (not for the first time), at least the history should teach us something.--Ymblanter (talk) 21:48, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
+1 Effeietsanders (talk) 21:54, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
I also totally agree. Érico (talk) 22:27, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I'll...I'll say this an then I'm off. I've got pings I haven't responded to yet, and I'm not really in a great place to even ground-level in-the-trenches edit a whole lot given the whole world ending plague thing.
I'm not saying this is correct, and I apologize for using expletives, but it's difficult to see this as something other than the Foundation hiring a consultant to find out how can we get more goddamn money.
I don't like to pull user right cards. I don't claim any of my user rights on other projects except for here on Meta where is seems relevant. But as someone who is an admin on Commons and a crat on the English Wikiquote, this just looks like (apologies again) "Fuck you. You don't make us any money." GMGtalk 22:36, 19 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I'm with Chris, completely. I'd only add that we are on the edge of a black hole, from which whatever falls into the hole will never come back. Trust in the Foundation, first of all, and the energy to keep on volunteering in "its" Projects immediately after. Wikipedians, just like users in other Projects, thought they were called to have a say in this business. As usual in wiki contexts. As natural in wiki. But something in some passages of this manoeuvre didn't sound clear to many. So they asked. Users asked, as usual - or should I say, they dared to ask. At first they asked politely. Then they asked more clearly. The answer came only yesterday. 4 months after. In the meanwhile the process kept on running; but with an unanswered question. An answer came, yesterday, and the best was yet to come, because immediately after, some of the the "explainations" were followed by denials that anywhere else would have been seen as embarrassing.
    Now, users might at times have an optimistic idea about their [volunteer] work, might perhaps be not always as humble as the Wikiquette recommends us, but there is something they did, and they did it because they are Wikipedians (or other WikiColleagues): they presumed good faith. And they continued to imagine a world, here in wiki contexts, in which consensus is important, communities matter, users are respected.
    In a wikipedian state of mind, I ought to conclude that no sources could today confirm that their imagination was right; and no facts would, as well. Users here aren't worth an answer to a clear question, at least in a reasonable time; rather, they are kept losing time and dignity into a discussion that someone knows that will not be considered at all. It's easy to win when your opponent presumes you good faith, it's not at all a score if you "win" in such a display. In military terms it would be the conquer of a monastery, of a nunnery. Clever. But users didn't know that there was anything to win. And no one told them. The gentle possible interpretation is that users are considered not sufficiently intelligent to understand the importance of the move, so no need to explain (I would have never bet that one day I would have found such a deep knowledge of Wittgenstein in smart marketers). In Wikipedia we do grant the utmost respect even to the youngest newbie coming to help, maybe this is part of the reason why you now want Wikipedia's name, and not another one, because Wikipedia respects anyone and this grants us an unexpected respect when we go presenting it to Parliaments and universities, institutions and media. Yes, they know Wikipedia, they are not interested in anything else. They donate to Wikipedia, what an astute discovery you made. Yet the affair couldn't be explained to veteran Wikipedians, they wouldn't understand. We are not so keen, indeed, we are not prepared to such a sophisticated communication, true; sophisticated professionals can deal with that. For instance, one in the Community Relations should; yet he was asking, this afternoon, for a mediation in something which is the ordinary trouble we cope with every day in Wikipedia in nervous discussions. A communicator at the highest levels in our system asking for a mediation! This is for the superiority tones that pretty anyone here is showing towards the community.
    Ok, we take all these lessons of style. But this is not the point. The point is that now we are on that famous edge of the hole. I do believe that now the Board - not the Staff - will have to say something very short and very clear. The Board is going to stop it or the Board isn't going to stop it. In a reasonable time, please, because now the silence will really mean NO.
    In case of a negative answer, I do believe that the next steps would imply, as an unavoidable consequence, a reflection within and among the communities about the good and the bad of an eventual hypothesis of separation of the infrastructure (servers, domains, etc) from the other activities of the Foundation. Seems like a lose-lose scheme, but its' not because of the communities. They would be eager to be WITH the Foundation in next January to celebrate 20 years of a dream come true. Communities WILL celebrate. Here or somewhere else.
    Now it's up to the Board: will you stop it? --g (talk) 01:34, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I’m absolutely with Chris and with g: this is enough, I feel truly mocked. Ferdi2005[Mail] 07:22, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • +1 Well put Chris. Multichill (talk) 10:17, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • +1 to both as well 'though I don't think it helps anyhow, as the WMF never used the skill of listening to the community. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 10:24, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • --Perfectly expressed. Point #3 is the aspect of this I find the most damning. Acather96 (talk) 10:45, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • +1. I suppose it's simply a communication problem that for over six months 500+ editors who engaged in thoughtful discussion on rebranding were led to believe that their work mattered. Vermont (talk) 15:00, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • +1. Well said. --Mdaniels5757 (talk) 15:25, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • +1. Completely agree. Lepricavark (talk) 19:40, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • +1. Well articulated and well put. -- Kaartic correct me, if i'm wrong 10:33, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
  • +1. --Mautpreller (talk) 14:13, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
  • +1 I agree with everything said here and I fear that this goes quite lot farther when I look at the other ill-conceived 2030 projects. It's strange how some parts of the foundation just don't get the projects they supposedly support. --Millbart (talk) 17:32, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
  • +1. --Pafsanias (talk) 18:04, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
  • +1. —MarcoAurelio (talk) 21:15, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
  • +1. --Novak Watchmen (talk) 18:35, 24 June 2020 (UTC)

Some further thoughts[edit]

Thanks for all the positive reactions. I have had some more thoughts, which may be helpful to share as well.

First, I want to acknowledge that this is a difficult issue--because from one perspective, using the name Wikipedia is obviously the right answer. Perhaps unlike most Wikimedians, I work in charity fundraising and get involved in discussions about branding, so approach this from a professional perspective as well. There is genuinely a big benefit to having a clear, recognisable brand - in marketing language it would increase your 'brand equity', ie the usefulness of the brand to the organisation. So why wouldn't you associate the WMF with the main project it works with? There are good reasons why (for instance) The Imperial Cancer Research Fund became Cancer Research UK.

However, it's the more volunteer-driven an organisation is, the more the 'social capital' within the organisation (or movement) becomes important compared to the brand equity. This makes difficult it is to change names, at least quickly. This is in part because volunteers are diffuse and often conservative in their views - they expect to be consulted, and are often happy that if something works for them then it must works for everyone else. But that's not the only reason. It's because for a really committed volunteer, the organisation is part of their identity and who they are as a person. It has a deep personal impact on them. We are fortunate to have very, very many committed volunteers. However this isn't unique. A good 50% of the places I've worked have had brand people who wanted to change the brand, but could never get buy in from members, volunteers, or alumni. And some of them had bigger problems, from a technical brand perspective, than we do. Take King's College London, for instance, a university which wanted to get rid of the word "College" because it wasn't just unhelpful but actively misleading.

So what's the way forward?

There are plenty of organisations that retain a name but communicate more than the name. Take CLIC Sargent for instance. What's a CLIC Sargent? You don't really need to know; if you look at their logo, their brand identity still communicates exactly what they do, very well. There are plenty of other examples, some great, some moderate and plenty of poor ones too, but it is possible to do very well. That is probably what the WMF *should* be looking at. How can you increase the prominence of Wikipedia in the WMF's branding, without upsetting the whole apple cart of changing the name, and also communicate whichever creative concept has come out of the branding work so far? Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 18:03, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

I can answer your last question with about three seconds thought; keep the names of everything unchanged, but use variations on the Wikipedia death star as the logo for every project, group, movement, foundaton etc. That way it instantly communicates "this site is in some way connected to Wikipedia", but allows each part of the movement to keep its unique identity without feeling subsumed into Greater Wikipedia. Iridescent (talk) 19:50, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
I like this approach, Iridescent. It's easy to include other logo concepts inside the fully operational puzzle-star. –SJ talk  17:17, 24 June 2020 (UTC)
Yes. There are many ways this could be done and back in March 2019 we suggested that the WMF look into how large orgs run big brand portfolios, but apparently that was never done. Nemo 07:16, 25 June 2020 (UTC)
I've always thought the W from the Wikipedia favoicon would be a good thing to exploit as part of movement branding. I'm glad that we're finally getting to have this conversation on-wiki, rather than limiting branding thoughts to small groups. TomDotGov (talk) 20:03, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
@TomDotGov: "W from the Wikipedia favoicon would be a good thing to exploit as part of movement branding" - Seen from a non-Latin writing system, this does not look like a working global idea. --Kaganer (talk) 20:48, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
@Kaganer: Maybe we're a bit too early to have this discussion, but I'm looking at the specialty logo at ko:위키백과:대문, and when they colored out the puzzle squares, they left the favicon-W. TomDotGov (talk) 10:43, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
@TomDotGov: This is for a long complicated discussion. Not for now. Now - as if not to fight. Or maybe just time for a revolution? --Kaganer (talk) 19:49, 21 June 2020 (UTC)

Wrong solution to the right problem[edit]

I was one of the people who was interviewed in 2016 by comm team and I stand by everything I said, "Wikimedia" is unfamiliar to people and I used "Wikipedia" to describe my work (for example in interview for visa for the conference I went to and gave the aforementioned interview) and I still do (while I admit, it's not as bad in Germany as it was in Iran, maybe it's the work of WMDE, I don't know.). Everyone knows Wikipedia while barely anyone knows Wikimedia and that's a big problem. "Wiki" as the umbrella term is not good, aren't you tired of telling people "Wikileaks" is not related to Wikipedia at all? That's why when I first read the proposals (and the other ones, I follow the rebranding project and tried to give my feedback as much as possible), I was like "sure" but the more I thought about it and the more I read arguments, the more I got convinced renaming anything to Wikipedia is not a good idea. What Chris said in #Just stop sums it up perfectly.

