Talk:Movement Strategy/Recommendations/Iteration 3/Foster and Develop Distributed Leadership

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Centers of excellence[edit]

At some point during the strategy process, the idea of creating "centers of excellence" has been brought forward. If I remember it correctly, the concept of having different organizations provide community support for key areas – just the way that Wikimedia Deutschland has been instrumental in creating and maintaining Wikidata – garnered a lot of praise. The reasons are simple: (1) some existing organizations are really good at performing specific mission-critical tasks and having them further improve in these areas would be to the benefit of all, (2) having an entity like the Wikimedia Foundation doing many things so-so but nothing exceptionally well isn't good enough if we really like to make a difference (and I'm saying this in the most well-meaning way: no one is excellent at everything), (3) and finally, as the turmoil a couple of years ago has taught us, having the Wikimedia Foundation be a single point of failure is too much of a risk and could do permanent damage to the Wikimedia universe as a whole. I'd like to know why the idea of distributed "centers of excellence" has been given up and why it has been replaced by a concept focused on individuals rather than on organizations, given that the latter will naturally provide a higher degree of resilience than individual "movement leaders" (who, as we know, are likely to move on if something in their life situation changes). Best, --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 03:59, 21 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Hi Frank Schulenburg, Good to hear from you on this. I agree supporting centers of excellence is a good thing as well. I think this recommendation is a situation where it’s the “chicken or the egg” - which one comes first? Both leaders and initiatives are needed for a thriving community. I certainly think the centers of excellence will come from great leadership of the community - both current and future. We just first have to give the leadership the skills, resources, and support to enable them to achieve great things.
I can provide a bit of context from the Community Health Working Group discussions on leadership. We know people in the community have great ideas and energy, but sometimes they don’t know how to get there, or need to develop the skills to get to that point where they can lead initiatives. We want to have a broad and diverse leadership in the community which is more responsive to what is needed in their own community and what is needed in the larger Wikipedia community. To do this, we must support the development needs of those who want to be leaders.
While I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive, or that this recommendation excludes centers of excellence, I think the big difference that puts a focus on individual leaders before groups is there are already some initiatives within the Wikipedia community which do support centers of excellence (AffCom, grants programs, etc.) where new individuals as leaders have to figure things out alone. Thinking a bit more about this recommendation, I think the supports could apply to groups or centers of excellence as well. Centers of excellence certainly could use the resources meant for individual leaders. I hope that provides a bit of helpful context.Best, Jackiekoerner (talk) 18:26, 21 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
Hi Jackie, yes, I totally agree. The two are not mutually exclusive and I would like that to be reflected in the final document. How about adding a sentence to what's already there:
[Current version:] We envision a Movement built by qualified, well-trained, socially- and technically-skilled individuals from different backgrounds that reflect the diversity of the global communities.
[Slightly adjusted:] We envision a Movement built by qualified, well-trained, socially- and technically-skilled individuals from different backgrounds that reflect the diversity of the global communities, as well as by organizations that bring their excellence in areas of key needs to the movement. (I'm open to other suggestions and wordsmithing, as I'm not a native English speaker; we might even want to make it two sentences, as not everbody might enjoy long sentences as much as Germans)
I agree with you that both individuals and organizations will be the pillars of future programmatic work. That's why I'm convinced that adding a half sentence will make the recommendation stronger (otherwise, only one side would be reflected in the document). Thanks for getting back to me that quickly. I really appreciate the work that you and others have done as part of this process. Best, --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 19:56, 21 January 2020 (UTC) Reply
--Camillo Cavalcanti (talk) 09:40, 12 February 2020 (UTC)Thanks for debate, I have a similar idea for centers of excellence: specialist college. See more on 1-5 Topic List--Camillo Cavalcanti (talk) 09:40, 12 February 2020 (UTC)Reply

Training options to facilitate transfer of knowledge[edit]

I heartily support these goals, and note that they would have already been achieved if the tutorials platform recommended in Strategy/Wikimedia Foundation/2016/Recommendations had been developed. EllenCT (talk) 19:12, 21 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Term Limits and pathways[edit]

The link for the phrase "clarifying term limits and pathways" takes me to glossary where I can find no mention of term limits which is the concept I care about here. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 19:29, 22 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Thanks for flagging this, Barkeep49! This link should actually lead to a section of the recommendation "Ensure Equity in Decision Making" named open pathways to power positions and it seems to be fixed now. --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 23:56, 23 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
Please see the "How" section of the recommendation for it, as it is in expandable area and not perhaps visible right away. --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 23:58, 23 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Contradictory goals and expected outcomes[edit]

