Talk:Community Capacity Development

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Is this a sort of follow-up/expansion of Manual for small and new Wikipedias? --Nemo 06:54, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

  • It was not conceived as such, no. There is certainly some topical overlap, but the most obvious difference is that this initiative is about identifying specific communities interested in a proactive development of a specific capacity through a concrete, planned, and evaluated project, and then executing those projects.
  • So unlike a written resource that passively offers potential guidance and advice to smaller communities, this project aims at identifying capacity-building potential and community buy-in, and then proceeding to run capacity-building projects which would, ideally, take a community from no-capacity (or low-capacity) in one of the focus areas to some-capacity, in a measurable way and with community support throughout. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 01:23, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

Which communities?[edit]

(pasted from Wikimedia-l)

This is a very interesting initiative. But can I get some clarification as to the scope of "communities" under discussion here? Having read through the material, I see "Sign up below if you are interested in implementing this in your local community" appears on all 6 pages and there is mention of face-to-face meetings, so I have the impression you mean a geographically-co-located community but I have no real sense of the intended scale here.

For example, in my own case, are you talking about Brisbane or about Queensland or about Australia? Or are we discussing the entire en.WP community here? From the references to face-to-face meetings, I think we must be talking about Brisbane. But if we are discussing policies, traditionally that is a whole of en.WP community issue, so is it being proposed that local communities can adopt their own policies, e.g. notability that applies within their region? If so, that sounds an excellent idea.

In terms of welcoming new users, I am all for this. We already have an Australian template {{subst:welcome-au}} for that purpose already (and of course could easily create more localised variants of it). But can we tell if a new contributor is Australian as new contributors rarely have user pages that reveal such information? At the moment, it's a case of stumbling over them in one's watchlist and assuming they are Australian because they have contributed to some Australian-related article. It would be much more helpful if we could we get some feed of new contributors that appear to be coming from an Australian IP address to assist in this welcoming process. And how do we prevent others from "welcoming" new contributors in a not-so-pleasant way by undoing their contributions or a nasty message? Because I suspect one negative experience can easily outweigh a positive experience.

Could you provide some more clarity on the scale of the communities you are considering as obviously that impacts on the kinds of solutions/proposals that might be put forward. User:Kerry Raymond

  • Yes, the proactive part of this initiative is aimed at "emerging communities" (I am working on a public definition of that term, to be published soon), and the English Wikipedia is a special case: it is not an "emerging community" as a wiki, being large and mature; but it is also the main wiki contributed to from many geographic "emerging communities", so it is partially in scope.
  • For most of the identified capacities, the relevant "community" means the whole wiki community i.e. not just the Brisbane editing community, for example. (Though that may certainly be a useful frame for some work!) On the other hand, the Communications capacity has everything to do with per-country and per-language teams, as it is only practical for Australian Wikipedians to, for example, appear on Australian TV, or to track local media coverage or distribute press releases about local wiki events.
  • Since we are determined to proceed only with capacity-building projects actively welcomed and supported by a significant portion of the community, it is unlikely that the English Wikipedia would be selected -- in this pilot phase -- for the Community governance capacity, since obtaining community-wide support is a much bigger challenge there, and we would rather pilot governance issues with smaller communities and gain more experience before considering getting the English Wikipedia community to consider a project in that area.
  • (The passive parts of the initiative are any resources and tools that may get developed as part of the CCD work, which would of course be available to any interested community.) Asaf (WMF) (talk) 01:23, 1 September 2015 (UTC)


(pasted from Wikimedia-l)

Obviously discussions on these six topics are not new as they are frequently discussed on a number of Wikimedia mailing lists and forums. Ideas are often put forward that attract some who say it will work wonderfully, while others doubt if it will work at all, while a third group think it will do harm. One of the issues that frequently arises is the need for some capacity to experiment Will there be any support for testing ideas? That is, to be bold and try something instead of just talking about it? E.g. repeal policy XYZ for a month and see if it makes a difference and whether it is for better or worse. And of course some ideas might require engineering support to test. Will that be available?