I think renaming things to "Wikipedia" to give them more recognition is more a quick and dirty solution to a hard problem. The right thing is to increase awareness about "Wikimedia" (I just checked, the button on bottom of pages that says it's "a Wikimedia project" is only 80px and hasn't been refined for years, why this hasn't picked up?), neither the Wikipedia app nor the mobile frontend mention "Wikimedia" at all while the majority of our traffic comes from mobile. Why? You can add a small tooltip or note close to sidebar saying "A Wikimedia Project" and so many more work that would help. For example, "Alphabet", Once google announced it, instantly everyone learned the new brand (even though they haven't tried to advertise the brand at all) but why we haven't achieved the same with Wikimedia in the past 15 years? What's the reason? Amir (talk) 00:11, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

That point is not disputed at all. I'd argue pretty much any editor is aware of that, but they nevertheles do not want that name change. This is because they do not rate the (improved) name recognition for the WMF as important enough, in particular when it comes with a lot of drawbacks (from the community's perspective). Or to put it this way: The name change is "better" for the WMF but "worse" for the community and it is the blatant disregard for the community's interest that pisses off so many editors.--Kmhkmh (talk) 00:29, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
Absolutely, kmhkmh's comment is spot on. If they'd lead out their needs to change, asked the meta community for some ideas with support, they'd picked three of those that worked for the WMF brand and legal-wise and then ran on the survey on those and a status quo, I think we'd be in a decent position. Nosebagbear (talk) 16:37, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
"but why we haven't achieved the same with Wikimedia in the past 15 years? What's the reason?" Simple: poor communication. Not only outwards, but also inwards towards the community. Too often it is assumed the people to which is communicated is known with the subject, while often this is not the case. This specific issue lasts already for more than 15 years and (almost) nothing is done about it.
A second thing that to be is an issue is the big gap between WMF and the rest of the moved (even while there are good exceptions). In the past decade I have asked many people in the movement if WMF is part of the Wikimedia community. Many users from the projects said no to this question, many others are not sure about this. Over the past 15 years WMF has alienated itself from the community that creates the content. This is due terrible communication, the way of working, a lack of respect, having a bad attitude, not serving the community but just serving WMF itself (suboptimization), and so on. (And yes there are also great staff members who do the opposite of this and try to help the community/movement the best way wherever they can.) Does WMF represent the Wikimedia community? Legally yes, for the rest: no, I don't think so, sorry. I wish WMF would go through a full reorganisation in such way they are deeply rooted in the communities and close to them, in love and support for them. Romaine (talk) 04:47, 28 June 2020 (UTC)
Does WMF as such even do any communication at all any more? In 2018 blog.wikimedia.org was closed and there are only 4 blog posts by WMF in the last 6 months, all of which are corporate-style announcements. On social media, @Wikipedia serves you kittens (meaning, nutritionless clickbaity content) and @Wikimedia press clippings. Then there are individual employees attempting to make up for the lack of any communication strategy by running individual or team-level communication channels. Nemo 06:24, 29 June 2020 (UTC)
When groups of people work together, communication is essential. If communication is stopped, it is just a matter of time until the organisation collapses or big problems will appear. Romaine (talk) 01:56, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
So the WMF does do things like the clinics, which do lead to good discussions. But they're inherently flawed that if even an extra 20 people showed up, they'd become much more inefficient. I would like more blog posts, not to mention more up to date reports (as someone who actually reads them, I prefer clear data). Single channel communication is never sufficient. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:22, 2 July 2020 (UTC)

A call for Board statements, and disappointment[edit]

As a former member of the Board of Trustees, I would like to call on members of the current Board to weigh in: if this was decided by the Board, current members need to state what was decided and when. It is unclear from the public record of minutes and decisions. This is a Board-level decision: the Board are entrusted with the stewardship and fiscal responsibility of the Foundation. That grave responsibility includes, without a doubt, something as major as a name change, and particularly a name change that will cost a great deal both in money and in volunteer time, and has such far-flung implications. I would ask our community trustees @NTymkiv (WMF):, @Shani (WMF):, @Doc James:, @Raystorm: and @Pundit: to comment in particular. This may be uncomfortable, but leadership at the highest levels is in this case needed, from our community: not from a brand agency on a commission.

As an individual editor and as someone who has done a great deal of outreach about both the Wikimedia movement and our many projects over the last fifteen years (including co-authorship of a book; speaking on five continents about the projects; organizing dozens and dozens of community conferences and outreach events, including many Wikimanias; personally bringing in and training hundreds of new editors; and helping build the network of librarians that contributes to Wikipedia throughout the world), I am profoundly and completely disappointed in the slip-shod research and methodology and air of foregone conclusion that has gone into this years-long process, for changes that I would argue no one in our movement is passionate about (but only tolerant of at best, and disgusted by at worst).

To argue that changing the Wikimedia brand will assist with outreach and new contributors implies the positioning of the Wikimedia brand and the Foundation in the center of our movement in a way that is inaccurate, full of hubris, and damaging to the good will and good faith of the volunteers who spend their nights and weekends making Wikipedia, and our other projects, the household name that they are. To argue that Wikipedia is the limit of our ambitions and our only core identity is insulting and dismissive to the thousands of editors who join Wikidata and Commons every day. It is an unnecessary change, and an undesirable one, and I am ashamed of us. As a community, and as a Foundation, we should take our research, and look at it with the neutral, clear eyes for the truth that we stake our reputations on. The results of all the research that has been done shows there to be little community support for this, that the results are muddled at best, and that we are a unique community that is not amenable to traditional market research and theories. The cost of a name change to our movement is huge; the benefits vague and untested at best. I would be willing to go along with a name change, even though I personally think it's the wrong move, if there was clear evidence that it would be helpful to our communities and our work. But there simply is not, and I fear that if our WMF leadership cannot recognize this that they are poor stewards of our true brand: that we are a community that believes in clear-eyed facts, good communication, consensus-driven decision making, and a willingness to change one's mind in the face of evidence. I would ask that the leadership, including @Katherine (WMF):, Ryan Merkley, and @Heather (WMF): reconsider by pausing this process, taking another look at the risks, benefits and comments gathered so far, and not hang our progress towards 2030 on this divisive -- and ultimately I fear ineffective -- issue. Let us spend our time, energy and money telling people what we believe in, and why we believe it: a goal that goes far beyond Wikipedia itself. -- phoebe | talk 02:35, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

