Talk:Community open letter on renaming

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Looking for community advisors to Board committee on Brand[edit]

Dear all,

The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees has convened an ad hoc committee on the Movement Brand Project. Three trustees were selected to head its work, in close collaboration with the Brand team - Raju Narisetti, James Heilman and myself. Seeking to improve the Brand Project process, we are looking for community advisors to give input from various Wikimedia movement perspectives. The goal is to re-launch the brand discussions with a clear and transparent process in March 2021, and to conclude the conversations with a decision by the end of the fiscal year (July 2021).

We are writing to you today to ask that you nominate 2 members from your group to join us as advisors to the Brand Committee.

What will advisors do?[edit]

The Brand Committee is charged with developing and proposing changes to the Movement Brand Project process. The committee will produce a proposal that the full Board of Trustees will review and hopefully agree to adopt, if aligned. Advisors will support us in recognizing key stakeholder community perspectives on branding needs, processes and decision-making. They will provide input and comments on proposed changes to process and offer working solutions to challenges the committee encounters. Advisors will be able to share ideas and ask questions to their communities, as needed. The full process will be vetted and endorsed by advisors before the Board of Trustees makes its final decision on adopting these proposed changes to process and decision-making. After the proposed changes to process and decision-making are adopted, the new process will be launched in March.

What kind of commitment is needed?[edit]

Advisors can expect 6-9 hours of activity a month, in January and February 2021, though we will be aiming to launch the joint process with a first meeting during the second half of December. There will be opportunities to join committee meetings with Board members & staff, or to watch recordings of the meetings and provide feedback asynchronously. Documents and proposals will be shared among advisors for comment, review and suggestions.

What kind of advisor is the committee seeking?[edit]

The Brand Committee is looking for a small set of advisors who are able to engage thoughtfully on the importance of branding to the Wikimedia Movement’s 2030 goals. Advisors will be asked to reflect on more than processes: they will be asked to think about the strategic goals of the brand names and logos within the movement, and how to equitably structure decisions around them. Ideal advisors therefore have experience representing the movement to the public, as well as understand the internal needs of the movement’s work as something multidimensional and open. The number of advisors will be between 7 - 9 people, in an effort to support active participation within the committee, and to keep the process on track, to “un-pause” in March. By then we strive for a clear sense of a process with which the broader community will be able to engage. We have identified 3 main groups we would like advisors from:

  • 2 advisors from affiliate leadership (Chairpersons or EDs)
  • 2 advisors from the community, specifically, people who participated in authoring the Community Open Letter on Renaming (COLOR)
  • 2 additional advisors from the global south / emerging and underrepresented communities*
  • 1 advisor from AffCom

Please note:[edit]

  • As the global south / emerging and underrepresented communities include a variety of different groups, we will be actively approaching Wiki Indaba, ESEAP, IberoCoop, the India lists and the Brazilian community, asking each to nominate one advisor (if I have missed a group you believe to qualify, please let me know privately and I’ll be sure to approach them as well). Out of all applications from these groups, 2 will be chosen to complement the other 5 representatives (2 from affiliates, 2 from COLOR, 1 from AffCom). Our goal would be to choose from groups that are not already represented by other chosen advisors, with a special effort to be as diverse and inclusive as possible.
  • The committee might also directly invite up to 2 additional advisors, as it sees fit.

How should advisors be nominated and added to the committee?[edit]

The committee is requesting all advisor nominations to be sent no later than January 31st, 2021. The committee will review applications and make its final decision on advisors during February.

We are asking your group to determine who will be the 2 people to best represent your perspective. Please email shani(_AT_) with your nominations and include the following details: Subject line: Nomination for the Brand Committee Advisors Task Force; Full name; Wiki Username; Affiliation; A short (!) paragraph on why you would like to be part of the process and how you believe you can contribute.

Thank you all for your participation and contribution to this process! Shani Evenstein Sigalov, On Behalf of the Brand Committee, Board of Trustees, Wikimedia Foundation. Shani (WMF) (talk) 22:10, 28 November 2020 (UTC)Reply

!! Important update -- We have received feedback from different communities and individuals asking us for more time to nominate advisors. The Brand Committee has just met has unanimously agreed to push the nomination deadline to January 31st. Best, Shani (WMF) (talk) 22:22, 3 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

@Shani (WMF), Guy Macon, and Alsee: What happened to this anyway? January 31st is almost here and I am unaware of discussions on major projects. Not that I encourage anyone to discuss this. If you move ahead without the support or involvement of major projects, that would be a real laugh. Please just tell me that the renaming plans have been canceled. You'd make my day. Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 11:14, 29 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hello, @Alexis Jazz:. We are awaiting the names of the final representatives from all categories. I will update after the 31st. In terms of next steps, the Committee will be meeting with the Community Advisors to discuss 3 things: 1) The Case of Branding (which is not just about name changes, and was mentioned in the COLOR letter as missing); 2) A design for a community-wide consultation, what it will include and what not; 3) Recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding the process and timeline. The Board will be meeting at the end of Feb, and the Committee will present what was discussed, after which the Board will make a decision regarding a possible change in timeline (including perhaps changing the "unpause" date, according to feedback from Advisors), the actual process, etc. Again, I will update every step of the way. Finally, please note that in the category of people who wrote the COLOR letter, we still need 2 representatives. @Pharos: just posted about it below. You seem passionate about the topic and care for how the process will look like, what will be included (or not), etc. This is part of what the Advisors will be discussing with the Committee. I hope that you consider participating; if not in the Committee, then later on when we actually "unpause". Best, Shani (WMF) (talk) 20:23, 29 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Shani (WMF): While I appreciate all the maybes and possibles and perhapses, you are simply moving ahead while big wikis like enwiki think it's such a joke they can't even be bothered to nominate any advisor? On the other hand, maybe it doesn't matter. The "underrepresented communities" (2 advisors) want to rename, "affiliate leadership" seems to like that too (2 advisors) and I'm guessing you won't even need the vote from AffCom because 2 + 2 = 4 and 4 is a majority when you have 7 advisors in total. It's a home run then, never mind that 9 out of 10 actual community members opposes renaming. Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 23:24, 29 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Alexis Jazz: 73 affiliates have signed the COLOR letter, the global situation of affiliates is perhaps not as you think.--Pharos (talk) 00:17, 30 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Pharos: I'm not very familiar with AffCom (how many affiliates are there in total? how is the AffCom advisor selected?), but it probably won't be a tiebreaker anyway. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 00:45, 30 January 2021 (UTC)Reply

Questions & Comments[edit]

I think there's a bit of a mixed message here. On one hand, the board is claiming that it doesn't have the resources to organize an election. On the other hand, the board is wasting its energies on rebranding. Why? TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 22:28, 28 November 2020 (UTC)Reply