To illustrate a concrete example, what if we wanted to trial a grace period for new users (one of the example ideas)? Right now, it is very easy for anyone to undo a newbie's edit and WP:NOBITE is routinely ignored. So, to implement a grace period, we would probably need to do some re-engineering, perhaps require an extra step in the "undo" process where the reverter had to acknowledge that this was a new user within the grace period and then asked if the edit appeared to be good faith (and then directed on to more appropriate ways to respond to good faith edits by newbies) or bad faith (allowed to continue with the undo action). Will there be support for experimentation or for engineering needed for experimentation? Will there be support from the metrics team around those experiments to collect appropriate qualitative and quantitative data to assist drawing conclusions as to whether the experiments were beneficial or not?

It seems to me that without support for experimentation it will be difficult for communities to put forward ideas as even the formulation of ideas will be bogged down from a lack of evidence. As you say, talk is cheap and it is clear that years of talking have not made a great difference. It's time to experiment if only on a small scale (a subset of users, a subset of articles) etc. Are the resources to do this available? User:Kerry Raymond

  • Yes, experimentation is very much one of the tools we want to support as a possible strategy in capacity-building. However, see my note above about community buy-in; in the context of the CCD projects, we will not conduct any experimentation on communities without broad consent. Indeed, we (WMF) won't conduct any experiments at all; we will support interested communities in designing and effecting meaningful experiments on their own.
  • For those communities we select for the pilot where there would be broad support for experimentation, there will be some resources to support evaluation and even some light engineering effort. Don't expect major features or huge overhauls, but we'll do our best to do much with little. If the CCD pilot proves to be a meaningful and constructive way to support communities in evolving and growing, it is possible we will extend and scale it, including the resources available to it in future rounds. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 01:23, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

Overlap with existing initiatives[edit]

(pasted from Wikimedia-l)

Thank you for sharing these news! I think building capacities is key for our movement and the way this initiative is presented seems to me very relevant and useful.

I am wondering to what extent / how this articulates :

  • with the programme and work done at Wikimedia Conference this year, where most of these topics where covered
  • with the follow-up day of WMCON at Wikimania in Mexico where some sessions where dedicated to these topics
  • with the work done by several subcommunities (such as the Volunteer Support Network, for instance, who - I guess - is dealing with most of these issues)
  • Do you plan to map and embark the several existing initiatives around these topics across our movement, to build on what's already existing, and how?
  • Do you plan to have one contact point per topic at WMF to make co-creation and cooperation as efficient as possible?
  • What is the actual target group of the initiative? Only "Emerging Communities" or also already "emerged" communities?

It seems to me that there are parallel actions aiming at the same goal here, and it would be great to see them dialogue, converge or even merge rather than dissipating our efforts on such important matters. What do you think? [...]

  • This initiative is certainly informed by past discussions across the movement, including the recent ones at WMCON and at the follow-up day at Wikimanía in Mexico. But as I wrote to Nemo above, the goal here is not only to create written resources and tools, but to identify and pursue specific capacity-building projects with interested communities. In this, it is as far as I can tell different from all these other efforts, though the topics certainly do overlap.
  • I think there may well be opportunities to tie some existing work or forums -- such as the VSN -- to some of the specific projects we come up with, once we do. In the meantime, I encourage you to contribute to the Resources section in each of the capacity pages.
  • I am the primary contact point for everything related to this initiative. Once specific capacity-building projects are underway, other WMF staff are likely to be involved as well, as their specialties are needed, but I would remain the primary or default contact for coordination and collaboration.
  • See my responses to Kerry above regarding target groups. Our research has focused on emerging communities from what we used to call "the Global South", and it is still our strategy to direct most proactive work to those regions, so it is likely those would be the first communities we pick for this pilot phase (we can only support a handful of projects at first). Nevertheless, we expect a good deal of benefits to emerge from documentation, research, and tool-building that may be done as part of those projects, such as, for example, a comparative policy review, or a tool to track some specific policy experiment.
  • We welcome your thoughts and suggestions as we build the first specific CCD projects, and further down the road. Asaf (WMF) (talk) 01:23, 1 September 2015 (UTC)