And here comes the next former Board member: Yesterday I reached out to Maria, Nat and Dariusz to share my concerns especially with regards to transparency. I strongly believe that transparency is essential to create and retain trust and to demonstrate good leadership. Resolutions are the tools boards use to do this. It makes me sad when I read resolutions like that about affirming the support for the branding project from May 20 in the light of this statement. The resolution now reads like misleading information by purpose. If the board already has decided that a renaming will take place, why don’t you tell it in clear words?
It hurts to see that a communication strategy again does not work with the community, but even more it hurts to see that this kind of calculated intransparent communication made it into publishing solutions. This is the place where the board can present their capacities and wisdom and leadership. And I still believe that the WMF board acts in a model role for our movement to some degree. Be better than other boards. Be honest and respectful. You can!
I said it more than once during my time on the WMF Board: Clarity is key. Especially in an international movement with different cultures it is essential to be honest without disguise. And this all is anything but clear. Please change that, and please stop the process, reflect and reconsider as Chris said above. Alice Wiegand (talk) 08:41, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
Thank you all. Just a quick note that the board is following and is working on a statement. Thank you for your patience. Shani (WMF) (talk) 09:29, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • @Phoebe: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. A statement from the Board is forthcoming to clarify some misunderstandings in communication. I don't want to step out of line, so I'll only share one personal reflection: for some reason a discussion about Wikimedia brand conflated the movement naming conventions with organizational naming conventions. The latter (including the formal names the affiliates choose for themselves) is clearly a discussion that should be held separate from projects and the movement naming and branding. Pundit (talk) 12:01, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • @Pundit: If you believe that the community's primary issue is the continued ability of a chapter to call itself "Wikimedia France" while affiliating with the "Wikipedia Foundation", you have misread the situation greatly. It's not clear if this is what you meant, but if this is what the board is planning to clarify with its statement, please know that this is not the crux of the matter.--Pharos (talk) 14:17, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • @Pundit: It is very important that the Board understand that the proposed taking of Wikipedia to name things other than the encyclopedia project is not simply an organizational naming convention. You've said things like this multiple times, and I wonder if the Board was misinformed either to the contents of the naming convention proposals, or the depth of community opposition to such a renaming - which has never been less than 2:1, and is now so large it is hard to measure any support. TomDotGov (talk) 12:08, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • To be clear: what I'm saying is that we SHOULD be having separate conversations, not that we're super precise in making distinctions right now. Because of the movement strategy planning and discussions which were held in parallel these issues were conflated, and they shouldn't. We should talk about organizational names, and we should talk about the movement AND project naming conventions, but the community's decisive voice in these does not have to be the same, and also these names do not have to be the same. Honestly, if there is an affiliate that for whatever reason does not want to use Wikimedia in the name, why should the community force them to? However, I personally can't imagine a situation where a name is forced on a movement or a project community against their fierce opposition. Instead of trying to solve all names at once we should be clear about separate threads, as they pertain to different contexts, situations, and needs. Pundit (talk) 12:21, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
Actual Project scope of 2030 Movement Brand Project.jpg
  • @Pundit: I've prepared a graphic showing how I think the community sees the naming proposals that the Wikimedia Foundation's Brand Project team produced. The Foundation proposes diluting of the identity of Wikipedia to cover things that are not encyclopedia projects. That both affects the trust that has been built in Wikipedia, and neglects the other projects. I believe that while support for the expense of branding may be tepid, the real opposition is from the way that all three naming schemes involve the use of "Wikipedia" for the Foundation.
Any board statement needs to directly address the question the RfC asked: "Is it acceptable for the Foundation to use the name Wikipedia to refer to itself?" TomDotGov (talk) 12:39, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
Please do not also forget that affiliates have membership, and members decide on the name (within legally permitted bounds). WMF does not have membership. Concerning the Board statement, may be we should just wait for it. By now we have all indications that it is forthcoming, and that the Board members are aware of this page.Ymblanter (talk) 12:46, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
I don't like the try to seperate the discussion of organization name and movement name, when in reality the "movement" is a construction, that was invented from the organization to suggest a fellowship under their lead and name. There are very diverse people working in the projects. What they identify with is their project, its rules and its name, not a fictive "Wikimedia movement". Every disctinction between "movement name" and "organization name" (especially when the result should be: communities have only a say at the first, not the latter) is blurring the real problem, that the RfC adressed: "Is it acceptable for the Foundation to use the name Wikipedia to refer to itself?" --Magiers (talk) 13:56, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
Dear @Pundit:, thank you for your thoughts, but respectfully I disagree. I think we are all quite clear on naming of the organization versus affiliates versus projects. However, the organization (by which I assume you mean the WMF, or perhaps the affiliates) is not a private organization unconnected to our work. The WMF hosts our projects, collects our fundraising, makes forays into public policy, and does much other good work. This, in fact, is the argument *for* changing the name: that the organization is tightly coupled to our outreach and public image of our projects. While I disagree with this part of the analysis -- I don't think the name of our Foundation is relevant for new contributors -- I and everyone else here does care what the organization is called. (I think this in part because of my experience as a community organizer and as someone who does outreach, daily, to new contributors: new editors are focused on the thin slice of the project they want to contribute to, and new donors and partners who want an institutional relationship are happy to have a longer conversation, negating the cocktail-party-confusion end of the argument for changing the name. Put another way: my usergroup's problems in doing outreach are unrelated to our name, but instead are 100% related to limited volunteer time and ability, which won't be improved by spending time dealing with a name change). Please read Pavel's comment above, where he speaks eloquently about stewarding (one of our organizations) versus the project. To argue that the names for the movement, Foundation, affiliates and projects might all somehow end up being different is to argue for less consistency, more confusion, and I think undermines the entire argument that has been put forward for a name change. -- phoebe | talk 14:42, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
You seem to be ardently advocating for forcing all organizations in the movement to stick to one naming convention. While I agree it provides more consistency, it very clearly is super authoritarian and provides literally zero flexibility, much needed in many contexts (fundraising being just one of them). The movement organizations (including the WMF, but not just the Foundation) are closely connected with the movement, and closely connected with the projects. However, insisting that they all HAVE TO use the same naming convention and that the Meta English-speaking representation of the community has to have an ultimate veto power over all naming conventions in all three areas is something I'm definitely not sold at. However, I surely agree with your other point (in a separate paragraph) that this particular decision, unlike many in the past, is difficult to reverse, and requires a very careful thinking over. Pundit (talk) 18:00, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
@Pundit: It seems you see this as a theoretical discussion about whether an organization (be it a user group, the WMF, or a chapter) is allowed to change its name or if Phoebe wants to force any of these organizations to stick to one particular name. Well, it is not a theoretical discussion. This is much more concrete than that. It is about whether the Wikimedia Foundation should call itself the Wikipedia Foundation. For reasons that have been discussed at length on this page and on many others, for many years, by many people, me included, believe this is not a good idea.
Not because I do not recognize how much easier the work of the WMF would be if it called itself the Wikipedia Foundation. I am against it, because the Wikimedia Foundation simply is not the Wikipedia Foundation. You cannot force yourself to become the Wikipedia Foundation by using the name. The name is taken. End of story.
I used to run Wikimedia Germany. And my life would have been so much easier if I could have called myself the Executive Director of Wikipedia Germany. Every conversation with funders, museum directors, politicians (and with my mom and dad), I had to start by explaining what Wikimedia is, and how Wikimedia is related to Wikipedia. Oh, how they would have looked at me if I had called myself the Executive Director of Wikipedia Germany. However, it would have been a fraud, because the Executive Director of the German chapter simply is not the Executive Director of Wikipedia Germany. And the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation cannot be the Executive Director of Wikipedia or the Wikipedia Foundation. This is what this is all about.--Schreibvieh (talk) 18:58, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
"Wikipedia Germany" would clearly carry a connotation of de.wikipedia.org website, but if you called yourself "Wikipedia Germany Association" director, I don't think it would be as problematic, just saying. Pundit (talk) 20:19, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
But there is no such thing as the "Wikipedia Germany Association". There is Wikimedia Germany, with the mission to promote free knowledge. And there is the German (language) Wikipedia, which is writing the encyclopedia. These are two very different entities with very different membership, mission, etc..--Schreibvieh (talk) 20:37, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
to quote from the project page itself, "The proposed movement brand will consist of a naming convention and design system for the movement, affiliates and the Foundation....Branding should reduce confusion about the distinction between organizations and projects, clearly identifying what roles platforms, volunteers, affiliates, and the Foundation play in the movement." It is difficult for me to imagine how the options identified in the survey do this; or, on a meta level, regardless of name, how having many brands and different names as you seem to be indicating could be an approved outcome will help with these criteria. -- phoebe | talk 18:34, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
@Phoebe: (apologies for a missed notification previously) yes, here we're in agreement, the distinction between the three choices is not clear , the brand project is even presented as a unifying effort. What I'm saying instead is that I see these things as separate decisions (even if the outcome is one name for all). Pundit (talk) 18:37, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

@Shani (WMF), Pundit: No more PR statements! Instead stop the renaming process immediately! The community is almost completely against it. It is not up to the Foundation to ignore the community! Chaddy (talk) 15:03, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

Pundit, thanks for joining the discussion. Just a reminder that people need not be forced to use the name "Wikimedia". The Wikimedia Foundation forced them not to, in a very controversial decision. Nemo 18:48, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
Nemo If I were a member at the time, I would've voted against. Pundit (talk) 18:59, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
Pundit, good to know. Nobody can return us 7 wasted years, but as long as you're in the board you can still help by reversing that decision. The board can repeal the criteria and direct the WMF staff to help AffCom with recruitment, community building and assessment. Nemo 07:32, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
Hello, allow me to share my impression that it is difficult to read from the former Board resolutions that an exact solution has been supported or approved. Maybe it is a good idea to take some time and reconsider the process with regard to inner movement relationships. There is no actual hurry to change the brand. Best regards, Ziko (talk) 15:36, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
Ziko, even if I personally agree with you, no individual voice on the board matters on its own. We need to collectively agree on next steps, and as I wrote earlier, we are working on it. Chaddy, while I appreciate your passion and care for the topic, I don't appreciate the tone. Shouting or commanding people, any people, to progress, never helps them get where they need to be more quickly. Please, let's make an effort to keep it civil. Shani (WMF) (talk) 15:57, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
Hello Shani (WMF), I don't disagree, I did not ask for indivudual voices. A collective, authorative response is useful here. I do agree also that we should try to remain civil. Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem. Ziko (talk) 16:36, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
It's not me that startet this tone. It's the Foundation that did by completely ignoring the opionion of the community while stating that the opionion of the community would be so important. And furthermore now the Foundation says that it was a misunderstanding if the community thought it could participate in the opinion making process; rather the renaming would already have been decided and it would have never been in discussion that the Foundation would adopt the name "Wikipedia". If the Foundation treats us this way it is no surprise that we are pissed.
And by the way there is a clear mandate by the community (Requests for comment/Should the Foundation call itself Wikipedia) and another clear one is in the process (Communications/Wikimedia brands/2030 movement brand project/Community feedback and straw poll). Thus it is not wrong to "command" the Foundation to do what the community has decided. Chaddy (talk) 17:00, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
+1. Shani (WMF), first, it was Heather who set the tone. What is written in bold on the front page is hurting each and every member of the communites, and each and every user having contributed to the 2030 debates. IMHO the statement is a darned cheek, if you will pardon the expression. Second, you'll have to acccept that this is a multi-cultural an multi-language community. There are people discussing in their mother language and there are people contributing in English in very different levels. Some are fluently, some are trying hardly using dictionaries and babelfish. Yet expressions have several meanings, which do not necessarily have responding connotations. Further, there are false friends and other difficulties. Third, discussion culture is different in different cultures. Whereas an Englishman would say, "Oh, sounds good, but I am not totally happy yet with your idea", a German rightout will say: "Your idea is bad", at least. By the way, in german language an exclaimation mark does not necessarily means shouting. Mostly it is just an emphasize of the contents of a sentence. Alltogether this are the basics on which dicussions in Wikipedia, Commons, and here on Meta are working for almost two decades.
However, the whole discussion or, coming closer to the core of this mess, is sourced in the issue, that neither the board nor other officials in the WM did catch the fact, that it are they working for the communities and not the other way around. It are the users creating the content from which the foundation gains the money to provide the servers and, much more money for paying the WMF salaries. That the WMF and the board should bear in mind before starting such an unnecessary conflict with the communities. When it comes to the board, it needs much, much more modesty when dealing with the communities, especially on the name 'Wikipedia'. Thank ou for your appreciation. --Matthiasb (talk) 18:13, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
I disagree that the board members should limit themselves to one single unified voice: this was supposedly a unanimous decision by the board, so in that case it would be helpful to get a better sense of what motivated you. Maybe that gets some people rallied around the idea that maybe there was a fair and honestly brokered process. I understand the frustration that a "PR statement" just rephrasing Heather's statement with a different signature, would be unhelpful - but that makes a big assumption on the contents of that statement. At this point, it is more important that we find a constructive way forward. I don't want to spend a minute longer on this discussion than I have to.
I also feel that I do have to echo that we need to be more civil. At least my goal is to get out of this mess, and not to tear someone, a department or an organization to pieces. For that, one group needs to convince another group, or we need to find some kind of process to make that happen. Personal attacks don't help foster a solution. Most if not all of the people involved in this process are people of good will, and people who really mean the best for our movement, our ideals and wikiXedia (thank you, whomever I stole this from). And I'm sure that they will feel the same way about us. Lets not try to disrespect people in the name of being right. Even when you feel disempowered. Effeietsanders (talk) 17:31, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
Hi Effeietsanders, I admire your good faith. I could agree up to a certain point: the advocates of rebranding are not evil. However, the goals they pursue are not the goals of a huge majority of the project participants. There is a controversy between the organization WMF and the huge majority of the volunteers of all projects. I am sure that the Branding project, the Communication department and the Board do wahat they think is best for their organization, but unfortunately this is against the interests of the projects. Wikipedia is already a name for a gigantic work, the making of a universal encyclopedia in virtually all languages of the planet by a very diverse group of volunteers, controlled by nobody but themselves. They are rightly proud to call themselves producers of this work. Now the organization WMF wants to serve itself by claiming this name for itself! This is seen as hijacking, and rightly so. And moreover, there are other projects that do not use the name Wikipedia for themselves, as Wikisource, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, and so on. They are also proud of what they have created and kept going and they have the distinct impression that this is devalued by flocking them together under the name of Wikipedia. There is also controversy between and inside them but their voices against this renaming is almost unanimous. What the WMF actually is about to do, in pursuing the organization's interests as they perceive them, is widening the chasm between the organization and the volunteer projects to a degree that it can become insurmountable. And this again might ultimately destroy the very base and foundation of the organization. Lip service ("Our movement, our projects, and the Foundation are nothing without our communities") will not help there.Mautpreller (talk) 18:09, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
But what is really disturbing: the Rebranders do not want to accept that there is controversy and they do not want to acknowledge the community voices. On the contrary, they tried to play it down as much as possible, claiming that decisions had not been made yet, asserting that they had acted upon community desires on selected workshops, and so on. I consider this a breach of trust. This may be an uncivil remark but that cannot be helped. in my view it's the part of the board and the rebranders to build trust, and this can't be done without taking back the decision to claim the name of Wikipedia for the organization.Mautpreller (talk) 19:17, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
I will add to my comment above - one of the reasons this decision matters so much (and I am glad the board is weighing in) is because we can't take this one back. In past controversies where community members were unhappy with the WMF's actions - superprotect, visual editor, controversial content, and more - those were software changes, that could be rolled out, rolled back, tweaked. Other decisions that have caused controversy were temporary (SOPA, etc). This is a binary decision, that we can't take back once we've made it. For that reason, if no other, it is important to be crystal clear on process and honest about reasoning. -- phoebe | talk 16:45, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
As we all know very very well, civility is a must, and we all should go back to Wikiquette asap. This said, I'm not justifying excesses at all, but I think it would be better to find a way to agree upon a simple point: for 6 months or so, hundreds of people were kept discussing, formally invited to do that, with (or against) a few interlocutors who knew very well that there was a serious misunderstanding and that it was useless to continue that way. Yet they said nothing. "Interlocutors" instead kept on fostering the debate absolutely avoiding to clarify the qui pro quo until yesterday. Hiding what they knew. Now, with so many people upset, and so seriously upset for this unprecedented treatment, I think that method and formalism could perhaps be the last of our problems, currently. Because if we want to follow that line, and I'm seeing here and there candid surprise and scandal about tones, we light a fire that it would be very hard to put out. Let's keep on the matter of the whole, time will come to hunt for informal speaking. At the most, by now, a responsible sign of awareness about how much people could feel offended by being cheated this way (no need to clarify that appearance is enough, it'a sort of duck test so no matter the intention), would be certainly appreciated by many and perhaps useful for all of us.
For the rest Phoebe expressed very precisely my thoughts.
For the sake of getting out of this incredible confusion, I suggest to go back - all of us - to the orientation that the story of the wiki systems teaches us and shows us that it works: we are horizontal in all what we do, not vertical. We don't run to climb mountains, we rather walk to reach horizons. Because even if you get to the top of Mount Everest, the only thing you can do thereafter is to descend and go home; when you reach your horizon, instead, there is an other horizon ready for you to reach. Endlessly. Horizontally. --g (talk) 17:29, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
  • Greetings, A statement from the Board is forthcoming to clarify some misunderstandings in communication. – the community is looking for an action. I hope it is not going to be a mere "actually we meant this" type of statement. I thank the board and the board members for being vigilant, and careful. Perhaps you can show some care about the community concerns and take some (strong) decision? Regards. -- Tito Dutta (talk) 17:56, 20 June 2020 (UTC) I'll add a little more to this post. There are 3 things I can think of coming in the statement a) a justification or a mere clarification "we meant this, and it was miscommunication", b) "it was a miscommunication AND we are going to give it some more time/thought" (kind of slowing down the process to express "yes, we heard you" or give the community a little reason to be happy) c) understand the community consensus and take the best decision the board can think of for the movement and the projects. I am optimist and I'll wait for your kind response. Thanks and regards. -- Tito Dutta (talk) 18:05, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