Hello, TomDotGov. Thank you for your question. There is no mixed message. As far as I know, the board never claimed that "it doesn't have the resources to organize an election". At the beginning of COVID, the Board resolved to postpone elections by up to a year due to uncertainties that COVID-19 created. I happen to know that the Board Governance Committee is working on it these days, and will soon post an update about the elections to the community. If you are unsatisfied with this answer, you are welcome to post your questions directly to the committee. Unrelatedly, the Board has also resolved to postpone discussions on Brand till March, and to create an Ad Hoc committee that will deal with the process in collaboration with the community, which is exactly what we are doing here. The Brand discussions are in sync with our 2030 strategic discussions and the Board has never resolved to stop these discussions. So while I understand that you may be frustrated about the elections postponement, I ask that you direct it to the appropriate channel(s) and that this thread is kept on topic. I welcome any further questions you (or others) may have regarding the Brand Committee. Thank you, Shani (WMF) (talk) 23:59, 28 November 2020 (UTC)Reply
I fully agree with Tom, spending even a cent or a minute on this useless branding stuff, while important things like elections are postponed, is complete and utter nonsense. As long as the Board has just the current unelected, thus diminished, validity, it should not even think about anything else but getting validated again by a proper election. After that, the new bylaws, strategic processes and UCoC, and then, once all that is finished and properly vetted by the community, someone can perhaps start with this new branding stuff. But of course without the use of Wikipedia, that's completely off the table. Branding is so far down the priority line, nobody should be bothered with it now. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 01:09, 29 November 2020 (UTC)Reply
Shani (WMF), the board is telling us that "The current members of the Board are stretched thin" - that's the jusitification for the proposed changes in board governance. In the resolution postponing the elections, we're told "the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic has created an unprecedented burden on the Wikimedia communities and the Wikimedia Foundation ... that burden limits the ability of all stakeholders, including potential trustee candidates, community voters, the Elections Committee, the Board of Trustees, and Foundation staff, to participate in the process for the community selection of trustees". And this page points out the renaming should be treated with the same priority as the Wikimedia foundation elections.
I'd say that this is as good a place as any to determine if the community should exercise its oversight of the foundation and board, by determining if the community should participate in these tasks. After all, this page is an ongoing example of one of the many ways that the community exercises oversight of the Board. In this case, the community should indicate that the Board should not waste time with things like rebranding and board governance, until the delayed election has been conducted. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 02:02, 29 November 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Shani (WMF): You have more important things to do. Put this whole rebranding project in the freezer, like, right now. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 18:24, 3 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Shani (WMF): or anyone... can anyone explain what the Foundation thinks it's accomplishing here? There are basically 4 possible paths forwards:
  1. The committee somehow winds up sticking with a Wikipedia-based plan. The community won't give a damn about the stupid committee. Any Wikipedia-based rebranding is (nearly) unanimously unacceptable. Any attempt to move forwards with a Wikipedia-based rebranding will result in a destructive housefire.
  2. Go with some random rebranding like "The Unicorn Foundation". The community would consider it a dumb waste of money, but wouldn't actively oppose it. The problem of course, is that it would indeed be an utterly pointless waste. The Foundation would have to start building up the random new brand.
  3. Identify some compelling alternate branding (not Wikipedia-based), which would actually be a worthwhile change from the current brand. Insofar as I'm aware, no one has come up with any compelling alternate. If a compelling alternate proposal exists, the Foundation should share it with us now. If a compelling alternative has not yet been identified, you can't just demand one into existence.
  4. Scrapping the rebranding project (or scale it back to logos and such).
Option 2 is pointless, Option 3 you should just tell us the alternate brand ideas now, and option 4 should just be announced now. I hope I'm mistaken, but I fear someone thinks (or hopes) the committee is somehow going to legitimize rolling forwards with option 1. Nope, the committee members have absolutely no legitimacy to overrule consensus by force or by decree. If the Foundation doesn't know that, it truly has no idea how the community works. Trying to use the committee to advance a Wikipedia-rebranding will still result in a housefire.
So... why? What does the Foundation think it's accomplishing with this committee? Alsee (talk) 21:59, 3 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
Hello all, I'll repeat what I just wrote to User:Sänger on the 2030 movement brand project, I think it's relevant here as well. If after reading this, there are still questions, please let me know. First, thank you for your comments, which I personally found to be on point and relevant (thought the tone of some of them could be toned down a notch). As of now, we have a Board resolution to "un-pause" brand on March and finalize the work by the end of this fiscal year. However, hearing requests from community for more time, the Committee resolved today to extend the advisors nomination deadline to January 31st 2021. Note that advisors are meant to help us design a better process and decide on a suitable timeline (rather than start community-wide discussions right away). I also heard you about priorities (which was also raised by others). The Committee will also be recommending a revised timeline for the Brand project to the full Board in the coming December Board meeting. Additionally, I can share that the Board is working on changes to its Committees work and (among other things) is looking to create new structures that will support a more systematic way of working with the community and prioritizing different needs (both from WMF & community). It'll take some time, but it is coming. Finally, a gentle remind that we are all on the same side. This Committee is listening carefully to both the Board, WMF staff and the community, and is attempting to find solutions that align all needs and best serve our mission and vision. So even if it's challenging at this point, please keep in mind that this Committee has just started its work. Assume good faith and give us a chance. We are hear to listen and serve. Best, Shani (WMF) (talk) 00:12, 4 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Shani (WMF): I don't believe that your reply addresses the options that Alsee took the time to lay out. The Foundation is asking the community to devote between 84 and 162 person-hours to this project. (6-9 hours per month, 7-9 people, and 2 months.) That doesn't include the time spent by the members of the brand committee (part of the overburdened board), or the Foundation staff that will have to expend their energies on this. Before asking the community to divert substantial resources from more pressing matters to this project, it makes sense to address in good faith objections to the proposed process. It also seems that the Foundation wants to limit community discussion (in this case, to members of the community you select on criteria you also select), which is a mistake that was repeatedly made during the Brand process, and one that should be avoided going forwards. Instead, why don't the members of the committee start participating in good faith, either here or on the Brand Project page? TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 05:01, 4 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
TomDotGov, first, I believe I do participate in good faith, here, on the Brand Project page and in any other place on / off Wiki. I am aware that some people simply don't know me, and also understand there may be lack of trust towards the WMF / Board. I therefore urge all of you to judge me by my actions, not my words. If you do, you'll quickly find that I am a woman of my word and that when I commit to doing something, I follow up on it. You'll also find that I do listen. This is the only way of trust-building with people who don't know me yet (and with those who do and might judge me now that I am part of the BoT).
Per your questions, there appears to be some misunderstandings and I'll try to address them all:
1) "The Foundation wants to limit community discussion" -- On the contrary. The advisors are meant to help the Committee design a proper and inclusive process of engagement with the larger community. It is not meant to make the choices of what we end up doing with Branding. After the process is designed with advisors (reps from the community) and a proper community consultation takes place, the results will be used to inform the Board's decision. As of now, a decision has not been made, as there was no valid consultation process. The Committee is aiming at creating a valid consultation process in collaboration with the community, and invest volunteer & staff time into it, as the Board still believes this is a topic that needs to be properly explored. Note that the original request to explore Branding came from the community and was raised right from the early days of the strategic process.
2) "to members of the community you select on, criteria you also select" -- this is simply wrong, and probably a misunderstanding of the process I described. We are intentionally not choosing the advisors ourselves. The only thing we have done is identify 3 categories of "stakeholders", and have requested each group to send us 2 advisors: a) the community at large, specifically the people who wrote the COLOR letter and requested for the Branding process that was on the go to pause (so people who specifically oppose the process); b) affiliates, who may be affected from a brand renaming; c) emerging / underrepresented communities, that may also be effected by a brand renaming, but that for various reasons usually don't end up being vocal on Meta / on EnWiki). They are to bring their perspective to the table and help us design a valid process of consultation with the larger community.
3) "I don't believe that your reply addresses the options that user:Alsee took the time to lay out" -- True. I did not. As I wrote user:Sänger on the brand project page, I did not answer any question about either the process itself nor the results of the process, because I do not hold the answers to these questions. These things will be determined with the help of community advisors (the process itself), and we do not have the results of the community-wide consultation, as it did not happen yet. So far, we've been hearing different things from different parts of the movement. There seems to be a scale of answers ranging from "This is the worst idea and should be taken off the table right now", to "This is what we've been waiting for, for a long time, so bring it on already". As of now, we did not have a truly global & inclusive process that was considered valid by the community. We had an attempted of a process that was criticized by the community for being flawed, and which resulted in the community asking for the process to pause / stop. The Board listened and paused. The Board, however, is still convinced that this is an important topic to explore, especially considering our 2030 strategic goals, and that the request to explore Branding came from the community in the first place. So the simple answer to user:Alsee's question "Why? What does the Foundation think it's accomplishing with this committee?", is that this Ad Hoc Committee was formed to make sure that we create a valid process & consultation with the community, one that is designed with the community, while considering different stakeholders' perspectives. This is where we are at the moment. So for now, all options are on the table for discussion, until decided otherwise by the people who'll design the process. Naturally, everything that was done thus far, will be considered and will inform the new design process. But the main focus at this point in time, is making sure that moving forward, we do that with a fair and inclusive process that the community feels good about and wants to engage in. After the creation of a valid process and a proper consultation, the Board will be in a better position to make an informed decision. I wholeheartedly believe we are just not there yet. I encourage you (and others) to stay engaged and offer yourselves in your communities as advisors if you feel strongly about this topic. And as I promised, I'll keep updating this page about where we are in the process, as we advance, step by step. Shani (WMF) (talk) 02:27, 5 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Shani (WMF): I understand that you are trying to participate in good faith, which is why I think pointing out where you failed to address an important point of view is useful. At the same time, you are one person on a multiple person committee, and as far as I can tell the only one that is publicly participating at all.
1) A major problems with the Brand Project up until this point has been a tendency to prioritize bespoke means of communicating with the communities over the methods that have served us well in the past, talk page discussions and RfCs. Right now, the Board and the Committee appears to be attempting to repeat that mistake. Instead of allowing the community to choose the manner we used to communicate with the Foundation, the Committee is attempting to create a new means, and will (one assumes) then only allow communication through that mechanism. What's more, it seems like the earliest that such communications will be allowed is over three months away. That's limiting communications.
2) In your original post, it says. "The committee will review applications and make its final decision on advisors during February." That would mean you (the Committee, not you personally) plan to select the advisors.
3) According to the Movement Brand Project Timeline, the brand project began in either February 2019 (with planning), or January 2020. Since that time, there have been multiple discussions with the community about if the it is acceptable for the Foundation to use the name Wikipedia. The first was in the initial research and planning survey, that showed roughly 3:1 opposition to the use of Wikipedia in branding. That increased over time to the 12:1 consensus reported in the RfC. There have also been many informal discussions, on talk pages, on mailing lists, and in straw polls, all of which came to the conclusion.
It's hard to understand how the Committee does not hold the answers to these questions, when to the rest of the community, the answer is clear. The community has conducted a process to determine the answer to those questions. That process took a long time to come to a final conclusion, though consensus has been clear since April. I find it concerning that you write "After the creation of a valid process and a proper consultation", as I believe that's what something that has already been accomplished. It's disrespectful for the Board to dismiss the work that went into that process without providing reasoning, and doing so harms relations between the Foundation and community.
At the very least, I believe that if the Foundation wants advisors to help it design a new process, it's vital to express what you think is wrong with the completed process. If only because helping the Foundation accept the consensus against using Wikipedia in branding requires a different skill-set than helping the Foundation design a process for branding that doesn't use Wikipedia as a name. I think the best place for this process to occur is on talk pages, where we can address each other's points and try to achieve consensus, and I can't think of any advice I could give other that "we've finished the process, and it's time for the Foundation to begin respecting the results, and addressing the still-open hard questions as to if rebranding is possible without usurping the name Wikipedia for something other than an encyclopedia." TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 14:44, 5 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
TomDotGov, I'm assuming others will join in the future. These days are filled with other Board work and community work happening (like the Strategy talks this weekend). As I serve as Chair of this Committee, all I can do is lead by example. To your points:
1)I agree on some things and disagree on others. I won't get into everything you wrote about changing the means of communications, as it's out of scope for this discussion. I will however stress that the Board of Trustees' work is done via Committees. That is our mechanism of operation. As part of this work, we will be engaging with the community, on Wiki, and use other means, such as mailing lists and social media, to draw attention to the topic and make sure that we are more inclusive (which hasn't always been the case with talk pages and RfCs for non-English speakers). This has become the best practice on other initiatives, including the Strategic process, and we are drawing on that experience. As for not allowing for discussions for a few more months -- well, the wiki is open and free. You are welcome to discuss what you want. But I would advise to be mindful of the fact that the has been a community request to pause, and a Board resolution as a result of this request, to pause until March. I'm already on record saying that this timeline might change as we go along and the Committee might recommend to extend that deadline, considering other movement priorities. So to be clear, with the exception of my request for advisors, this process is still paused.
2) There is a missing context to that. If you have carefully read the "Please note" section of my request, then you know why. 5 people of the 7 will be directly added to the Committee (2 from the community, 2 from affiliates, 1 from AffCom). These advisors will be selected by their groups and will be added. We also wanted to include another category, that of emerging / less represented communities, and have 2 additional advisors from there. The only "selection" the Committee will do would be to choose 2 out of 5 nominated by these communities, because we have at least 5 of them. As mentioned, the selection will be done to compliment the other 5. So. There's context to that sentence.
3) I head you. And again, remind you that a) every consensus that was reached, will inform us going forward; and b) the Brand Process is not only about the name change of the WMF.
I believe I have addressed this previously, but will say that taking sentences out of the context in which they were laid out, is not helpful to our discussion. When I was talking about the a "valid process", I was referring specifically to the survey, that the community found to be problematic methodologically. I'm also already on record saying that every other valid process regarding Brand will be taken into account moving forward. And part of the work we'll be doing before "unpausing" would be to curate all the information and lay a clear case on why this process is even necessary, which we are hoping will help inform the community discussions moving forward. As for your last comment, that too, will be considered. I can promise at least that. Shani (WMF) (talk) 23:36, 6 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Shani (WMF):, I'll note that you (the Board or Committee) chose the time to un-pause the project. And that's what I think is happening here, we're discussing the next phase of the project, which means the project is in operation.
1) I disagree that changing the means of communications is out of scope for this page. The COLOR letter says "Any future work should be restarted only in a way that supports equitable decision-making among all stakeholders." Given that you are restarting work, I think it's fair for us to discuss if the proposed procedure is equitable, and to determine how it can be improved. Right now, the procedure you're proposing is not, and will lead to the same problems that the previous Movement Brand Project did. Probably the best way to think about it is that this page is one of the places where Board oversight has occurred, and so we're discussing if the Board's actions are in line with that oversight.
2) I don't believe that I misinterpreted what you wrote. In the larger context of "How should advisors be nominated and added to the committee? The committee is requesting all advisor nominations to be sent no later than January 31st, 2021. The committee will review applications and make its final decision on advisors during February. We are asking your group to determine who will be the 2 people to best represent your perspective. Please email (Shani) with your nominations..." It's pretty clear that you're asking groups to make nominations, and that you'll make the final decision. If you want to say that everyone nominated by the groups will be mechanically approved, then sure. But that's not what you said.
I can sort of see how you think I might have misunderstood you when you wrote "make sure that we create a valid process & consultation with the community", and that it probably referred to "We had an attempted of a process". Part of it is that the movement is one of three equal bodies involved in the Brand Project, as it has been constructed. After the Foundation failed to properly evaluate if the , the community stepped in, created one, and brought it to completion. Now that work is continuing on the Brand project, it's important to discuss if a bespoke process should replace a finished movement process, and if it's worth expending effort creating a bespoke process that won't produce results. One of the biggest problems with the Brand Project - what lead to this oversight being required - is that the Foundation has been acting like the movement hasn't successfully conducted the work the Foundation failed to, simply because it didn't produce the result the Foundation was looking for.
I think that there is a lot to be said for conducting a logo design contest for the WMF (similar to the one we had for mediawiki), and for figuring out ways to make fundraising and inter-wiki work less confusing. But if the community's role in planning the project remains disrespected, failure is assured. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 20:41, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
TomDotGov, yes, the Board has chosen when to "unpause, and also chose that while we do that we are to re-group and get ready for unpausing, which is what the Committee is here to do, in collaboration with Staff & the community. Nothing will be discussed or decided without the community. As for the timing, I am already on record saying that we will be recommending the Board a changed timeline, as the community requested more time to choose its representatives. I'm also on record promising to keep updating the two pages (this and the Brand 2030 page), with updates after every meeting we have, so there is transparency as much as possible. And no. We are not supposed to be discussing the next phase until we unpause. Only the Committee should be dealing with it, in preparation, so when we unpause, it's is done in a valid, inclusive, constructive and efficient way.
1) "it's fair for us to discuss if the proposed procedure is equitable, and to determine how it can be improved. Right now, the procedure you're proposing is not" -- you are entitled to your opinions, but we believe that forming the Committee and working with 7 advisors from the community, we are progressing in "a way that supports equitable decision-making among all stakeholders." And again, we are not starting the actual work, only preparing for the unpause moment.
2) "It's pretty clear that you're asking groups to make nominations, and that you'll make the final decision" -- no, it is not. Please read what I wrote carefully. The Committee will be adding 5 advisors chosen directly by the community (2 from COLOR, 2 from affiliates, 1 from AffCom). Those representatives will be on the Committee after being chosen by their community. Only for the last group (under-represented communities), we will have 5 nominations, one from each of the emerging / under-represented communities that we have identified, out of which we'll choose 2 that best complement the other advisors. That was made clear under "Please note". I believe I have already made that clear.
Already commented that the process is not over, as the Brand project is not only about the WMF name changes and there is still quite a lot to discuss. As for "the Foundation has been acting like the movement hasn't successfully conducted the work the Foundation failed to, simply because it didn't produce the result the Foundation was looking for", I hear you. And again, I re-iterate, this Committee will be extra diligent in making sure this is not the case moving forward. Everything that was already done / discussed will be taken into consideration moving forward.
There is indeed a lot that still needs to be discussed. I remain more optimistic than you and as I mentioned to you above, will let this Committee's actions speak to itself. I have made some promises here that I intend to keep, including keeping the work transparent, updating the community, and making sure that whatever process is designed with the community representatives, when we unpause, it will happen on Wiki and respecting community traditions. Shani (WMF) (talk) 22:56, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Shani (WMF): and also chose that while we do that we are to re-group and get ready for unpausing, which is what the Committee is here to do
This is not how pausing works.
as the community requested more time to choose its representatives
I doubt the community needs more time. Just throw out this whole "committee" idea. It's bad. We explained to you why it's bad. (you won't throw it out, will you?)
Only the Committee should be dealing with it, in preparation, so when we unpause,
This is not how pausing works.
you are entitled to your opinions, but we believe..
Let me throw that right back at you.
..that forming the Committee and working with 7 advisors from the community, we are progressing in "a way that supports equitable decision-making among all stakeholders."
You are entitled to your opinions, but we believe that's bullshit.
And again, we are not starting the actual work, only preparing for the unpause moment.
This is not how pausing works.
one from each of the emerging / under-represented communities that we have identified
Just don't. Instead, go figure out why these groups don't participate in discussions and polls on meta. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 12:54, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Shani (WMF): Oh dear I am so going to write an essay about this. My essays are notorious. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 10:28, 4 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
I have only one rule of engagement from my end, one which has guided me since my early days as a Wikimedian and before that in life -- I welcome criticism and different points of view than mine; but I will only engage with people who are able to communicate that in a respectful manner. I do not, and will not ever, accept bullying / personal attacks / abusive behavior / threats of any sort, from anyone. This is my personal limit, Board member or not, so I ask whoever is interested in my replies to engage in a respectful way. We are all volunteers, and I would like to spend my volunteering time in a positive and constructive environment, no matter how difficult / charged the topic is. User:Alexis Jazz, you are welcome to try again. I'll do my best to answer questions that are on point and written with basic respect to the other. Shani (WMF) (talk) 02:27, 5 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