  • The "HOW" stage says It aims at creating a perspective that fits that particular community, encouraging its self-governance and ensuring self-determination. But the expected outcomes stage says globally-coordinated leadership development plan to empower and enrich communities throughout the Movement. Self-determination is, inherently, limited by any globally co-ordinated plan. The same applies to any obligation to create a plan and "stipulations".
Could you explain this - multiple communities are likely to disagree with parts of this recommendation (though certain parts are fine). What level of requirement is going to be emplaced if the community self-governs/determines that certain stipulations would be a negative to the community (e.g. term limits).Nosebagbear (talk) 10:28, 23 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
Dear Nosebagbear, thank you for this clarifying question! I don't think that these 2 highlighted statements are in direct contradiction, even though I understand how it can be confusing. Functional self-governance and self-determination need support systems that enable governing individuals to have a constructive multilogue across different viewpoints and then assess diverse range of aspects to make truly informed decisions that are not so much based on personal perspective, but serve the overall development of the project or organization.
These support systems can exist on a local level and be based on peer-mentoring and learning, as well as local guidelines. This is an existing model where self-governance is supported by self-management. However, this creates an aspect of 'reinventing the wheel' in each local level project or organization and it would make sense to have coordination across different projects and organizations to learn from each other, replicate best practices, and not redo some of the mistakes. For this to be effective there needs to be a global coordination and planning effort.
I believe that this recommendation is mostly directed towards providing learning and sharing opportunities to develop the ability to govern. There is an aspect of 'distribution of leadership' here though that relates it to ensuring open pathways to power positions and exercising developed leadership skills. The level of requirement of aspects of the plan, as I see it, will be based on an assessment of their impact. This evaluation and discussions about it will be part of the implementation phase, but I do see that some of the high impact aspects might have a high level of requirement to be implemented. This assessment, however, should provide sufficient rationale to create a shared understanding with the projects and organizations regarding the value of implementing proposed changes (i.e. an understanding why positive impact will outweigh the negative aspects).
I hope this explanation is helpful! Best regards, --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 12:20, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Term Limits[edit]

This aspect varies quite a bit between the different local communities, but en-wiki has discussed term limits three times just in the time I've been here (c. 2 years), and innumerably over the last dozen. Term limits can only really be justified for two reasons: a) concerns new people can't get in, because positions don't open up; and b) a desire to "save editors from themselves" when it comes to burnout.

In what is a fairly standard set-up, no position other than Arbs is number limited (and they've always cycled rapidly - it's not a persistent 15 always in office), so reason A doesn't hold up. B is certainly possible, but for it to be justified you'd need to prove that it was the position causing burnout, that it would be stopped by a pause, that *that* specific term limit was accurate (AND you'd have to do it for every single limited position at EVERY SINGLE project for it to be reliable, rather than a guess), and that re-running for position wouldn't undo any benefit.

Oh - and one of the more critical points: that it wouldn't cause major damage to the project - both in terms of them not being able to operate in that role, and editors choosing to leave because they can't edit as they wish.