@Pundit: "that the Meta English-speaking representation of the community has to have an ultimate veto power over all naming conventions in all three areas is something I'm definitely not sold at". This is a remarkable statement from a community represantative. Who else do you think, should have the ultimate power instead? Ten people in the board? You, that speak for the community instead the meta-community itself? If your point is, little communities should have a say about their issues, I am completely with you, but then the solution can only be: Don't ask for community input only on meta. If the WMF wants changes, that affect all the communities, they must speak with all communities in all the projects. If they don't do, they get exactly the input from the meta community they ask for. But if you belittle the meta-community as being only a small percentage out of the whole "movement", then you should be aware, that the vast majority of the movement don't care at all about meta stuff, be it Strategy, Branding or everything else. And this is no justification, that a few people in the WMF and/or the Board occupy this free space with their own ideas and visions that they push on all the communities. The right reaction would be: We should reduce all activities, that the majority of the movement does not care for, to the necessary minimum. And yes, the Branding is such kind of an unneccessary activity, that only meta-interested people care for, because it helps noone in their daily work in the projects. --Magiers (talk) 09:04, 21 June 2020 (UTC)

@Magiers:You're right that asking for feedback on Meta is narrowing the answers, yet I believe asking on Meta is useful - just not only there, I'd assume. If we're discussing a change in the whole movement naming convention, ultimately some multi-language and multi-project consultations should happen.~ ideally, IMHO. I still think that the names of organizations should be decided separately from the names of the projects/movement, and I disagree with the decision the Board made many years ago to force all affiliates to use Wikimedia in the name. Btw, you're also right that we've already put an enormous strain on our community at large by the strategy discussion and we need to be more mindful of taking people's time. Pundit (talk) 10:17, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
@Pundit:I'd hope that when the time comes to ask for feedback, it's done in a way that lets the community judge if it believes that the use of Wikipedia in branding is a good idea. Right now, we have a survey running that almost every community member outside the WMF found biased, and that doesn't actually ask if the proposals are better or worse than the status quo. Feedback from the global community is important, but the feedback has to be collected in an intellectually honest fashion to be worth considering.
One big problem with the way that the Branding process is that it's been conducted in a way that misrepresents the feedback that was given - like representing 40%-14% community opposition as 0.6% opposition. Conducting English-language workshops in-person seems worse than collecting information here. I think it's important to use RfCs and the other processes that built our movement, rather than novel processes that are prone to gaming. TomDotGov (talk) 10:39, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
I'll echo one underlying concern from Pundit, that an RfC in English, on meta is probably not representative. It is a clear signal that there may not be a lot of support for it though, when 90% of this subset of the community votes against the change from Wikimedia to Wikipedia. I would be in favor of actually redoing some of the analysis, but this time with the right fundamental questions, and in a more representative way. Many people are asking exactly for this: a fair and due process, where all arguments and opinions are heard.
We can argue to and fro about the exact wording of whether we're talking about the Foundation name, the movement and the affiliates. I don't really care: the underlying disagreement is the same. And in the end, most of us realize that if the Foundation changes its name, with all the asymmetry in power and branding capacity that exists, the rest of the non-Wikipedia movement will be forced to eventually follow suit. Not because they think it is a good idea, but because they feel that they have no choice. This may be 1 year, 3 years down the line or by 2030. But if the WMF changes its name to WPF, I'll wager that by 2030, 90% of the affiliates will have Wikipedia in their name, rather than Wikimedia. It will force Wikipedia-values and Wikipedia-conservatism onto these organizations, which I think is a terribly sad sight and a huge setback for any other strategic goals you may want to accomplish. Effeietsanders (talk) 18:26, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
I'd suggest that a good model for the future of this project is the talk pages consultation. After the failure of Flow - which included similar problems, like the use of biased surveys - the consultation asked the community to go to the projects they work on and hold consultations, then report on the results. That went very well, and as far as I can tell it seems likely to address long standing problems. TomDotGov (talk) 18:40, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
Weil Pundit die "English-speaking"-Sache anspricht: هل يبدأ البعض منا في الكتابة باللغة العربية؟ Или мы должны перейти на язык дружбы народов? Yo siempre he tratado de comunicar con la meta de ser entendido por la mayor cantidad de seguidores que sea posible. លើសពីអ្វីផ្សេងទៀតភាសាអង់គ្លេសគឺជាអំពើអាក្រក់ចាំបាច់ (ឬមានប្រយោជន៍) ។ → «« Man77 »» [de] 10:01, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
Well, until we all speak all languages, it still will be easier to use translations :) Pundit (talk) 10:17, 21 June 2020 (UTC)

Consensus[edit]

Wikipedia is not a democracy, Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy; the administrators/bureaucrats should apply the consensus, but it seems that WMF not. There are a lot of reason for oppose at Requests for comment/Should the Foundation call itself Wikipedia#Oppose, but WMF ignores the result of the RfC and the opinions of the wikimedians. Why? In this case, WMF should said "We don't care about the result of the RfC. Don't waste your time with it". I will say "Wikimedia Foundation", not "Wikipedia Foundation" (or other name), because this is the name decided by wikimedians, even if other name will be that official. WMF (probably) will take the "Wikipedia" name, but the "Free" part from "The Free Encyclopedia" seems to lack (not from the foundation's name; from WMF itself). --NGC 54 (talk | contribs) 09:04, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

Reclaim the Logo, v. 2.0[edit]

The year was 2013, and the Wikimedia Foundation was pushing through with their trademarking of the Wikimedia Community Logo, i.e. the logo that adorns the top-left corner of this particular wiki. Despite the fact that it was created to be free of copyright and trademarking restrictions, the Foundation decided to register it as their trademark; despite community concerns, and the subject being brought up in multiple places, from multiple people, they decided to take ownership of a symbol that never belonged to them.