The comment below was restored by Shani (WMF) after the author agreed to its removal.
This is always what I envision when I see someone asking to AGF. If you need to demand to AGF, you're probably in the wrong.
@Shani (WMF): If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. I treat everyone with the respect they deserve. And anyone who wants to can shout at me and even call me names if they wish. It happens remarkably little though, despite me doing plenty of controversial things. But I can typically defend my actions, and when I can't, I apologize for them. Questions that were on point have been asked. Your answers have been fairly padded but provided limited proper answers. I'll be honest: you sound like customer service. Really really friendly and highly understanding of the situation, but when it comes down to it useless and powerless. You asked for people to assume good faith. I ask to AGF maybe once a year or so. And when I do, I absolutely hate doing it. Because most of the time, people see (without me asking) that I mean well, and in the other case it's a vandal shouting humorously poorly spelled insults, which I find funny and doesn't require me to ask to AGF. If you find yourself repeatedly having to ask to AGF, you should really ask yourself if there is absolutely no freakin' way you are in the wrong.
Raystorm promised that "the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees has resolved to pause the Movement Brand Project through March 1, 2021" and as it's not even remotely March 1, 2021 yet you have broken that promise. Trust erodes quickly when you do that kind of thing. And please, please PLEASE don't even try to weasel yourself out of this one using semantics. A promise was made and broken and an apology for that is the only appropriate response.
and we do not have the results of the community-wide consultation,
Luckily, I do!! I looked it up and 586 users voted of which 92.15% opposed. That's a fucking landslide! I apologize for suggesting to "put this whole rebranding project in the freezer" earlier: don't freeze it. Kill it with fire.Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 12:34, 5 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
User:Alexis Jazz, oh, I love cooking! And when I do, I prefer a relaxed atmosphere. The food tastes better this way. In other words, this is not Hells Kitchen or any other Gordon Ramsay reality show. I am here and will remain here, whether you like it or not, so you might as well try to find ways to engage productively. As for using the phrase "Assume good faith", I'm sorry it makes your skin crawl (what a shame that we have come to that as a community!). If that's the case, then by all means, strike it. I don't believe I have over-used it as you suggested below, but as I invited TomDotGov above, judge me by my actions, not my words. Thank you for writing that I sound like Customer Service. I see it as a compliment, because to me, the role of been a Trustee is first and foremost one of service -- to the WMF (to which I also have a fiduciary duty to), to the Community and the movement, and to the world that is enjoying the fruits of our joined labor. As for me being "useless and powerless" -- ah... the amount of crap times I've had to deal with White, Privileged Men (and sometimes women), telling me what I can and cannot do... I've stopped listening to these voices years ago, otherwise I wouldn't be where I am today. These voices only encourage me to continue. So no. I do not believe that it is true. I actually think I am the right woman, at the right place, at the right time. But then again, history (or rather, the community) will judge me in retrospect, based on my actions. So, we'll see about that... Despite the unpleasant tone of your words (which I attribute this time to you been very passionate about this topic, and to not knowing me well) I believe that like in your case, most people see that I mean well and act upon it. So no, I do not find that "I'm in the wrong" here. As for pausing, we are still paused. As I mentioned above to TomDotGov, the community has requested to pause, which the Board resolved to do. I, BTW, was one of the loudest voices in the Board room encouraging this pause. And no, we have not broken that promise. My request for community advisors is in line with the Board resolution that an Ad Hoc Committee is formed, in order to work, during the pause, on the process, so when we "unpause" in March (or later), we have a more informed and clear process to move forward with. I (and others in the Committee) could not imagine doing so without the community's involvement, hence my request for advisors. Per the WMF name change, again, as mentioned above, this RfC will be considered moving forward, as will any other valid process the community contributed to. The Brand process is not only about that, though, and it remains incomplete, with several open issues to discuss together. The Committee (with its advisors) will do its best to facilitate that process. Finally, I request again that you take your tone down a notch (or two). No matter how difficult it is, it is easier for people to participate and engage when there is good and collaborative atmosphere. I hope this message will encourage you to lower your sarcasm level, and keep engaging constructively. Shani (WMF) (talk) 00:23, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Alexis Jazz: More Meta:Civility, please. There are ways to express your points in a more productive manner. --Yair rand (talk) 00:35, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Yair rand: My comment was knowingly removed by Alsee in an edit conflict, who kindly suggested I wait for the response to their inquiry as I may be feeling too strongly about this. I agreed. I even fixed a typo in Alsee's reply without restoring my comments. Shani (WMF) restored my comments themselves.
@Shani (WMF): You didn't have to restore my comment and reply to it, nor did I expect this, but you did. I respect that, though an advance notice would have been nice. Your ping never arrived by the way, mw:Echo only works when a link to a user page and signature are combined in a single edit and [1] didn't contain a new signature. (suggestion: a link to a user page in an edit summary always results in a notification, regardless of the presence of a signature)
The phrase if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen is as old as 1942 and coined by Harry S. Truman, well before Ramsay started shouting at people. When I use the phrase, I'm not referring to Hell's Kitchen.
I am here and will remain here, whether you like it or not
This might be confusion caused by the Ramsay association, because I am not asking you to leave. I'm only saying that in the position you are in, you have to be able to deal with (sometimes harsh) criticism and if you have trouble with that, it may not be the right position for you.
As for me being "useless and powerless" -- ah... the amount of crap times I've had to deal with White, Privileged Men (and sometimes women), telling me what I can and cannot do...
I don't know why you bring gender and skin color into this. I sure hope you don't believe I am giving you any special kind of treatment because of your gender or heritage. I've written way better rants about white men. My comment was about your position. You are the sole spokesperson for the board here currently (I see nobody else responding recently..) but you don't have the power to make a decision all by yourself, the board (the one that allowed you to be in the firing line to represent them) has to agree.
As for pausing, we are still paused. As I mentioned above to TomDotGov, the community has requested to pause, which the Board resolved to do. I, BTW, was one of the loudest voices in the Board room encouraging this pause. And no, we have not broken that promise.
So this is what I meant by semantics. Pausing means you stop putting time into something. Assembling a committee is putting time into something. So the process has been unpaused early. We could argue semantics six ways to Sunday, but this is ultimately wikilawyering. When it was said that the Movement Brand Project would be paused, nobody expected that to mean "we'll be assembling a committee shortly". Related: when you refer to the fiscal year, you show your distance to the "peasants" who live by ordinary years.
My request for community advisors is in line with the Board resolution that an Ad Hoc Committee is formed, in order to work, during the pause, on the process, so when we "unpause" in March (or later), we have a more informed and clear process to move forward with.
You should realize by now that almost nobody gives a rat's ass about whatever board resolution. And when you say "in order to work, during the pause" you must see the contradictio in terminis.
Finally, I request again that you take your tone down a notch (or two). No matter how difficult it is, it is easier for people to participate and engage when there is good and collaborative atmosphere.
It is also easier to trample on the community when they remain civil throughout the whole process. You're not the only one with a troubled past. I now believe you personally mean well, but also believe you are in grave danger of becoming a puppet or even scapegoat for the board. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 12:18, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Alexis Jazz:, first, I appreciate you being able to "switch gears" and finally discuss things constructively. It's not easy to do and is commendable. A few comments: 1) Regarding restoring your comments -- as I mentioned, I didn't realize it was with your consent. Had I realized that it was, I wouldn't have restored it obviously. In any case, it was important for me to put the "fire" aside and try to address your concerns, which obviously came from a place of passion, deep care for the projects and also a deep frustration. I get that and am happy we are able to move beyond it. 2) Hell's Kitchen -- I am well aware you meant Truman and not Ramsay. I was going with your Kitchen metaphor, taking it one step further to where I wanted in order to emphasize how your comments are being perceived. 3) I believe I have demonstrated that I am willing to engage with everyone, including people with opposite views than me, as long as the discussion is respectful to both sides. 4) In that sentence, my focus was not on the gender or color, but rather on the last part -- people telling me what I can and cannot do. I see how that could have been read now, and am happy to correct that impression. 5) As for "You are the sole spokesperson for the board here currently" - I've commented on that, I believe. It's been a hectic weekend for Staff and the Board, and as the Chair of this Committee, I saw it my responsibility to engage and make an effort to answer people's queries, rather than let it fester, and for people to speculate that we don't answer because we don't want to deal / don't care. We care and we are here to deal with the past, but also looking forward to the future. Additionally, as Chair, it is my duty and privilege to direct the work of this Committee -- to care for the agenda and for the way things are conducted, and then make recommendations to the full board. I see myself more as a facilitator, rather a director, and make an effort to create a space where both Staff & the Community feel comfortable working collaboratively in order to overcome past obstacles. I remain optimistic that it is possible, though I am aware that some in the community have lost all hope. I'm also hoping that this will help them gain some trust and hope back (again, remains to be seen, and will be judged in the future in retrospect, but this is where I'm striving). 6) "This is what I meant by semantics. Pausing means you stop putting time into something." -- that may have been your understanding, but this was not what the board resolved to do. I am following a board resolution to create an Ad Hoc Committee, which I believe was shared with the community. 7) "when you refer to the fiscal year, you show your distance to the "peasants" who live by ordinary years." -- I totally agree, which is why I included actual dates in parenthesis. 8) "...almost nobody gives a rat's ass about whatever board resolution." -- while I realize that some people may be critical of the Board (unrelated to whether it is justified or not; or as Depeche Mode put it, "try walking in my shoes"..), I find your view here inaccurate. Even if there are community members that do not recognize the authority of the Board of Trustees, there are many many who do, and many who care. Those are the same people that keep engaging even when it's hard, that show up to 4 hours of strategic discussions during the weekend when they surely had other things the could do. And those are the same people who in a community-wide selection process put me in this position. I owe it to the them, to the organization, to the movement and to myself, to do right by them, to do the work that I was given the privilege to do and to be the voice for others. I have been doing that (sometime more successfully than others, as could be expected) and will continue to do so for as long as I remain on the Board, or till the Community decides to change its current structures. Also, in a way, if you really believed no one cares, and that the board is not an "authority", I would imagine you wouldn't bother to engage in this discussion. So, you can't have it both ways... 9) "It is also easier to trample on the community when they remain civil" -- I have demonstrated that I have engaged with queries, whether civil or not (while asserting my boundaries and clear preference for a civil discussion). But more importantly -- I would never, ever, "trample on the community" regardless of how people engage. I come from the community. I am part of the community and have invested 10 years of my life advancing our joint causes in countless volunteer hours, regardless of my current role at the BoT. So never. It is also my perception that it is not the desire of anyone at WMF, Staff & Board alike. I agree though, that we need to get better at communicating, and I've already noted that we are not perfect and that we are working on improving that. We also need the community to not lose hope and to be there we we try. 10) "I now believe you personally mean well, but also believe you are in grave danger of becoming a puppet or even scapegoat for the board" -- First, thank you. I appreciate that feedback (re me meaning well) and take it as progress since our first encounter yesterday. I also appreciate your concern. To conclude I'll only say this -- if this correspondence have taught you anything about me, it should be that I am a strong woman who does not take crap (excuse the language!) from anyone and am perfectly capable of standing my way. I am (unfortunately) not a clairvoyant and do not know what the future holds, but I can assure you that no matter what happens, I will remain true to my core values. Being on the BoT is a great privilege and a great responsibility, which I take seriously; but you are right that it also puts me in a very vulnerable position. So I put my trust back in the community, and hope that no matter what happens, my actions will speak loud and clear, and will serve as a testimonial to who I am and what I'm doing here. I put my trust back in the community that no matter what happens, they will see the truth. Wikimedians are smart like that. Shani (WMF) (talk) 22:56, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Shani (WMF): I appreciate you being able to "switch gears" and finally discuss things constructively
So you're implying that previously I wasn't? Being harsh and being constructive are not mutually exclusive.
It's not easy to do and is commendable.
You have any idea how belittling this comes across? You want to talk about respect, but this is about as offensive as it gets for me.
In that sentence, my focus was not on the gender or color, but rather on the last part -- people telling me what I can and cannot do. I see how that could have been read now, and am happy to correct that impression.
I am a woman of my word
it should be that I am a strong woman
I've had to deal with White, Privileged Men (and sometimes women), telling me what I can and cannot do... I've stopped listening to these voices years ago, otherwise I wouldn't be where I am today. These voices only encourage me to continue. So no. I do not believe that it is true. I actually think I am the right woman, at the right place, at the right time.
I don't think I mention gender much. You see how easy it becomes to see this whole operation as a display of positive discrimination, overrepresenting minority groups, girl power and whatnot. I consider myself a feminist, but I don't believe in positive discrimination.
"This is what I meant by semantics. Pausing means you stop putting time into something." -- that may have been your understanding, but this was not what the board resolved to do.
This is not how pausing works. And you do it again: "this was not what the board resolved to do". The board ain't god. The community does not accept the board as god. And saying "that may have been your understanding" once again comes across as belittling. My dictionary is fine, the board clearly needs a new one.
I totally agree, which is why I included actual dates in parenthesis.
So you should have included the fiscal year in parenthesis, or better yet, no parenthesis because nobody cares about the fiscal year!
Also, in a way, if you really believed no one cares, and that the board is not an "authority", I would imagine you wouldn't bother to engage in this discussion. So, you can't have it both ways...
I believe the board has the power to cram shit down the community's throat if the community stays quiet. That's why I engage.
We also need the community to not lose hope and to be there we we try.
You can start by keeping the initial promise: pause the branding project until March 1, 2021. That'll be a start. A little baby step, but a step nonetheless.
I am a strong woman who does not take crap (excuse the language!)
What's there to excuse? I don't take shit either.
from anyone and am perfectly capable of standing my way
You mean ground? — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 12:54, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Alexis Jazz: You are not engaging in a very productive or collegial conversation here, which is what the sprit of the COLOR letter was made in. We are a community of important shared values, and it's important to treat each other as such.--Pharos (talk) 19:30, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
My comment is quite productive, it contains various good suggestions. As for collegiality, you reap what you sow. The second the indefensible behavior (as Alsee adequately put it) from the board ends I will stop ranting about indefensible behavior from the board. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 00:44, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Shani (WMF): we would still like a response to my question. I presume the board is uninterested in a random pointless renaming such as "Unicorn Foundation", correct? Am I correct that thus far there are no identified compelling alternatives to a Wikipedia-based rebranding? Most importantly, do you or the rest of the board think there is any possibility this process can roll forwards a Wikipedia-based-rebranding without failing in a housefire? There is virtually unanimous agreement that a Wikipedia-rebranding is grossly unacceptable. Failing to constructively acknowledge the consensus against a Wikipedia-rebrand is exacerbating an already bad situation. Alsee (talk) 01:50, 5 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
user:Alsee, we just had an editing conflict -- you sent this questions just as I was sending a reply above. The short answer is -- we don't want to presume anything. The Board believes it's a valid and important topic to explore and would like a proper community consultation on it, in order to make informed decisions. This is what we are attempting to do with the Committee now. So please read above. If you still have questions, please ping me. Shani (WMF) (talk) 02:36, 5 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
The comment below was restored by Shani (WMF) after the author agreed to its removal.
Good thing this is the short answer, because even this can be further summarized: "Fuck you, we are seeing this slow motion car crash to the bitter end". (Can't stand the heat? Stay out of the kitchen.) — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 12:34, 5 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
Shani (WMF) there is a systemic problem that staff are unwilling, unable, or don't-know-how, to constructively engage the community in general. This Branding conflict is merely a symptom, this one of many failures-in-progress, this is merely the one that staff are not currently able to ignore successfully. Community engagement has been a systemic failure for years, and seems to be getting worse rather than better. Foundation-Community relations is the most important problem that the Board needs to address. To avoid a wall-of-text I will assert that I have some expertise on this subject, and if you are interested I would be eager to document and explain how & why the Foundation fails in this area. I shouldn't have to escalate issues to the executive director, she shouldn't have to summon a manager to answer to me. I shouldn't have to personally kill big expensive projects. We shouldn't have to write hacks to the sitewide javascript, explicitly advancing to the edge of a second Superprotect incident.
Back to the the current matter, staff handled rebranding in a manner which was persistently and endlessly unconstructive and even insulting. Frustration escalated into outrage. The current Board response piles on to that, because of the question you didn't answer. "[D]o you or the rest of the board think there is any possibility this process can roll forwards a Wikipedia-based-rebranding without failing in a housefire?" We find it frustrating, outrageous, even insulting, that the current response continues to ignore a virtually unanimous consensus. The current response appears to imply either (a) the Foundation is still trying to ram this through (which is a common pattern from past incidents), or only marginally-less-bad (b) the Board believes that is still a credible option. Either way it drags on the pain for months more, and it communicates an insulting disregard for the established consensus. An insulting disregard for consensus equals an insulting disregard for the community.
Your reply explained or justified the current situation with "Note that the original request to explore Branding came from the community and was raised right from the early days of the strategic process". Well, good! We have identified problem! One of the strategy ideas was to scrap various core Wikipedia's content polices. The community would burn the WMF to the ground before permitting that. No remotely functional strategy process would ever have allowed anything remotely resembling that to move forwards. The Strategy process was fatally broken. The Strategy results are unreliable at best and explosive at worst. To use your words, the Strategy "was no valid consultation process". The Foundation has a systemic failure relating to the community, of course that systemic failure also applied to the Strategy process itself. There were repeated requests to fix the Strategy process, and staff ignored them. Staff are currently behaving as if the Strategy process produced a (1)legitimate, (2)reliable, (3)valid, (4)authoritative, and (5)enforceable result. Oops, no. All five adjectives in that sentence are false. Staff are treating strategy items as a mandate to ignore any-and-all critical feedback, they are treating it as a mandate roll forwards those items by force. The Strategy process is starting fires across the board, and those fires escalating toward a swarm of Board-level crises. I alerted a top Strategy staff the community may generate a consensus declaring the entire Strategy illegitimate and invalid. They gave no indication they cared, they treated it as irrelevant.
Perhaps reassign the committee the job of creating a valid Strategy process. Or better yet a start bigger project on how the Foundation can and should engage the community in general. In any case it would relieve tensions if the board acknowledged that a Wikipedia-rebrand isn't a viable option. Alsee (talk) 13:30, 5 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
Alsee, regarding "Community engagement has been a systemic failure" -- we are in agreement that community consultations has had its challenges in the past. I disagree that it has always been a failure. Always is a strong word. While WMF staff & Board have made mistakes in the past, they have also made a lot of good work. But again, I agree that there is definitely a systematic issue that needs to be resolved, especially in light of the amount of community consultations coming our way with the strategy. We are in disagreement about the Strategy process results. I wholeheartedly believe it has been the most engaging and inclusive process we've ever had as a movement. Was it perfect? Probably not. As any new and unprecedented endeavor, it's been a learning experience and the designers of this process have learned a lot and have implemented changes along the work. You'll be happy to know that WMF staff is currently working on 2 mechanisms that will hopefully help us in getting better - one that will better define what a "community consultation" means, and the other, a technical tool to help check what volunteers "feel" about different topics. I'll be able to share some more info about that after the Committee's Jan meeting. But. All of this is actually out of scope for this thread, that should have been focused on me inviting community advisors to participate in designing a better process. As for the other comments, I believe I've address all of them in other answers, but will shortly repeat that the Brand process is more than discussing a WMF name change. The name "Wikipedia" cannot be taken off the table, as for instance, we have multiple affiliates who would like to use this name. We actually already have 6 groups already doing so. I'll also stress again, that any other community consensus will be taken into account moving forward. This process will not ignore previous work, but rather build on it. All I can say is that I am well aware of the issues you pointed out to, and will do my best as Chair of this committee to address these issues in the work that we will be designing and facilitating. Other than that, I would like to take you up on your offer to "document and explain how & why the Foundation fails in this area", or even better, in helping us find better mechanisms to communicate with the community. I hope you are considering becoming one of this Committee advisors, and even if not, I welcome you to continue this conversation via email, where I can also include additional board / WMF staff. I hope I answered everything, and if I've missed something, please let me know. It's 3 am and it's been a loooong evening of strategy meeting and responding to questions on Wiki. Shani (WMF) (talk) 01:07, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Shani (WMF): The name "Wikipedia" cannot be taken off the table, as for instance, we have multiple affiliates who would like to use this name.
Which ones exactly? Also, why would that require you to rename the WMF to WPF?
Other than that, I would like to take you up on your offer to "document and explain how & why the Foundation fails in this area", or even better, in helping us find better mechanisms to communicate with the community. I hope you are considering becoming one of this Committee advisors
I would recommend anyone (including Alsee) not to do this. I will in fact rally for the community to push no candidate forward, or only joke candidates. The whole idea of having a committee that's made up of just a few people who are chosen by that same committee is inherently a recipe for corruption and the construction of an echo chamber. The outcome of all this has already been determined. The WMF will not be known as the WPF. If that rename is forced anyway, the brand will be severely fractioned, the community will distrust the WMF even more and recovering from the damage will take years. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 12:18, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