This situation here reminds me very strongly of the feelings of 2012–13; perhaps because I was present when the Wikimedia Community Logo was created back in 2006 (shortly after becoming a Wikimedian myself) and partially because I was one of the people who stood up and did what it took to have their voice heard, with @Nemo bis and @John Vandenberg by my side.

It felt to me then—and it feels exactly the same now—that the Foundation underestimates the importance of symbols that we, the volunteer communities who create, develop and manage the projects that they have the honour to steward for us, have created ourselves, adopted by ourselves and came to love and appreciate in an organic, grassroots way.

I remember very clearly that back then, as we do now, we were dealing not with heartless bureaucrats raining decrees from their ivory towers, but with dedicated colleagues who had a fundamental lack of understanding of community feelings. I also remember a discussion I had with one of the people who were on the other side of that particular debate, years later at Wikimania is Esino Lario, Italy. They told me they were sorry, that they thought we had been right all along, and that they wished it never took Federico, John and myself taking the issue off-wiki to resolve that problem in an agreeable way.

I am struck at how similar this situation feels now; and left to wonder if the only way to have the Foundation listen to our feelings and opinions is to organise ourselves and take direct action rather than continue to discuss it endlessly—only then to have the Foundation realise they were wrong all along.

I wonder if this, right here, is perhaps a Reclaim the Logo v. 2.0, or, indeed a Reclaim the Name, situation? Can this debate only ever be resolved, can our voice only ever be heard, by taking steps in the world of not-a-wiki-talk-page? The cost then was €1,100 and a few kilobytes of e-mails and wiki pages. The cost here, I fear, might be much higher than this; and the winners can only ever be the lawyers.

That direct action of a right bunch of rogues was what swung it then, and I wonder if we should not rule out a similar decisive action all these years later.

Sadly, history does appear to really like to repeat itself. odder (talk) 09:27, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

Thinking in alternatives[edit]

Hello, I try to make clear to myself what are the options here.

  1. Status quo: The present situation with Wikimedia Movement, Wikimedia Foundation etc. is somehow workable but not ideal. The main problem, in my humble opinion, is that "Wikimedia" sounds too similar to "Wikipedia", and that the word "Wikimedia" is unclear itself. People outside of the movement do not know what a wiki is, and the word "media" can be understood in different ways.
  2. Exchange the name: A comparably simple solution would be to choose a new name instead of "Wikimedia". It could be a more self-explanatory name (such as "Wiki knowledge") or a totally new name that sounds good. I have once suggested to use "Unicorn" as a placeholder in the discussions. So it could be Unicorn Foundation, Unicorn Movement etc. or what ever the new name would be. This solution would not solve all problems, but at least avoid the main problem of "Wikimedia."
  3. Use Wikipedia in combination with another name part. This is the solution now proposed by the brand team. So the new name would be e.g. "Wikipedia Network Foundation", "Wikipedia Network France" etc.
  4. Use only Wikipedia, resulting in "Wikipedia Foundation", "Wikipedia France" etc. The pros and cons of this solution have been discussed, I am not going to repeat them.

It became obvious that many Community members do not like solution 4 and also not solution 3; as far as I see, most of them prefer solution 1. It became obvious that the representants of the WMF do not like solution 1; they may prefer solution 4 but now propose solution 3.

I would like to ask the Community members whether they stick absolutely to solution 1 or whether they might be open for something that looks like solution 2. And I would like to ask the representants of the WMF whether solution 2 might still be considerable. And maybe it is possible to find a solution that combines elements of solution 2 and solution 3?

I understand that the present situation (solution 1) is frustrating for many people (volunteers and staff members) who present the movement to the "outside world". But: is it really so unworkable as to legitimate a radical, undesired change, alienating so many people? Kind regards, --Ziko (talk) 17:44, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

I'd suggest that the second option is probably ideal. I don't think that Wikimedia is a great name - apart from being very close to Wikipedia, it's also meaningless except as part of Commons, which is why it was registered as a domain in the first place. That being said, if the branding process is resumed, I hope that it would occur inexpensively and on-wiki. The current branding project featured expensive consultants, flying people around the world, and the names being revealed on youtube rather than being created by the community. We can do better, as we have with all our other projects. TomDotGov (talk) 17:52, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
I would be generally fine with option 2, ideally it would even not be an English word, but someting from another language, best with a different alphabet but romanized (one of the Dravidic Indian languages? Amharic?). However, I would be very much surprised if this has not been considered by the team since 2015.Ymblanter (talk) 17:57, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
Fine with option 2. The crucial point is that the WMF must not occupy the name of the projects.Mautpreller (talk) 18:12, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
I prefer 1 and can live with 2, but 3 and 4 are out of the question. Personally i don't buy into the 2 similar argument (the whole issue about improving branding by switching to wikipedia suggests rather the opposite to me. Also it should be obvious that there Wiki-wjatever naming scheme for all the object under the WMF umbrella, also the (common) software Wikimedia is run, maintained and developed by the WMF (the WMF's primary purpose), so it makes sense to me that the foundation uses it for its name.--Kmhkmh (talk) 18:33, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
For me 2 would be perfect as stated before. It is the right step for the emancipation of the WMF. Create something, that you can give a meaning of its own with the work you put in, and don't live only from a public confusion between Wikipedia and WMF. This hiding under a confusion will never lead to an open, transparent and honest communication - not to the public and not to the communities as we have learned in this process. --Magiers (talk) 19:07, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
More or less I agree with Kmhkhm and Magiers. I even could accept 3 or 4 if that would've been the result of a democratic and equal vote wikiworldwide. But not the way it was proposed. --Matthiasb (talk) 23:09, 20 June 2020 (UTC)
If we really need to change (i.e., option 1 is out), my preference is for option 2. I actually really like "Wiki Knowledge" as a brand because it better explains what we do compared to "Wikimedia". It would save a minute or 2 in explanations. 😉 So the movement can be "Wiki Knowledge movement" and the WMF can become "Wiki Knowledge Foundation (WKF)". --seav (talk) 06:33, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
#3 and #4 are out of bounds, perhaps in a situation that Matthiasb described, if the community decides in some democratic vote to do so, I would accept it with a grudge, but as it was done here, without any community input in the decision, it's bad to the bone.
I'd prefer #1, to keep the well established name and not change it for something else, but if anyone desperately wants to change it, it should be a) definitely not the name of an established project within the Wikiverse, and b) be decided on in an open and inclusive process, not in a way this was done up to now. As you can see in many of my posts, I usually use the name Wikiverse / Wikiversum for the whole environment here, that could as well be a name I could live with as the official name (and I would grant permission for the use ;). Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 07:29, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
Hello Sänger, I agree with you about the process, and I like your thinking here: "Wikiverse" would be a variety of option 2, open to discuss. I myself once had the idea that WikipediaPLUS could be a compromise, or at least a step into the right direction, because it looks a little bit like a new word and is not exactly the same as "Wikipedia" or "Wikipedia Movement" etc. Resulting in "WikipediaPLUS Movement", "WikipediaPLUS Foundation", "WikipediaPLUSsers" etc. Or "Wikipediaplus", "Wikipedia+" ...
So, the method would be: where are the grey zones and combinations that respond to the different criteria. --Ziko (talk) 08:06, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
My prefered solution is #2, which would clarify the branding and avoid taking over a sensitive name. I have suggested an alternative here. "Wikis for Knowledge" or "Knowledge Wikis" would result in "Wikis for Knowledge Foundation" or "Foundation for Knowledge Wikis". In the same line of Ziko above, it could be something like "Beyond Wikipedia" resulting in "Beyond Wikipedia Foundation", but it still uses the sensitive name. GoEThe (talk) 10:12, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
Preferably #1, because I don't see any good reason to change it (even with this "terrible" branding WMF was able to raise $110M via "donations and contributions": ref; WMF is non-profit organization and we don't need more, just need to curb useless spending like this rebranding process (already $2.2M spent on it!) and other such things) + I grew accustomed to it. But if you really really need to change it then the only option is #2. The above proposals are not that bad and maybe are worth exploring. Maybe try some acronyms like WIKIWorldwide Inclusive Knowledge Institution or something like that. Or maybe some wordplay on the word kiwi as opposed to wiki? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that if community was asked then we would already come up with some good proposals. #3 and #4: hell no. tufor (talk) 11:19, 21 June 2020 (UTC)

Yes, something like that, some creative thinking. This "Beyond Wikipedia", or "The More Than Wikipedia Foundation", or "KNOW - Knowledge Not Only Wikipedia". And well, the Legal commentary makes some good points. Should the ne name be too similar to option 1, or have similar problems (based on the fact, that most outside people don't understand "Wiki")... then the question would be whether the change would be worth the investment. Ziko (talk) 11:45, 21 June 2020 (UTC)