Shani (WMF) please consider your comment: I hope you are considering becoming one of this Committee advisors. I'm sure you had good intentions and you thought you were being friendly and fair and reasonable, but I ask you this: Which seat on the committee did you think YOU allowed me to join?? Hint: None. You banned me from participating in the committee. Not only that, you denied me any representation on the committee whatsoever. No participation, no representation, no vote for representation. You completely and utterly excluded me. Of the 540 people in the RFC consensus, you did the same to almost all of them. No participation, no representation, nothing. When the Foundation doesn't like what the community voice has to say, it has a bad habit of creating a bubble for itself and talking to the individuals it wants to talk to. You thought you were being fair and reasonable and constructive, you didn't even realize that your invitation to me was a slap in the face. Can you blame me for being offended? Angry? And not just me.
Your comment also indicates that you may have an inaccurate understanding of the community position. I would like you to consider the possibility that there may have been misunderstanding or poor communication, and that maybe these discussions are going poorly because your plan isn't as reasonable and fair as you thought it was. If so, can we quell the hostilities and reconsider how the WMF should respond?
P.S. You also invited me to document and explain the Foundation's poor interaction with the community, and help find better mechanisms to communicate with the community... via email, where I can also include additional board / WMF staff. I hope you can see the extreme irony there. Alsee (talk) 00:44, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Alsee: I do think your list of four options is notably incomplete. Branding is rather more than the particular trademark of a corporation's legal name. It involves the totality of the flow of all words and images associated with a brand effort. It is quite possible to do meaningful "branding work" without radically changing the name, and I think this is the likely conclusion, not to prejudge it. Brand consultancies work on projects all of the time that do not involve overall renaming, and it was part of the purpose of the COLOR letter to point this out. I do think there are interesting options of brand evolution beside what was offered and rejected in the previous round, and this seems as good a method as any to explore them as a community effort.--Pharos (talk) 20:21, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
Pharos I deliberately simplified things, but I still believe my list of options was complete. I consider your comment included under a broad reading of option 4, scrap or scale back. If the rebranding is to be scaled back to drop the Foundation-renaming, then that should have been announced already. The board's behavior here is indefensible. Under three of the options the board would have to be incompetent to proceed in this fashion, and under the remaining option the board would have to be ignorant and/or incompetent and/or malicious. Alsee (talk) 20:02, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
We're trying to do it the wiki-way this time, so let's start by creating a committee! Yay!!! Nope, no committee, except for the project-wide community-chosen Arbitration Committee, has ever been perceived as a "wiki-thing". I'd say that's the farthest thing from the wiki-way. If you want to know how the process should look like, then just look at how the Wikilambda/Wikifunctions naming contest looked like: Abstract Wikipedia/Wiki of functions naming contest or how the MediaWiki's new logo contest looked like: mw:Project:Proposal for changing logo of MediaWiki, 2020. As far as I know, no committees were needed, no special discussion facilitators were needed, no hours-long presentations, no Snohetta exercises. There was no big drama, everything went smoothly, and just like that: two important branding projects are (almost) completed. And now you're trying to reinvent a wheel. I wrote more on this here: click. Cheers, tufor (talk) 17:13, 5 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
tufor, thanks for your note and continued engagement. I believe I have addressed most of what you are referring to in my answers to comments above. I will only add that I am well aware of processes such as the Wikilambda name choice (I've actually participate in this vote in my capacity as volunteer). I also understand that from your POV, forming an Ad Hoc Committee is not a solution in the right direction. But. That is what the Board of Trustees resolved to do, and considering where the Brand project was when we decided to pause, I believe it was a good choice. I really think this Committee could have a positive impact in facilitating progress with the branding process. And as mentioned above, will do everything I can to make sure that we incorporate previous consensus by the community, and that every decision is happening on wiki. That is all I can do at this point. Shani (WMF) (talk) 01:20, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
Dear @Shani (WMF). I hope that you are okay. I would like to respectfully join the above voices in opposition to have a committee, or hold Brand discussions with a very reduced group of people. While I can certainly understand the benefits of trying to engage with reduced groups of people than with a crowd, it has not worked well at all. The RfC and COLOR are examples that that method of discussion is not appropriate for wiki matters (res ipsa loquitur), and I'd like to urge the Foundation to abandon it as soon as possible to return to the methods that always worked: talk pages open to anyone. Closed or reduced groups are not representative of the diverse community we are and proud ourselves to be. Forcing people away from talk pages is not inclusive (rather, it's exclusionary) because of (a) some people might feel unsafe using voice or video+voice systems; (b) people might not be fluent enough to speak -or- understand others and (c) some volunteers might be unable to speak at all due to ilness or disability. I think those voices matter as well, but effectively moving to closed forums where those that want to receive our feedback get to select those who join and who doesn't do not send the right message in my opinion. I have been a Wikimedian for nearly 13 years and I can assure you that the biggest community dramas I've witnessed are those that happened since a couple of years ago when the Foundation started to use this kind of untransparent proceses. I am of course assuming all the good faith and intentions of all of you, but I don't think yet another committee is going to work. Thank you for your work and for keeping us informed. Best regards, —MarcoAurelio (talk) 12:15, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
I am afraid at this point the rebranding process is dead. Whatever any group of people is going to propose or recommend, this proposal or recommendation is not going to be accepted by the community. This might be unfortunate, this might be a missed opportunity, but it is what it is. Any attempts to revive it will produce too much collateral damage. This is at this point not a tenable process, it is a zombie process.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:51, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
I agree with Ymblanter, and missed this in my previous comment. Regards. —MarcoAurelio (talk) 19:20, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
Dear @MarcoAurelio: and @Ymblanter:, thank you both for your contribution to the discussion and your thoughts. user:MarcoAurelio, I believe you have misunderstood what this Committee is aiming to do. We are not going to make decisions with only a selected group. The advisors will only help us in designing a process to move forward with the whole community. Whatever we do will be opened for the community and inclusive. I believe I've already elaborated on that in replies above. Also, please note that all the methods of communications that you mentioned, make only some people feel welcome, but not others. The types of long blobs of texts that we often find on pages like this one, or on RfCs, are not welcoming to many who are not native English speakers, which is why we have been experimenting with other methodologies of communications, in the hopes that each would be able to find the method suitable to them. So I personally believe in multitudes of methods, to accommodate the diversity in our community. That said, on wiki will always be a main space for discussion and where we go back to for curating the work through other platforms. Again, there is no desire to close the process, on the contrary. We want to make sure that it is as inclusive as possible, so we need to plan for it. Whatever we plan, will be shared and discussed with the community and yes, it is more efficient to do so with a smaller group of people to inform the framing, which is why we have requested advisors from every group we could think of. I hope this answers and I thank you for your kind words. I will keep updating, as promised. Best, Shani (WMF) (talk) 22:56, 7 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