I also think "more than", "other than", "beyond" would be the right direction. It transports with the slogan the distinction between project and organization, and used right, this can start fruitful discussions. Every name that blurs the difference between Wikipedia project and WMF (even mumbling "Wikimedia" as Schreibvieh was mentioning above) will lead at the end to frustration: a) in the Wikipedia project, that feels threatened in their autonomy, b) in the Foundation, that is not valued for its own achievements, c) in the audience, that may feel betrayed, when they find out, how Wikipedia really works and that the self-called "Wikipedia organization" has not much influence on that. --Magiers (talk) 14:09, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
Looking at some of the 2030 strategy thingies I fear that the WMF, or "Wikipedia organisation" as you call it, intends to take a much more hands on approach with regards to processes and eventually content, considering that "we must have a universal Code of Conduct" that the Organisation enforces and that the Organisation will anticipate "the needs and views [...] of future contributors in order to ensure equitable opportunities for participation" ([1]) as well as "Prioritizing topics[12] or content with larger impact requires special focus on certain topics, tracking their completion, dissemination, and impact." ([2]). One can find numerous ill-conceived "strategies" within the 2018-20 "movement" strategy (whatever "movement" in this context means), which is either completely useless drivel or frightening, depending on how serious one takes these pages and how competent one deems those tasked with actually delivering.
One of the problems with the Organisation seems to be that it, or some of those working for it want it to be more than it actually is without considering its position in reality. It's a support organisation for the projects (and communities) under its umbrella and considering its funding it should be the premier open knowledge lobby organisation. It works to a certain degree as the former and fails miserably on the latter (for a quick laugh look at en:Wikimedia Foundation#Public Policy Initiative and lobbyfacts.eu), and looking at the "strategy" it doesn't want to change that at all, instead the whole strategy process is focusing on stuff that's mostly beyond its control anyway, because it relies on the army of volunteers who are neither consulted in a meaningful way nor valued (looking at what's happening here). It's pathetic. --Millbart (talk) 19:23, 21 June 2020 (UTC)
WMF is not the main Wikimedia entity working with the EU entities and that's by design, see EU policy. (Just a note; your points may stand.) Nemo 13:57, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
Thank you Nemo, I wasnt aware of the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU, created in 2014 and similarly invisible. It's amazing how useless an organisation with that much funding can be. --Millbart (talk) 18:21, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
"Beyond Wikipedia" like Beyond Petroleum? What are our models? Now, I agree that BP might have been a successful rebranding in that it ditched an extremely damaged name and seems to have moved on, and in the same vein we might mention Philip Morris and (soon) Monsanto. However, I would hope that the WMF name is not that damaged yet. Even as a WMF critic, I doubt WMF is (perceived to be) responsible of anything remotely as bad as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
It's a serious question to consider... Otherwise we just base such decisions on gut feelings. Nemo 13:57, 22 June 2020 (UTC)
I wouldn't say WMF has much damage at all on their brand: non-editors don't really have much involvement with them, and those that do probably don't have any reason to think negatively of them. Rebranding can't help fix things with the editing community anymore than a rebranding aids a company with employee relations. Regardless of that, rebranding might aid certain tasks, but I don't think they have any problems that couldn't/shouldn't be fixed by alternate steps. Nosebagbear (talk) 19:57, 22 June 2020 (UTC)

Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, Juliet's soliloquy[edit]

Tis but thy name that is my enemy;/
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague./
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,/
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part/
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!/
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose/
By any other name would smell as sweet;/
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,/
Retain that dear perfection which he owes/
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,/
And for that name which is no part of thee/
Take all myself.

And please consider the tragic outcome. There is something in names, as de:Sigmund Freud remarked. You cannot freely choose.Mautpreller (talk) 09:41, 21 June 2020 (UTC)


WMF-Strategieempfehlungen offenbar nur leere Worthülsen[edit]

Ich (bzw. Wikiolo in der Kurierdisk) bin mal die Strategieempfehlungen von WMF für Wikipedia 2030 durchgegangen, das erst letzten Monat <sic!> veröffentlicht wurde. So krass, wie WMF ihre eigenen Empfehlungen ignoriert, wird ja eindrucksvoll gezeigt, dass diese nur leere Worthülsen sein sollen:

I (w/ Wikiolo in the Kurier discussion) went through WMF's strategy recommendations for Wikipedia 2030, which was only published last month <sic!>. As WMF is blatantly ignoring its own recommendations, it is impressively shown that these are just empty phrases:

1. Verbesserung der Nachhaltigkeit unserer Bewegung fordert uns auf, Menschen in den Fokus zu stellen und in ihre Bedürfnisse zu investieren → Indem die Meinung der Menschen ignoriert wird, oder was?

Improving the sustainability of our movement challenges us to focus on people and to invest in their needs → By ignoring people's opinions or what?

4. Sicherstellung der Gerechtigkeit bei der Entscheidungsfindung ist eine wesentliche Voraussetzung für geteilte Verantwortung und Rechenschaft im Movement. Gleichberechtigte, klare und offene Beteiligung bei der Entscheidungsfindung, Unterstützung lokaler Gemeinschaften und partizipative Ressourcenverteilung stehen hier im Fokus. → Fängt ja schon vorbildlich an!

Ensuring fairness in decision making is an essential prerequisite for shared responsibility and accountability in the movement. The focus here is on equal, clear and open participation in decision-making, supporting local communities and participatory resource allocation. → Off to an exemplary start!

5. Koordination aller Interessengruppen empfiehlt Räume für eine verbesserte Kommunikation und Zusammenarbeit innerhalb des Movements und mit Partnern, technischen Mitarbeitenden und Softwareentwicklungs-Gemeinschaften zu schaffen. → Gut, man kann ja kommunizieren, aber zur Koordination emphielt es sich auch, die Meinung der Interessensgruppen zu berücksichtigen, ansonsten kann man sich auch die beste Kommunikation sparen.

Coordination of all interest groups recommends creating spaces for improved communication and collaboration within the movement and with partners, technical staff and software development communities. → Well, you can communicate, but for coordination it is also advisable to take the opinions of the interest groups into account, otherwise you can save yourself the effort.

10. Auswertung, Wiederholung und Anpassung setzt auf die effektive und effiziente Umsetzung der Strategieempfehlungen, und darauf, dass wir unsere Arbeit evaluieren, iterieren und anpassen. → Dann evaluiert doch mal die Community-Meinung und passt eure Arbeit an euren neuen Namen an, liebe WMF!

Evaluation, repetition and adaptation relies on the effective and efficient implementation of the strategy recommendations and on the fact that we evaluate, iterate and adapt our work. → Then evaluate the community opinion and adapt your work to your new name, dear WMF!

Inwieweit ist dieses bislang sehr intransparente, an der Community vollkommen vorbei geführte, Verfahren der Umbenennung mit diesen Grundsätzen in Übereinstimmung zu bringen? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 10:53, 21 June 2020 (UTC)

To what extent can this previously very non-transparent, completely-bypassed community-renaming process be reconciled with these principles?

Board Update on Branding[edit]

The Board Update on Branding has been published. TomDotGov (talk) 01:42, 22 June 2020 (UTC)

This is not a communication problem[edit]

I've noticed a recent trend (or perhaps not just recent) that, when we get a WMF notpology, it will start with "We're sorry that we communicated this poorly...".

It's not an issue of communicating poorly. It's an issue of doing things poorly. When the community says "Take using Wikipedia off the table", take it off the table. When the community says "We don't want a UCoC", kill the UCoC. When the community says "We don't want you doing Fram-type blocks", don't pledge not to do them again and try to reverse that pledge barely a year later. When we say "We don't want this software feature", listen to why not and fix that; don't ram it through with "superprotect". This is not a failure to communicate with us, it is a failure to listen to us.

The issue isn't poor communication. The issue is some idea that seems to have taken hold at the WMF that it is superior to the communities which have built and continue to build the projects which created WMF and give it any continued reason to exist. It absolutely is not. The WMF exists to serve the communities, not to rule them. The next time you "take responsibility", do it for what you have actually done wrong, and then don't do that again. Seraphimblade (talk) 00:29, 23 June 2020 (UTC)

+1! Well said. The WMF is not the govenrment of the Wikiverse, it's its janitors (and treasurers, and lawyers). Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 01:56, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
(Really, quite a few volunteers hold the role of janitors. The WMF is more like the outside supporters of the janitors.) --Yair rand (talk) 02:08, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
Hausmeister ist das Wort, und natürlich sind auch Admins Hausmeister, aber die sind wenigstens gewählt. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 02:13, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
On en.wp, the idea of admins being janitors has been around for quite some time. Adminship is even frequently represented with and referred to as a "mop". Seraphimblade (talk) 02:19, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
I think this is correct on one hand as a big picture. On the other hand, my impression is that this is also an "us and them" problem. Most of the WMF staff members are not active project editors, and have never been active project editors. (And do not have to be - this is not a job requirement). I think, the same way as we percieve them, they perceive us - in particular, they think that the criticism is coming from a small group of noisy individuals, who are not at all representing the community views. And not that this is an entirely incorrect view - remember what was the result of Fram's RfA. In addition, WMF staffers on a regular basis are treated not just as servants, but as a kind of slaves or cerfs, with an individual thinking that it is their duty to provide, I do not know, a complicated financial report or to code a difficult feature in a day just because they are a community member. The staffers are humiliated in the communities (somebody said once treated as shit) on a regular basis, and I have not seen many instances anybody raised a voice to protect them. We really need more understanding and more contct (and this contact should not be limited to WMF-sponsored events attanded only by a handful of activists). The Space, at least in my understanding, was intended to bridge this gap, but failed. I do not have any good suggestions for the moment, but it must happen.Ymblanter (talk) 05:54, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
Perhaps we should try to push cases where co-operation works well so that more are aware of them. The Growth team re-write looks promising, with a very helpful project lead, but because it's not a problem, comparatively few individuals even know about it. Better known, but still in progress, is the Talk Page rewrite. They probably set the model of consultation that the WMF should be using for any major project (it's beyond me why we have so many consultation problems - perhaps second members of that team to show how it can be done well). We've yet to see how that one turns out, but I think there are good hopes from all. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:09, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
I didn't support Fram's re-RfA either, because I think there were serious concerns regarding what Fram had been doing with the tools. But "I don't think Fram should be an admin" and "I don't think WMF should be the ones who make that decision" are not mutually exclusive.
So far as WMF staff being "humiliated", yes, but I think that a lot of that is that they're stepping into situations they've already by and large created to do damage control. On the occasions I've seen them adopt the attitude that they are asking the community what should be done, rather than telling them what will be done, those conversations have generally been cordial. On the other hand, when their attitude is "We will do this whether you like it or not", well—sure, they get angry responses, but what exactly do they expect? "Oh, sure, of course that's fine"? So, there's some element of communication problem there, but the issue runs deeper than that. So long as WMF continues behaving in a way that pisses people off, they will continue pissing people off. Seraphimblade (talk) 17:58, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
Yes, the question is whether they perceive this the same way as we do. I mean seeing the distinction etc. It would be interesting to listen to the WMF employees who are at the same time active community members, but on the other hand I understand bout the corporate ethics etc.Ymblanter (talk) 18:15, 23 June 2020 (UTC)
@Seraphimblade: I agree that WMF is doing things poorly. However, communication is something they also do, so the communication is poorly as well. But I think what you try to say is that the communication should not be blamed while the underlying problem is even bigger. The superprotect was indeed a clear example of tool to be used for acting against the Wikipedia/Wikimedia community, while WMF was founded to support the community. Romaine (talk) 04:56, 28 June 2020 (UTC)

Branding should[edit]

  • Branding should reduce confusion about the distinction between organizations and projects, clearly identifying what roles platforms, volunteers, affiliates, and the Foundation play in the movement.
  • Branding should protect and improve the reputation of the movement, increasing trust in our content and contributors.
  • Branding should benefit the sister projects so that Wikipedia's international popularity and centrality to our movement are used to improve usage and participation in related projects.
  • Branding should mitigate legal and government risks to movement participants and affiliates, so that volunteers are not blamed or punished for Wikipedia content in places hostile to Wikipedia content and our policies of free speech.
  • Branding should grow our movement by appealing to new users, contributors, donors, and partners around the world, and inviting them to join us in our 2030 direction.

This whole brand project is doing exactly the opposite, how do you expect us volunteers not to protest?--Jalu (talk) 17:28, 23 June 2020 (UTC)

Communication is part of the problem[edit]

From my many years contributing to being a volunteer here (& yes, I dare say longer than maybe the rest of you), is that the aggregate of volunteers is a difficult group to define, to discuss with. For one thing, we have a tendency to be a transient, or ephemeral group (the analogous computer term would be "stateless"): just because I make an edit at en.wikipedia, or Wikisource, or Wikidata today is no guarantee that I will make another edit tomorrow -- or even an hour from now. Over the years I've seen many valuable, prolific editors suddenly vanish without a warning. Maybe they grew bored, maybe they lost the time to contribute, or had a personal tragedy -- or even died. Our connection thru the Internet is very slender & fragile, & once broken there is often no way to recreate it.

Another is that our beliefs are based (at least officially) that no editor is more valuable than another: so should we consider that the opinion of someone who makes a single edit -- fixes a typo -- has the same weight as an experienced contributor who has made tens of thousands of edits? One is obviously more invested in how all of this works than the other, & is more likely to have an insightful opinion.

A third, & the last I'll mention, is that for many of us this is a part-time endeavor. For example, I don't have endless time to browse thru all of the policy pages on Wikipedia, let alone here on meta. If I have a spare hour or two to donate, it's to improve content. You know, the actual reason all of those people consult Wikipedia, Wikisource, Commons, & the rest of the projects? The wider world doesn't care about all of these policy proposals, as long as we provide the information they are looking for. As a result, many committed volunteers are ignorant of these proposals until it is too late to offer input. Sometimes it's not a problem; sometimes it is, & without a means to change these decisions they may leave.

So what solutions are there for this problem? One would be to find ways to encourage people who are committed to making better content to stay on: I bet it costs less in time & money to keep an experienced contributor than it is to find & recruit a new one. (It is the case in business with employees.) A desire to write encyclopedia articles, or transcribe printed text from a tiff file, or to populate a database -- these are not common skills. In fact, they are rare ones. That we provide them without pay or even credit is even more rare.

The other approach is to accept that we are so ephemeral, so fungible, & not worry about receiving input from us. A store doesn't do all this when it sells commodity goods like a loaf of bread: the person who buys a loaf of bread today may not ever buy another loaf from that store ever again, but because there is always someone who will buy a loaf, the person who manages the store doesn't care much about each interaction. (Or should I say interconnection? No, not a good word choice.) And if management at the store decide to take the money made & blow it all on a Caribbean vacation, it's no business of the customers. This appears to be the approach the Foundation has decided to take: we are their customers. It's simpler than the first, while it has its risks it minimizes how much interaction the Foundation has with the volunteers -- & there's no worry about violating the terms that allow the Foundation to act like a Common Carrier. (That's an American legal term which means, to provide a simplistic definition, they won't be sued for the content the projects create.) How else can one explain repeated missteps like Visual Editor, SuperProtect, FRAMGATE, or this renaming debacle? Despite the fact there are well-meaning people at the Foundation, the relationship between them & us is that of a seller & a customer, not as partners. And until they understand that we are partners, conflicts like this will continue -- at least as long as suckers like me are around to donate content. -- Llywrch (talk) 21:11, 23 June 2020 (UTC)

Why are WMF Consultation Abilities So Variable? What can we do to get them to consistently work?[edit]

Some proposals will never get Community support or even a compromise solution offered. Other times, WMF teams genuinely might be concerned about too much Community consultation hindering their aims.

However, I consider those occasions to be fairly rare, and whenever I've actually got to a call with staff members as a volunteer editor, or emailed the teams during OTRS work, I've always been engaged with, without appreciable unhappiness. So two main things come to mind as the cause of problems:

  1. Our general WMF/meta-Community consultations are often poor
  2. Those doing the consultations often have been set unmovable goals and get stuck between an unhappy Community and a job requirement.

To resolve point 1, the WMF's recent Talk Page consultation, while not perfect, I think set a very good standard of cross-language, genuine engagement. Obviously we've yet to see the ultimate results, but for a consultation with so many editors to come out without hostility, plus a range of helpful ideas, was genuinely great to see.

The structure of it - lots of translating, a category basis and genuine changes between each round of consultation, those were all well done. So why isn't that always the case in consultations? Obviously for minor changes it would be OTT, but why aren't all major change consultations taking lessons from them? Could the team lend themselves out for short periods to give advice to other teams engaging with the Community?

Point 2 may be harder. Staff can engage actively and helpfully, but when the Community is near-unified on a point the employee can't decide on, they tend to get unfairly toasted, which doesn't help anyone. The IP Masking project comes to mind as an example. I'd love whichever level that was providing sign-off to the project to be also required to provide periodic engagement with any discussion, perhaps at dedicated stages where sticking points could be considered.

While our genuine frustration and even anger might help with shutting off individual troublesome projects, I'd imagine we'd all agree it's not sustainable for either side. Even if we can't scrap all abrasion, surely halving them would be a fantastic goal to work to? Nosebagbear (talk) 15:04, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