Revisiting this page after Dec 26.[edit]

Dear all, as I have other pressing Board issues to attend to, as well as other life-related deadlines that cannot be postponed, I will not be watching this page until Dec 26. As the request for advisors deadline is at the end of Jan, and the "unpause" is planned for March, replying to questions will have to wait a bit. @Alexis Jazz:, @Alsee:, this is just to acknowledge that I have seen your latest comments, and believe you have made your point(s). I lack the time right now, but will reply to you both when I am back. This week we have an important Board meeting that has taken a toll on our free time, but after it, I will also ask other members from the Committee to participate in this discussion. I am also hoping that this pause (no pun intended!) will allow others from the almost 1000 who signed the COLOR letter, to weigh in on this. All the best, and wishes for Happy Holidays to those who celebrate them. Best, Shani (WMF) (talk) 05:03, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

@Shani (WMF): Life before wiki, that's what I say. Please let me reiterate that most of my ranting above is directed at the decisions and behavior of the board as a whole, not you personally. I've taken some jabs at parts of your communication as well (like the fiscal year thing), but I think you are more than capable of evaluating those for what they are. I'd would much rather be an ally in the whole thing, I have some ideas that could perhaps help with some issues the board is facing, but I don't plan on sharing much until I've got the feeling that the board is taking the community seriously. Take care. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 09:08, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

Shani (WMF) I understand and accept that you are withdrawing from discussions for ~2.5 weeks, and that the Foundation-as-a-whole has withdrawn from discussions by not supplying a replacement contact.
I would like to note that in the absence of constructive bilateral dialog, the Community may pursue with unilateral action to address the situation. That action may work at cross-purposes to your plans, and may in fact limit or preclude your options. (Where "your" is a plural for you, the committee, the board, and/or the Foundation in general.) Alsee (talk) 17:10, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

Late the show/consultation?[edit]

I had only just noticed this, as it doesn't look it was pushed too aggressively. Could people please drop messages in to their local boards, communities, by whatever means work best to point people to this discussion. The deadline for nominations is the 12th December.


In theory, we should also be trying to come to a consensus before nominations are submitted (though I assume they can submit regardless). It would be good if people can post if they are thinking about running - something like the 10th (one week from now) would be a good timeline for any discussion here we do have. If we are radically ideologically opposed to either a) it happening at all b) the COLOR reps being consulted on, then those are also worthwhile decisions to come to. But at a minimum, we need to spread better awareness. Nosebagbear (talk) 15:01, 3 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

There is absolutely no priority for this issue, it's far down the priorities of the WMF, it should not even be visible now. Until the board elections are done, the new bylaws are written, the strategy priorities are worked on, there is no need to put this divisive and unproductive issue anywhere near anything but the back of some shelf. To something productive instead. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 19:15, 3 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
Please see my comments in the thread above, as well as note the change to the deadline, which is now January 31st. Shani (WMF) (talk) 00:24, 4 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

Nomination for the Brand Committee Advisors Task Force[edit]

Hello all. I hope you --who are reading this-- are doing fine. I am writing to communicate that, after deliberation within the Wiki Movimento Brasil membership, we have submitted our Nomination for the Brand Committee Advisors Task Force. Our understanding is that this Committee will mostly discuss empowered participatory governance and equity across stakeholders in deliberative processes, not the merit of rebranding itself. We are especially sympathetic to the creation of a committee in which Global South voices are heard, and we encourage affiliates from emerging communities to join this conversation. As the current chair of Wiki Movimento Brasil and someone who has actively participated in community discussions on rebranding, I was appointed and yesterday submitted a nomination letter to Shani (WMF) and the BoT with information that was requested. Thanks. --Joalpe (talk) 12:45, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

@Joalpe: I said somewhere in the discussion above "You see how easy it becomes to see this whole operation as a display of positive discrimination, overrepresenting minority groups, girl power and whatnot". Thanks for reinforcing that. I recommend all communities to submit no candidates as to not inappropriately lend any credibility to this committee. — Alexis Jazz (talk or ping me) 12:37, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

Joalpe I strongly advise you to withdraw yourself. There are  46  48 individuals on this planet who would ignite unique outrage, if they were to join this committee. You are one of them. I will avoid linking the inflammatory diff at this time. Regardless of any good intentions you have, the existing anger at the Foundation's mishandling of this situation is going to be drawn to you. You will become a focus of further anger, as a symbol of the Foundation stacking a sham committee. Alsee (talk) 14:26, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
Ping DarwIn, Sturm, RadiX. I see you are members of Wiki Movimento Brasil. I was wondering if any of you could comment on how Joalpe was selected to represent your group, and whether someone who supported renaming the Foundation as Wikipedia is the best person to represent you in the rebranding issue. Alsee (talk) 17:15, 12 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Alsee: I definitively oppose rebranding to anything connected to Wikipedia, and personally do not support any candidate that supports that. My impression is that a majority of people in our emerging communities also do not support it. I would prefer if there were other candidates to support, but there were no other options, and my opposition to rebranding (which is more than public and well known) is not strong enough to actively oppose a candidate chosen by the affiliate just because he actively supports rebranding. I don't think Joalpe is the ideal candidate, but AFAIK he was the only one to step forward for that, and it's totally unfair to blame a candidate which was the only one willing to be part of that. But I know Joalpe, and expect he will do his best to defend the positions of our communities, and not his own. I also believe there is some (or even a lot of) common ground to negotiate in rebranding, if the absurds about renaming stuff to Wikipedia are set aside, and in those grounds Joalpe will certainly be a positive and constructive input.--- Darwin Ahoy! 17:33, 12 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Alsee: I believe that DarwIn's words mostly reflect what I think and my position. Sturm (talk) 02:19, 14 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

Nominations from among COLOR authors[edit]

@Shani (WMF): has asked for 2 advisors from among the authors of the COLOR letter. Of course this is ambiguous as the letter was a collaborative document with input and wording from dozens of editors, which was its strength. @Phoebe: and I were both probably within the top five most active editors to the original document, and we would be willing to serve in this capacity if desired. This would be subject to if people on this page would like to nominate us, or if other people would like to step forward.

We follow the understanding expressed by @Joalpe: of Wiki Movimento Brasil below, that this is really about “ensuring empowered participatory governance and equity across stakeholders in deliberative processes” and that the communities at large must have the say in the final decision, not just a select committee. We would also welcome allowing all of the invited underrepresented communities to participate (Africa, ESEAP, Iberocoop, India, Brazil), not just selecting two of them - and to take their views into account whether they are able to send in a nomination or just to make a statement. -Pharos (talk) 18:18, 29 January 2021 (UTC) (also phoebe | talk 22:18, 29 January 2021 (UTC))Reply

@Pharos:, two small comments: 1) When we "unpause", discussions will be held with the "communities at large". The Committee will not make decisions, just advises the Board on how to best proceed and help design a process of how we should go about it. Ater feedback from the communities, the Board will be better suited to make an informed decision based on these consultations. 2) We have already decided that all representatives from the 5 emerging communities will be welcome, just did not publicize it just yet. Since you mentioned it, I thought it's worth mentioning. This is in addition to opening up the opportunity for a 3rd representative from the Affiliates category, specifically from User Groups, in order to increase diversity in that category. Best, Shani (WMF) (talk) 20:03, 29 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Support Support Phoebe and Pharos have been actively involved in the community process that eventually led to pausing this rebranding initiative. They are a great fit to the committee. --Joalpe (talk) 18:58, 29 January 2021 (UTC) Note: This user was explicitly Canvassed[2] to cast a support vote, and as such is normally excluded from the count under community process.Reply
Support Support Phoebe and Pharos. This continued pushback against participating in board processes and making our point is pointless and non-constructive. RFCs, mailing list threads and many megabytes of on-wiki writing did not move the board to pause the branding process. Organizing to write COLOR and have broad support for it from across many affiliates and communities did. We need to have people in the room speaking for the communities. Both Phoebe and Pharos have made their position clear and I support that position. Chico Venancio (talk) 19:57, 1 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Support Support I am very familiar with Pharos and Phoebe attitudes and positions on this process, and absolutely trust them to be part of this committee. I also don't think the canvass accusations are fair. Finding candidates interested in being part of this process has been quite difficult - Iberocoop is not even presenting one, AFAIK - it's indeed a joy to see such wise candidates as Pharos and Phoebe interested in representing COLOR there.--- Darwin Ahoy! 00:32, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Support Support for Phoebe and Pharos, per Joao. But I am wondering why this call for nomination is not made public---at least on Meta (yet)? dwf² 23:15, 29 January 2021 (UTC)Reply