Actually, I suspect that the WMF mostly do not think they need to discuss anything with the online communities. They have good contacts with affiliates, and they presumably think that the affiliates are fully representing the online communities, and those who are not active members of the affiliates (in the strategy process they were referred to as "unorganized volunteers") are just not worthwhile to talk to. In addition, they are not real people since they are online. They think the crowd they see at Wikimania and regional conferences is an accurate representation of the community. Whereas there are indeed dedicated volunteers who have a large contribution to the projects and are active in affiliates, there are many people in affiliates whom we have never seen in the projects. I have been around for a long time, and I have seen quite a few of really odd cases - a chapter director indef blocked on a project for copyright violation, an active chapter member who physically assaulted in public a Wikiconference participant (and if you think T&S stepped in, no, they did not, instead she was interviewed and featured on the WMF blog), a lot of affiliate directors / board members who would have less than 100 edits at what they indicated a home project etc. And Wikimania does not show anything - when I was on the program committee in 2010 for the Gdansk Wikimania, we worked hard but managed to accept all submissions, and whoever wanted to attend, attended. Now the Wikimania is organized by a standing committee which reports to the WMF, I have heard that many submissions are rejected, and the only way to get funded is to be an active affiliate member. I think they are just talking to wrong people - but if the "wrong" people are nice, but "right" people are actually not nice and insult them - why should they be talking to a different crowd than they are currently doing?Ymblanter (talk) 15:40, 25 June 2020 (UTC)
Why should they be talking to a different crowd than they are? Well, imagine you're a mayor. A crowd of people are outside your office, holding up signs critical of you. Some of them are reasonably polite, but plenty of them are also "Fuck the mayor!" or the like. There are also a few people who are holding up signs saying "We stand with the mayor", but they're a small minority. If you are the mayor, do you need to speak to the small number of people who are holding up the complimentary signs, or the larger group who is clearly pissed off about what you've done? Seraphimblade (talk) 19:42, 25 June 2020 (UTC)
Well, a mayor typically is elected and must report to the voters who elected the mayor. WMF staff are not elected and report to their line managers (who are responsible for their promotion, salary raise etc). This is not so much my point however. My point is that likely many of them have no idea what community actually is. Otherwise it is difficult for me to imagine for example why the whole strategy exercise was not aimed at the communities at all.Ymblanter (talk) 20:24, 25 June 2020 (UTC)
Now, thinking more about this, and recollecting the past similar incidents, I see that both sides - the WMF and the editing communities are usually unhappy with the situation. In the end somebody from the WMF would apologize, but they always (correct me if I am wrong) apologize that the decision was not properly communicated. On the other hand, the problem we see is that the decision was taken without sufficient community feedback (the community was not at the loop at all, or was not interested in the discussion at the venue which was proposed, or whatever). That does not sound to me like the problems we perceive are the same. It would still be really good to have a perspective of someone who is a WMF employee and at the same time an active project editor. I am afraid if we can not understand this point we will not be able to proceed further beyond the position "the WMF is our servant, they must do what we say".--Ymblanter (talk) 06:56, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
@Ymblanter: This section was so promising and Nosebagbear had started it with very good questions and thoughts. Then a tangent starts with suspicions, assumptions and statements that imho get so off the reality that as a Foundation staff member with a volunteer background I don't even know where to start commenting. This pattern happens a lot: one good question is quickly surrounded by comments that spoil the broth. To understand better these situations, I recommend to imagine them as conversations around a physical table. I do this all the time. Imagine the three participants of this section sitting at a table with a Foundation staff member (could be me), having some drinks in a terrace. We are talking about the weather but then Nosebagbear, who has been quite pensive, interrupts us and says "Why are WMF Consultation Abilities So Variable?..." and the rest of the message posted above. Then Ymblanter and Seraphimblade continue with the same comments you can read above about suspicions, assumptions, mayors and so forth. After a pause, Ymblanter says "Now, thinking more about this..." (etc etc) "... It would still be really good to have a perspective of someone who is a WMF employee..." and after that they look at the staff member who has been sitting there all along. Imagine yourself in the shoes of that staff member. After hearing so many disqualifications that in your opinion are so out of touch, how are you supposed to proceed? I hope this thought experiment helps you understand that yes we need a good discussion about these topics, and such discussions need to have and to avoid the same characteristics that you would have and avoid in a constructive discussion face to face. I'm looking forward to having the current Brand discussion in a stable state so we can work together on questions like the ones that open this section and other related that are equally important. Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:30, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
On the other hand, as you probably know, in this community I am (or may be I should say was) one of the people probably most sympathetic to the WMF, and you can imagine what people who are less sympathetic say. To be honest, I do not think the brand discussion is now at all possible. It is obviously not to me to decide, but I just do not see any way it could continue with a good outcome, except for a total restart. Irrespectively of this, I do think we need to have a big discussion about the relation between the WMF and communities. And as the first step of this discussion we must agree on the positions. I am perfectly fine to concede I am wrong, I do it every day multiple times in many situations. What I have written above are my assumptions, which may or may not be wrong (though the factual statements are correct, but it does not matter). As you probably remember, we had once a conversation on the Space, and I said that when people are repeatedly asked questions and do not get answers, they start making assumptions, and then conclusions. I am sorry but I am currently at the conclusion stage. It took me 12 years - my first post on wikimedia-l, then known as foundation-l, was I believe in 2008, - from the question stage to the conclusion stage. I still consider myself a reasonable person. I am fine with taking my assumptions back. But for this something must be happening. For example, we can have a big RfC about relations between community and the WMF (and there are actually more sides than just two) - but this RfC then must have commitments from all sides that they are going to listen and to take it into account. So far, in the last five years I did not get an impression that anybody was listening to me.Ymblanter (talk) 09:01, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
May be indeed we should just start a new page, without any assumptions/suspisionc/accusations etc and see (i) that everybody agrees we have a problem (ii) whether we agree on what the problem actually is. Ymblanter (talk) 09:43, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
@Ymblanter: I consider you a reasonable person indeed! :) This is why I replied when I saw what I perceive is a big disconnect. You asked for a perspective of a Foundation employee and I offered one. Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:20, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
And this is much appreciated, but we need to find a way forward somehow.Ymblanter (talk) 10:39, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
Thanks Quim for saying this - I certainly agree with the observation about the layers of distortion that often get added into these conversations on talk pages. My experience from the strategy process was similar. There were points where I was one of the few people who was involved in the strategy process trying to defend and/or explain it on Meta or en.wp. And in those conversations there was the same pattern of someone making a valid point I wanted to engage with, followed by a bunch of people showing up to make various accusations or misrepresent what I'd said. It wasn't a pleasant experience. (I have many thoughts on the original topic as well, and they've mainly made it into the strategy recommendations!) Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 18:15, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
I'd say that at least one thing the strategy process and the branding project have in common is the "in group" and the "out group". When a project is conducted by the members of a selected in group, it seems just human nature to wonder how the in group members were selected, and from there to question the legitimacy of the process. I think that's especially true of an organization that rejects the idea of an in group down to it's founding principles.
I think the key is to avoid processes that break people up into in and out groups. The Talk Pages Consultation was a great example of avoiding this. Ideas were taken from all over - I believe that a user script from the Russian wikipedia provided a prototype of the adopted solution. It might seem that listening to everyone rather than an in group would be more work. But given how much energy we are now expending, I'm not sure that's true. TomDotGov (talk) 20:16, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
I think what we run into there is differing expectations. With the WMF, there may only be one or two people who act as a "point of contact" with the community. On the other hand, the community expects that everyone can have their say. (To compound matters, the ones talking to us from the WMF may not even have any particular decision-making authority.) So on the side of those people for the WMF, I think Quim is saying that they feel bombarded, and on the other side, members of the community feel that they are being ignored. In a regular community discussion, anyone talks to anyone else they want, and eventually, something put forth will see a fair number of people saying "Oh, yeah! That sounds like a pretty good idea." But I don't know how we get past that. Certainly, handwaving at backchanneling and other non-public discussions is not the way to foster trust and confidence, and that's got to stop. If you want me to believe something, show me, in detail, how you arrived at it. Don't just tell me "Oh, we held this salon thing, see, and we had people fill out a survey somewhere...". So? Can't see it, didn't happen. We do things by open and frank discussion, not closed surveys and back channels, and if things keep happening that way, this problem is not soluble. As to what The Land said, it was the same problem there. Handwaving at "salons" and "surveys", and then when asked "Oh? Where's the recording of these salons I can view? Where's the data from the surveys?", the answer was "Oh, you can't actually see that stuff, but trust us." Well...no. Seraphimblade (talk) 23:19, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
Hmmm. To TomDotGov: Yes, "in-group" and "out-group" identification is a problem. But it's not only a problem on one side. Your comment reads to me like you think it's only an issue for within the WMF. Where it is often an issue, but it's even more an issue in the larger project communities. And to Seraphimblade... well, for a community that has 'assume good faith' as one of its founding values, that strikes me as a bit weak. "Tell us what the evidence is" - fine. But what we hear a lot of is "Provide me the verbatim transcript of every meeting you have ever held, or I shall assume you're lying". Which is not fine. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 23:34, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
People can be acting in good faith and still be mistaken. If someone adds something to an article that seems a bit astonishing or unusual, I will presume they did so in good faith—but I will still ask them to show their source. "I don't believe you're correct and would like to see evidence you are" is not synonymous with "I believe you are lying", nor is it an assumption of bad faith. Seraphimblade (talk) 00:40, 27 June 2020 (UTC)
  • To get back to the original questions, I think a big issue is the lack of meaningful community engagement in setting the agenda for the work that the Foundation does. I'm not sure how the priorities and strategic decision-making process works at the WMF, but I'll assume that there are some big-picture strategic decisions being made (i.e. what broad topics do we want to focus on for the next five years) and then further operationalized objectives made to support them (i.e. these are the specific software, fundraising, legal, etc activities that we will conduct and here are the junior executives or managers who are responsible for them). The community is not involved in any meaningful way in this process. I assume the community seats on the board were intended to enable community involvement in the agenda-setting process, but the reality of how the board functions clearly has not accomplished this goal. And that's a structural issue, not a fault of the people who have served on the board.
I really think the way forward is by viewing the Foundation more as an executive branch of government, and creating a community body to serve as the legislative branch with powers that include oversight of the Foundation's agenda and even some spending controls. In most democracies the executive branch needs to submit its strategic and operationalized objectives for approval by the legislature (budgets and estimates in Canada), and the need to do that ensures that those objectives are framed with the client audience in mind. I don't want to force the WMF to only serve the whims of the community, because there are important stakeholders like the readers and affiliates, but the community should be the largest group that is directing most of the WMF's agenda because we (broadly speaking) are the ones building the core parts of the movement. This recommendation from the 2030 strategy process is a very promising avenue to address this deficit. When there is meaningful involvement of the key stakeholder group at the agenda-setting stage, it makes consultations on specific ways to implement the agenda understandably easier because there is already agreement on the principles behind the project. – Ajraddatz (talk) 20:45, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
I am glad you think so. At present (and indeed for at leas the last 10 years) one of the real issues is that there is no real way of surfacing priorities that come from the community at a high level within the WMF. (Or communities. Or communities we don't have yet, but we seek to have. Obviously there are even further challenges in surfacing what matters to schoolchildren in Eritrea compared to say people with masters' degrees in Germany... but at present we aren't good at any of it.). And there is no way of community members, or indeed actually anyone at all, holding the WMF accountable except in the very broad-brush matter of the elections to the WMF Board. Many of the recommendations aim to address this, one way or another. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 23:34, 26 June 2020 (UTC)
Moreover, WMF is currently operating without even a (known) annual plan, see Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan. So it would have been impossible to even comment on it after the fact, let alone influence it. Nemo 07:04, 27 June 2020 (UTC)
There is some useful (and very recent) stuff here: Wikimedia Clinics/004#Topic 4: Consultations between the WMF and the meta CommunityYmblanter (talk) 16:46, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
Yes - I felt that Asaf really got it when I talked to him. The new CTO was also there and showed some interest in what I felt a "good consultation" included, though didn't say much else so will wait and see how he takes it on board. Nosebagbear (talk) 19:20, 1 July 2020 (UTC)

open letter to the board[edit]

--Kmhkmh (talk) 10:47, 29 June 2020 (UTC)

A minor gesture of protest: W?F[edit]

As a minor gesture of protest against the Wikimedia foundation's decision to rebrand itself with Wikipedia's good name, until they back down I choose to call them "the "W?F".

Feel free to assume that this stands for "WMF", "WPF", or "WTF".

I call on those who oppose the rebranding to start using "W?F".

"We should have been clearer: a rebrand will happen. This has already been decided by the Board."[3] -- Heather Walls, head of the Communications department at the Wikimedia Foundation and executive sponsor of the Brand project.

Sometimes it is the small things that tip the scales. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:58, 1 July 2020 (UTC)

I kind of like this idea. One could say that the question mark stands for being critical, for going beyond the written word, for the fact that every answer leads us to further questions, and for many other things. → «« Man77 »» [de] 16:28, 1 July 2020 (UTC)
I mean you could probably rebrand and turn that into a successful acronym, which would be simultaneously countering us while resolving their issue. It's actually a good resolution :S

"This has already been decided by the Board"[edit]

When I read "We should have been clearer: a rebrand will happen. This has already been decided by the Board." then I think "Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of energy making it". You should at least explain why it would be too late to review that decision. LucSaffre (talk) 19:57, 4 July 2020 (UTC)

The only appropriate response is “Jawohl, mein Führer!” And they wonder why people do not like them. Kleuske (talk) 21:20, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
Just to state the obvious: this is a wholly inappropriate personal attack by Kleuske, that is uncalled for. Effeietsanders (talk) 03:26, 12 July 2020 (UTC)