I realized that my position here could possibly be interpreted as a conflict of interest with my Foundation role, so I would like to retract this. I have no opinion of how, why, and what is the best way to do this process and will refrain from participating further. dwf² 14:37, 30 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Oppose Oppose, edit to add specific Opposse Pharos and Oppose phoebe. Shani has handed us a list of approximately 5 people whom she has permitted as candidates to supposedly represent the community.
    I have no opinion on Phoebe and Pharos in particular, because up until 30 seconds ago I had been unable to uncover or look at any of the permitted candidates (and I still know nothing beyond two names). I would be more than happy to consider them if and when the community is permitted to select its own representation. Ping David Wadie Fisher-Freberg humbly asking you to reconsider whether you want to cast any support, given this abusive Foundation process. Also ping Pharos and Phoebe humbly suggesting you withdraw from this. As you said in COLOR "Any future work should be restarted only in a way that supports equitable decision-making among all stakeholders" - that has clearly not happened when the Foundation itself is trying to define who it wants (and allows) to represent the community.
    Edit to add Pharos is or was president of a Wikimedia affiliate,[3] and I encourage him to an affiliate seat instead.
    Edit to add phoebe's unique qualification here the is that she approved initiating the Superprotect incident, then doubled down on the Foundation being unwilling or unable to constructively engage the community, and ran a Board re-election campaign on the platform that she supported Superprotect & wishing away the problem & explaining her firm dedication for the Foundation to ram things through even against a global community consensus.[4] The only way we managed to end that crisis was by firing her from the Board. While I'm sure she would work with good intentions, I hardly think she is the best choice to advise the Foundation on how to collaborate with the community. Alsee (talk) 12:38, 30 January 2021 (UTC) revised 08:29, 31 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Alsee: There is no list of "permitted candidates" for this as far as I am concerned. Like I said, there were dozens of people inolved in drafting the COLOR letter, and I would welcome anyone else too. You do not seem to be very familiar with this process or with that for affiliates. I certainly did not canvas Joalpe, I merely pinged him to express that I would commit to the same view he committed to as representative for the Brazilian affiliate. So that others would know I was committed to the same principles. If you are curious about my commitment to "Any future work should be restarted only in a way that supports equitable decision-making among all stakeholders", that happens to be a line that I wrote myself, and I stick with it, as I said to TomDotGov, that any actual decision process on brand has to come on-wiki, and any work of an advisory committee would just be preparatory to that.--Pharos (talk) 17:21, 30 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
Pharos the fact that you would personally would welcome anyone is nice, but irrelevant. The Foundation has declared extremely strict criteria on whom is it willing to talk to, to serve on the committee. Those rules not only exclude me they exclude essentially 100% of the community. If you think the community should be allowed free choice of its own representatives then you need to convince the Board to drop their restriction. The most effective way to do so is for the main COLOR authors to inform the board that they decline candidacy until the community is allowed free choice of representatives. Alsee (talk) 09:34, 31 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
There is no restriction, this is open to nominations of anyone who participated in any way with the COLOR process. It is up to the community participating here, I invite you or anyone else to self-nominate.--Pharos (talk) 00:55, 1 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Pharos I see you are a native English speaker, so you are clearly aware there is a restriction. You quoted that restriction yourself while writing this section heading: "Nominations from among COLOR authors". Rounding to four significant digits, that prohibits 100% of editors the committee seats. That is a rather extreme restriction. Alsee (talk) 17:16, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Fortunately, this is not in fact a referendum on my entire Wikimedia career, whether I represent the whole community in all matters, etc. It's a call for a few volunteers to work with the Board on re-branding. As a core author of the COLOR letter, I think that the premise of rebranding has been flawed from the beginning -- and I say that with the full weight of my experience on the board working on controversial subjects. If you think I'm not good at working with the community or advising on that subject, fair enough! But, whether it is me or not, I think it's helpful to have people who know how Wikimedia works and agrees with the COLOR letter to be a part of this group. -- phoebe | talk 22:47, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Oppose Oppose sending anyone. This process needs to be conducted on-wiki so it's legitimized on-wiki. Discussion on-wiki, where every voice is equal, is what actually matters when it comes to legitimizing a process like rebranding. I'd suggest that instead of participating in an off-wiki process, we should invite User:Shani (WMF) and other members of the branding process to resume participation at the brand project talk page. One of the checks on the power of the board is the ability for the community to deny volunteer labor to board initiatives, and until the board accepts the legitimacy of the community-run process, it's time to exercise that check. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 14:43, 30 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
@TomDotGov: This is my position as well, that any decision process needs to be conducted on-wiki. That is the understanding with which we are willing to engage with the WMF board. Frankly, this is a small amount of additional volunteer labor over the many late nights that went into the COLOR letter, and I am glad to do it if it helps bring that process to a successful conclusion.--Pharos (talk) 17:05, 30 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Pharos: I don't think it's the amount of volunteer labor that's really the issue, but more that it's not likely to be productive labor, and seems likely to be counterproductive. As I understand it, the WMF board wishes to develop a new process, because the completed process didn't yield the result they wanted. I don't think the community will accept as valid a bespoke branding process that wasn't discussed on-wiki before it began, if it contradicts the original survey and the completed RfC. I think that by engaging with the Board and Staff off-wiki, you're basically saying that the consensus process is something open to off-wiki negotiation. (I don't think you're saying this, but I think that's the message the WMF staff and board will take from it.) I don't think that's a message the community should send. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 19:19, 30 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
@TomDotGov: I do think that the volunteer labor that so many put into the COLOR letter matters, and accomplished a lot more than an RfC by itself ever could. The task now is to finish the job. I can pledge to you and anyone else that no process I partake in will contradict the original survey and RfC, barring some truly extraordinary occasion that causes the majority of the RFC participants to change their minds.--Pharos (talk) 01:37, 1 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
{re|Pharos}} I admire your contributions. I think they should be on-wiki. I think that to go off-wiki would be to risk repeating the process design errors of the past. And seeing as how the board hasn't explained why the process needs to take place off-wiki like the failed process did - with the silence being glaring at this point - I don't see any reason why process design can't take place on-wiki, where the entire diverse community can participate in the most important parts of the process, as it does with other processes. Hence my oppose. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 03:08, 1 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
For what it's worth, I am not personally thrilled about the idea of joining a committee -- it doesn't sound like a great deal of fun, and I agree having more conversation in public rather than less is better. But -- if the process is going ahead, and I see nothing to indicate it isn't, I would rather have more representation from people who agree with COLOR than less. It doesn't have to be me or Richard, but I don't want no representation either, because I suspect that the process isn't going to change (if there's some indication it might, then great, but I haven't seen it). -- phoebe | talk 22:47, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Phoebe: I guess I don't understand what you could say on the committee that you're not saying here, already, and that hasn't been said in surveys, RfCs, the COLOR letter, the straw poll, the brand project discussion pages... like, is there any new information you'd say there that hasn't been said already? If the Board is willing to ignore that (and it doesn't look like they are, thankfully), it's not clear why they wouldn't also ignore private committee feedback. For me, the only message that could be sent is "we'll consider letting an off-wiki committee decide how to evaluate consensus". That's not only a bad message to convey to the Foundation, it's setting things up for another community-destroying fracas when the committee's faulty consensus process runs up against actual consensus.
Again, this isn't anything personal, it's about if the Foundation should be allowed to determine how community consensus is evaluated. I think our best bet would be to just continue the Brand Project at its talk page, using the traditional techniques of discussion-and-voting, and let the Foundation decide if it wants to participate or not. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 14:48, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Oppose Oppose. On general grounds, as there is absolute no sign of real listening by those, who desperately want to abuse the name of on project for the whole Wikiverse. The starting point must be a commitment by those who take part in this, to accept the community decision to not ever use the name Wikipedia for anything else but Wikipedia. Anything else is just wilful spitting in the face of the communities. The name Wikipedia cannot be used for all, a least not legitimately, that's the starting point for any restart about rebranding. Unless those few plotters against the community, that up to now still uphold the fairy-tale of a possible renaming to Wikipedia are not retracting from their antiwikimedian personal agenda, there is nothing to discuss. And of course, this futile ans quite useless, especially completely meritless, enterprise of renaming is nothing anybody should waste any minute on, wh9ile more important stuff like UCoC, bylaws, Global Council, ditching of elections for BoT-Members and such stuff are still in discussion. Leave it as it is, and wait for anything until we have a legitimate board again, legitimately elected by the most superior being in the Wikiverse, the online community. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 14:58, 30 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
    Just as a clarification: I have no problems with the two accounts/persons either, like Tom, I have a problem with this process, as I see it as the next try in window dressing and ignoring community input on the part of the WMF. I fail to see any reason for staffers to take part in this at all, besides as typing the protocol. It should be strictly confined to the community, and perhaps the board. The staffers, those persons hired by community generated money to serve the community, should have no power in this at all, their only purpose is to implement the community will.
    Up to now I fail to see any valid and true concessions of those, who tried to usurp unmerited power from the community to usurp the name of one project for some other entity, that they have failed and betrayed the communities, that their attempted usurpations were gross errors and the name Wikipedia is definitely off the table. Without that accepted precondition, absolutely nothing makes any sense, it's just a waste of ressources. Any inclusion of that name is a wilful kick in the teeth of the community. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 21:48, 30 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • @Doc James: Is there any reason why this discussion of process can't take place on-wiki, like the discussion of processes that more directly affect the mission do? Previously, much of the process discussion took place off-wiki, and failed to achieve results. For example, the brand project created a survey off-wiki that had methodological flaws so severe that the Board agreed that it couldn't be used to measure support for rebranding. By contrast, we have been able to conduct successful branding processes on-wiki, like the process that led to the wikipedia puzzle-globe.
I agree that the process of branding is much greater than the Foundation attempting to use the name Wikipedia. However, repeated community processes have achieved consensus that it is not acceptable for the Foundation to use the name Wikipedia, and it's important that any process developed respect that overwhelming consensus. I think one of my big concerns is that the board will come back with a process that ignores the results of the survey, the RfC, the straw poll, etc. In this branding project, processes developed on-wiki accurately assessed community opinion, while bespoke processes developed off-wiki wildly mismeasured community support. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 02:58, 31 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • @Doc James: It would be fine, if the board unambiguously states, that the idea of renaming the foundation with Wikipedia is completely off the table. Of course there will be organisations, that concentrate on the Wikipedia, and thus have that word in their name, but not an organisation line WMF. WMDE, WMUK, WMCH..., that are for the whole Wikiverse, but that is completely irrelevant for this rebranding issue. Yes, those things mentioned by you were cited long after the shit hits the fan by the proselytes of rebranding as an excuse, but that was not, was was worked on before this utter rejection of the detached group by the community.
And the physical detachment from the community, with doing stuff in clandestine off-wiki venues, with so-called workshops, that were stacked with proselytes to get the wanted outcome, the either deliberate or dilettantish misinterpretation and misconstruction of "surveys", the failure, to acknowledge defeat, when it was clear for everybody to see, and even misrepresent the RfC for the own good against the will of the community, all this leaves nearly no room for AGF towards this group of people, who organised it. Nothing was full open, most was off-wiki, most was completely distorted, there is no trust left in anybody, who pushed this so hard against the community. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 08:03, 31 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thanks. I do believe it would be useful for the various parts of our movement to be more readily identifiable to those not deeply involved and better tied together from a brand perspective. For example when people donate money via the banners on Wikipedia, Wikipedia should show up in the person's credit card statement. And similarly if people donate money via a banner on Wikivoyage, Wikivoyage should show up on the credit card statement. Wikivoyage uses the tag line "sister site of Wikipedia"[7] which I think helps tie us together, should we do more of this? Maybe. The Wikipedia brand is really central to our movement and using it appropriately to increase awareness of our other sites I think would be useful. The question is how best to achieve these goals. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 11:03, 31 January 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Sänger: You may be surprised to learn (or perhaps not) that quite a few of the workshop attendees were less than impressed, and helped draft or signed the COLOR letter!--Pharos (talk) 20:27, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
That's not how the result of those workshops were portrayed, was it? Lukasz Lukomski (talk) 14:39, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
The reports of the workshops are here: Oslo, Online, Bengaluru. I've seen on talk pages that the workshop attendees might not have been impressed. I think this disconnect shows another reason why participating in off-wiki processes is a bad idea - it makes it easy for the results to be misrepresented. Regardless of what the Committee actually says, I'm sure the Foundation will only report support for the Brand Project. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 17:25, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Lukasz Lukomski and TomDotGov: Indeed, the remarkable thing is the participants were never even asked the question of "Wikimedia Foundation vs "Wikipedia Foundation"! Anyway, noone is flying to Oslo for this occasion, and noone is going to accept not addressing the real questions. I can pledge that if the Foundation were for some reason to attempt to write such a misleading report, we would have a unanimous report by the community participants making clear what the actual results were.--Pharos (talk) 18:14, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Don't vote. It only encourages them. (Per comment by Alsee below, this may be counted as an Oppose but with no implication that this process is legitimate) Rer As TomDotGov wrote: "This process needs to be conducted on-wiki so it's legitimized on-wiki. Discussion on-wiki, where every voice is equal, is what actually matters when it comes to legitimizing a process like rebranding" and "A major problems with the Brand Project up until this point has been a tendency to prioritize bespoke means of communicating with the communities over the methods that have served us well in the past, talk page discussions and RfCs. Right now, the Board and the Committee appears to be attempting to repeat that mistake. Instead of allowing the community to choose the manner we used to communicate with the Foundation, the Committee is attempting to create a new means..." --Guy Macon (talk) 16:42, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Support Pharos and Phoebe. Although I haven't been involved, they appear to have done a great job with COLOR. Dank (talk) 18:23, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Support Support Phoebe, who I know and trust to do the right thing (i.e. push back against using "Wikipedia" for the Foundation name as much, as hard and as often as possible, making the community's views clear). Neutral Neutral regarding Pharos, who I do not know and do not have enough time to find out about (sorry Pharos) but I have no reason to oppose. Thryduulf (talk: meta · en.wp · wikidata) 01:10, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • I've genuinely lost track of what's happening with this, but I support having Phoebe and Pharos represent us. Legoktm (talk) 08:55, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Oppose sending anyone per TomDotGov. Everything must happen on-wiki. Beyond My Ken (talk) 09:07, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Support both let's not cut off our nose to spite our face, eh? If you want to guarantee that the WMF moves ahead without consulting us, boycott the vote. Why should the WMF try to work with the community when we throw a tantrum even when they try to accommodate us? Not everything can or should be done on-wiki; I for one don't have time to monitor every move of this rebranding committee (cheers if you do), so it makes no difference to me if they discuss on or off wiki as long as they submit their ideas to the community and take our feedback. For my part, I know Phoebe is qualified from her outreach work, and I trust that she will liaise between the committee and community effectively. Nosebagbear and Alsee raise valid concerns about Superprotect but that was 6 years ago; given her involvement in the COLOR drafting, I'm willing to take on faith that her views around community consensus have evolved since then. I don't know Pharos that well (I considered abstaining), but from this discussion, they seem similarly qualified and trustworthy. I would vastly prefer those two represent the community interest over sending no one. Wugapodes (talk) 20:46, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Support Pharos, and support Phoebe conditionally (for note, that conditionally is the discussion has to be closed before the 7th) - 'Podes reasoning is good, and I've basically decided the risks of not having reps outweighs the risks of having potentially flawed ones. It's insane that this rebranding discussion is going to be so affiliate heavy, which we aren't really helping, but I would ask both members to withdraw in the event of insufficient community representation, as well as highlighting that the mediawiki open rebranding effort seemed to go pretty well. Nosebagbear (talk) 13:40, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Oppose sending anyone @TomDotGov: Precisely. This is the same reason why I did not participate in the survey/election of ESEAP representative. It seems like Divide and Conquer is being applied to the signatories of COLOR and to Affiliates in general. --14:21, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
P.S. I do not oppose anyone who should represent COLOR. What if, WMF pushes through with its plan as what is seems? --Filipinayzd (talk) 08:26, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply


Guy Macon, I agree with what you say. However I'd merely like to suggest that an Oppose would work more firmly towards your goal. They could ignore a bunch of "don't vote"s and potentially claim a support outnumbered oppose or committee appointments, and then claim (or believe) legitimacy. On the other hand an oppose better leaves then stuck empty handed for the committee appointments, unable to avoid facing that their attempt to dictate yet-another-abusive-and-broken-process had failed. Alsee (talk) 17:34, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

There are already several committee appointments, the question is whether COLOR participants want to send representatives in addition to the already chosen affiliate-related seats. It is my assessment that by adding COLOR representatives we will ensure a large majority on the committee is dedicated to adhering to the original RfC and survey.--Pharos (talk) 20:27, 2 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Well, multiple editors who have agreed with TomDotGov and Alsee, is Pharos right? --Guy Macon (talk) 00:46, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
...Or they'll take it as "The community declined to send anyone. They're probably okay with being represented by the delegates from AffCom etc." Most of the Board won't see this page. Even nominating someone who would immediately resign in protest of the process would send a better message than not sending anyone. --Yair rand (talk) 01:23, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Does it makes sense to, as an alternative, offer a short letter to the board that roughly says, "In the Wikimedia movement, equitable decision-making among all stakeholders is done on-wiki, where all voices can be heard. Instead of an off-wiki committee that repeats the foundational mistake of the Brand project, we invite Raju Narisetti, James Heilman, Shani Evenstein Sigalov, and all other interested Wikimedians to join us on the Brand Project talk page. We recognize that successful processes and policies are developed on-wiki, and invite the Board to participate in this development."
A problem also is that portions of the Wikimedia Foundation want to make 'major movement commitments' without the second-guessing and community review that on-wiki discussion entails, and that they see the Brand Project as a trial balloon for making other important movement commitments off-wiki. (For example, see the non-ratification of the Universal Code of Conduct.) I think the community needs to make it clear that using off-wiki committees to circumvent on-wiki consensus processes isn't acceptable. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 02:42, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Yair rand you suggest we nominate someone, who could resign in protest - except the Board dictated a process that has forbidden us to nominate anyone! The Board has dictated a process which gives us zero choice and zero representation. The Board has effectively decreed that 6 out of 7 seats be filled by Affiliates, and the 7th seat only has a single candidate who is unfit. A Board member personally invited me to run for the committee - except she did so after laying out rules that Forbid me or anyone else from the committee. The Board dictated 2 seats to be filled with Affiliate Leaders, 1 seat to be select from the Affiliate Committee, 2 seats filled by Board-designated Affiliates, and 2 seats filled from COLOR-authors. One is a current or former Affiliate president, leaving us a single non-Affiliate seat and with a single unfit candidate for that seat. Alsee (talk) 05:00, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • @Phoebe: - I was strongly appreciative of the crafting of the COLOR letter, but while we do indeed not have to assess your entire project career, but I would like to ask about the superprotect support issue raised above. That was inherently a "remove authority from Community" viewpoint, this is clearly the opposite. Expansion on thoughts on this would be good. To both you and @Pharos:, if you can't get the discussion held primarily on meta, would you stick around trying to encourage a less bad result from the inside, or resign and go public in the hope that public pressure can manage it? Nosebagbear (talk) 07:48, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Nosebagbear: I am more interested in ensuring a democratic, community-driven process than in compromising for a particular end result. That means both keeping to the results of the RfC, and dealing with finer points through a discussion held primarily on meta, or in a meta-like environment such as letting people give input on their local wikis or through a legitimate survey mechanism that is collaboratively designed by the community on meta. I would not continue to participate in any process that disregarded the previous input on meta, or that sought to make decisions on the branding in a non-democratic way.--Pharos (talk) 17:53, 3 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
  • Hi folks, the committee's moving ahead, and Pharos & I are willing to move ahead. @Nosebagbear: I'm not sure there's a formal deadline of the 7th - but that would be about a week after Pharos posted and we are already on extended time for picking representatives for this consultation, so that makes sense as a deadline. For everyone concerned about process: we hear you about process and are going to engage in good faith while making it clear this can't be a closed-door decision. As a side note, both Pharos and I have spent most of our time as Wikimedians doing outreach -- my primary work on the projects for many, many years has been writing and speaking about the projects to a wide range of audiences, and between us we have given hundreds of trainings and talks about how Wikimedia works. As a result, we both have experience telling new people about Wikim/pedia, which I think will be useful context here. -- phoebe | talk 15:22, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
    I think I'm fine with looking at where things stand at the end today, and using that to determine what the community does. I will say that I found the rest of the comment somewhat worrying, as any actual branding discussions need to occur on-wiki, and not in in a committee room. This shouldn't be about telling outsiders about anything, it should be about telling the Board to start respecting the community. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 06:46, 7 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

Ping Jimbo I am hoping you will show up and confirm that it was not your intent that the Board to "fix" the failed Branding-process by mandating a committee stacked with 6-out-of-7 seats for Affiliates, mandating no choice on a severely objectionable 7th member, mandating that the general community get zero choice and zero vote and zero representation. I assume good faith that the Board thought the plan sounded fair and reasonable, but please review what Board has in fact mandated for this committee:

  • 2 seats restricted to Affiliate Chairpersons/Directors;
  • 1 seat restricted to Affiliate Committee;
  • 2 seats restricted to Board-designated Affiliates (i.e. the designated Global South Affiliates);
  • 2 seats restricted to authors of the Community_open_letter_on_renaming.

The first five seats are explicitly assigned to affiliates, and the final two seats are pathologically restricted. We have exactly two candidates available to fill exactly two seats. It de facto forcibly imposes a sixth mandatory-Affiliate seat. It also forcibly imposes that the final seat be filled with a former Board member who actively supported Superprotect, who was unable to successfully advise the Foundation back then, and who campaigned for re-election on a platform explaining how it was important for the Foundation to steamroll over the community. Many editors consider those qualifications grossly unacceptable for representing the community here. I would also like to note that Board member Shari explicitly invited *ME* to consider joining the committee.[8] That was not amusing, considering that she had just posted rules prohibiting me from participating.

I also painfully note that Foundation-relations are in such state that we're stuck at a failing-broken-process on making a committee to advise on how to fix a failed-broken-process.

It shouldn't be this complicated. It shouldn't be this dysfunctional. I don't want to go off topic, but the Foundation thinks it ran a great and wonderful Strategy process. The Foundation has a systemically-broken process towards the community. I'm trying to alert you that the Strategy process was also catastrophically broken. The fact that it hasn't escalated into a crisis yet does not mean things are OK. The Strategy process spawned a whole series of other broken processes. They are waiting to erupt in multiple upcoming crises, or maybe a combined mega-crisis. I know you have an open-door policy but I'm hoping you have an active interest in the larger topic. Alsee (talk) 19:00, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

I should note here (mainly because I want to sever an obvious route of rebuttal that would be a bit of a strawman), that even were the final spots viewed as "anyone on the Community" and we had a dozen willing candidates, it would still be clearly unsuitably affiliate-heavy. Nosebagbear (talk) 19:41, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
I agree about the flaws in this process, as I stated above, and particularly Nosebagbear's point about it being too affiliate-heavy. Alsee's points I disagree with, if you are explicitly invited to self-nominate by multiple people, that means that you are among the group eligible to run.--Pharos (talk) 00:42, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Pharos in that case I call dibs on the AFFCOM seat! And I invite TomDotGov and Alexis Jazz for the Affiliate Leadership seats, plus Nosebagbear and Sänger for the Affiliate-Global-South seats! Toollab page statistics says the seven seats + Shani would then represent 91.3% of all discussion on this page.
On a more serious note, I do not presume I can force the Foundation to accept me on the committee. I do not presume I can force them to listen to me. However if the Foundation continues the current refusal to constructively engage the community I do presume that I can open an RFC for community discussion. I have a specific proposal in mind, omitted for brevity here. However it may not be possible to implement the Committee's result if it is incompatible with the Community result. We are much better off with a collaborative process. I am hoping the Board agrees with you that the current proposed committee is flawed. Alsee (talk) 11:45, 5 February 2021 (UTC)Reply


Does it make sense to close this? I'm seeing something like 9-10 to 6 support for Phoebe and Pharos, and I think that we should either send representatives or send a message. I'd rather send the message that processes have to take place on-wiki, but at the same time I think we have to show the world that on-wiki processes can achieve results in a timely manner. So I think it makes sense to appoint Phoebe and Pharos, and hope that they can make clear to the foundation the portions of the consensus process that have been completed. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 15:31, 11 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

From my perspective, without a definitive Yes! by the branding team to align with the RfC and stop abusing 'Wikipepedia for anything not closely related to just that project, no further "consultation" makes any sense. As long as they show so clear contempt towards the community will, why bother talking to those non-listeners at all? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 16:34, 11 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
Given that we got majority support here from the meta community as of February 7 (and afterward), Phoebe and I have joined the committee. We will do our best to reflect and amplify the consesnsus expressed in the COLOR letter, in the RfC, and in the community generally.--Pharos (talk) 19:41, 12 February 2021 (UTC)Reply
I hope your time on the committee goes well, and you can impress on your fellow members the meaningless of the committee. At the end of the day, on-wiki decisions are what matter - and so the commitee will need to build up on-wiki consensus for its process suggestions. A repeat of the previous process - which was designed off-wiki and failed on-wiki - is in nobody's interest. And I hope that message can be made clear. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 20:09, 12 February 2021 (UTC)Reply

October 2021 status[edit]

FYI, the WMF board has a new resolution (September 15, 2021) as a response to the COLOR letter, and the Wikimedia Foundation published a blog post. Linking to both here:

This part of the board resolution is probably of the most interest:

RESOLVED, that if the Wikimedia Foundation decides to revisit the possibility of changing its name--no earlier than July 2022--any considerations around name changes will involve a new participatory and deliberative process with the community.

-- Fuzheado (talk) 17:00, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply

Nice to hear, but what tool them so long? This was the only possible solution from the very beginning ((unless they wanted to divorce completely from the Wikiverse) Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 17:33, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply

2021 Board Update on new branding work by Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

Cross posting from Wikimedia-l - ZMcCune (WMF) (talk) 19:36, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply

Dear all,

I am happy to share with you that the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees has passed a new resolution on the topic of branding [1]. Some context As you may remember, last year the Board paused all work under the 2030 Movement Brand Project, in order to rethink and improve the Foundation’s approach to community participation and decision making around renaming. After year-long work, attentive listening and thoughtful conversation between the Board, Wikimedia Foundation staff, and community advisors, the committee has come up with a recommendation for next steps. The recommendation was unanimously approved by the Board and captured in the above mentioned resolution. The Wikimedia Foundation will therefore be resuming its role to steward and protect Wikimedia brands, in partnership with our broader movement, and the ad hoc Brand Committee concludes its work .

What are the main aspects of the resolution?

Importantly, this resolution extends the Board’s decision that the Wikimedia Foundation should not pursue renaming work for this fiscal year (until at least July 2022). Instead, it directs the Foundation to support the Wikimedia movement through three main areas of brand work that protect and support Wikimedia’s reputation throughout the world. Please read more about this decision on the Diff Blog [2].

Next steps?

Wikimedia Foundation teams intend to share more information on new projects, including their plans for engaging our community, in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Foundation staff and I are available to answer clarifying questions on the Wikimedia brand / 2030 movement brand project talk page on Meta [3]. You are also welcome to join the Board’s Open Meeting on October 20th, where you will be able to ask questions and hear from the team directly [4].

Special thanks

On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the community advisors to the Brand Committee. This group has worked with us since February 2021, lending their time and expertise. Their input to the process has been invaluable and we appreciate their commitment to help us find a productive way forward. Thank you -- Lucy Crompton-Reid, Joao Alexandre Peschanski, Megan Wacha, Justice Okai-Allotey, Rachmat Wahidi, Erlan Vega Rios, Richard Knipel, Phoebe Ayers and Jeffrey Keefer!

I would also like to thank our Brand Studio team at the Wikimedia Foundation for their hard work, dedication, professionalism, flexibility, openness, and vision they brought to our joint work on the future of branding.

Together, we made sure that the next steps for brand work are closely connected to our 2030 strategic goals and we have no doubt they will be an important service to the Wikimedia movement. I look forward to watching these plans come to life and invite the community to actively participate in these discussions and decisions as they unfold.


Shani Evenstein Sigalov Chair, Brand Committee Board of Trustees, Wikimedia Foundation


Marking "2030 movement brand project" as historical[edit]


  • This COLOR letter requests that, "the Board of Trustees and the Wikimedia Foundation to pause or stop renaming activities."
  • And furthermore requests, "Any future work should be restarted only in a way that supports equitable decision-making among all stakeholders."
  • The October 14, 2021 announcement of the board above that stipulates that "RESOLVED, that if the Wikimedia Foundation decides to revisit the possibility of changing its name--no earlier than July 2022--any considerations around name changes will involve a new participatory and deliberative process with the community. [9]
  • This note from User:ZMcCune (WMF) [10] that says the Communications/Wikimedia brands/2030 movement brand project "pages can be marked as historical,"

It appears that a definitive outcome as a result of this COLOR letter has been reached. - Fuzheado (talk) 18:09, 20 October 2021 (UTC)Reply