Finally, somewhat more of a thought, if this was bought in - why would WMF staff not be term limited? Some are presumably as stressful as many advanced permisssions (AP) role? If a AP user can prove they don't have a full-time job does that exempt them? Nosebagbear (talk) 10:28, 23 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Dear Nosebagbear, thanks for sharing your thoughts regarding this specific point!
There are, indeed, differing opinions and debates regarding the term limits for years, and this is also how this discussion has ended up in movement strategy conversations. I agree with 2 main conversations being a) open pathways and b) burnout concerns, I would add c) perception of power to them.
Regarding open pathways, we need to consider both rational and experiential aspects. Even though access to most positions (as you describe) is not technically limited, there seems to be a feeling across many projects that there is a reasonable number of admins per editors / active editors / size of the project / growth of the project. This also means that there is less activity around organizing elections for roles, if a certain number of roles have been attributed, which factually closes the pathway to these roles, even though there is no technical or formal restriction.
Regarding burnout, I agree that more research needs to be put into this, to better understand the actual reasons behind it. Term limit could be one of the solutions, but it is not a magic wand to solve all burnout issues. Actually there would be sense in looking into mental health support systems or peer support networks to cope with the overload for users with advanced permissions. This is actually how it is managed on the staff side of WMF and some affiliates (in relation to your last point) - in more stressful roles the support systems are provided for staffers to cope with the stress.
The third argument that I have encountered most frequently is that with technical positions with advanced permissions comes a certain power perception. This also sometimes creates a perception of misuse of the tools to instate the power. In some cases the misuse can be proven and there are community mechanisms to deal with that, in other cases perceptions are ungrounded, but overall setting term limits might be helpful to alleviate some of the concerns around power dynamics around these roles.
Regarding global assessment - I agree that contexts in different projects are notably different, but I don't think that detailed research for each and every individual project is the only way to make a general assessment. From a sufficiently wide research base patterns would already start to emerge that could actually inform possible overall positive and negative impact of instating term limits for certain roles and also surface different contextual sets where different approaches might be needed.
Thanks again for sharing your take on this! --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 13:29, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
@KVaidla (WMF): - out of major interest, which projects have you found where there's a general view about there being sufficient admins - all I really know on that front is en-wiki. There's an absolute judgement that we want to encourage more admins to apply, if nothing else, I and some others assessed we need about 2.55 successful candidates per month to tread water. Efforts to actively encourage candidates, as well as aiding those unsure to seek out advice and either an open or a closed (by-email) assessment of their chances if they ran, have been made.
Now if this is now more functionary focused (roughly, CU/OS/Arb/'Crat), then Arbs naturally rotate at high speed, and CUs are also actively sought (it's just a really narrow skill set). I would say OSes aren't pursued but can run - probably the only area where it's viewed it already "full" is the 'crats. I've not seen any great concern about that, because for us, 'Crats no longer hold the significant power they did in the past (e.g. Bot assessments are delegated).
I could certainly accept that term limits (perhaps more suitably, consecutive-term limits) in a community that genuinely felt like they'd filled the positions necessary might help. However, in those that haven't, even the threat bring major fears of "it's hard to keep up as it is, term limits would make it impossible". Nosebagbear (talk) 13:54, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Heya @Nosebagbear. I've been an admin on a mid-sized wiki for 15 years. (Well, let's say 10 because in the last fiveish years my focus shifted to software development and I've mostly been present on paper only.) My experience from that is that 1) even though there's no formal limit on the number of administrators, there is a de facto limit since at some point enough people start to oppose every new application with arguments like "we have enough admins already" that it is impossible to reach the 80% support ratio; 2) admins see things from a very different perspective than regular users, in part due to doing diffent tasks and dealing with different problems, in part due to having access to a number of private communication channels; a forced periodic "revisiting" of the editor perspective could be helpful (note that the recommendation talks about a limit on *successive* terms, not total terms); 3) it is practically impossible to remove admins who regularly commit slight abuses of power, or have a conflict-prone personality and poor conflict resolution skills, even though formal processes in theory exist on most wikis; while having them stand for re-election would probably work. (There are also dangers to re-election requirements, such as admins avoiding all confrontation and leaving conflict between editors to fester, so as not to harm their re-election chances. It's a complex question. The most divisive and bitterly fought proposal on my wiki was in fact about admin re-election (and I wrote a fairly influential essay arguing against it, although I see it less black-and-white today). But it's definitely something worthy of investigation, which is in fact what the recommendation says: Evaluating whether term limits need to be set regarding various roles in volunteer communities..., Evaluate whether anonymous voting and term limits are applicable... The cautious wording is no accident, it was well understood that those are complex and controversial questions.) --Tgr (talk) 04:12, 26 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Re: term limits against burn-out and WMF term limits, I'm personally skeptical it would help that specific problem, but I think it's a good idea to look at why burnout is reasonably rare at the WMF and similar organizations (there is an ad hoc support structure of coworkers, mental hygiene is covered by the benefits package, there are regular surveys and and personal check-ins to assess whether one feels their work is sustainable and whether their current role and career path is good for them etc) and how much of that could be transferred to core volunteers. And the recommendations do point in that direction - while in hindsight I wish Promote Sustainability and Resilience brought up burnout more expressly, it talks about building the same kind of support structures that could be used to protect people from burnout as well. --Tgr (talk) 04:29, 26 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Tgr: - what this suggests is more that meta-discussion seems less suited to problem resolving (I've not heard a suggested solution that's not been raised on-wiki), as each community's requirements will vary. En-wiki has had various facets of this discussed just in the last 6 months (community admin recall, term limits, getting new admins, minimum number of active admins needed, have all been discussed), and no doubt will continue to be. I'm reticent to help push this recommendation through due to the WMF involvement because it don't think it will aid the process, if only because of the scale of distrust towards the WMF with relevance to the other recommendations.
This one is probably one of those I could have supported before the FRAMBAN incident in 2019, but it continues a case that the WMF (and its teams) will go a considerable amount of time with just the usual community friction of co-operating but differently minded bodies, before a major poor decision gets made. The WMF has claimed community support for some odd cases in the past, and I don't want anyone to get told they supported something when all they supported was discussion. Were this a business case I'd just write in several clear-cut stakeholder go/no-go gates, but the recommendations have seemed to deliberately avoid clear-cut authority statements (and the same in discussion with WMF staff on the talk pages). Nosebagbear (talk) 13:18, 26 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
Thank you Nosebagbear for sharing further insights and Tgr for sharing your experiecne! Really helpful.
The feedback I have heard is mostly based on the smaller and mid-size wikis and is not necessarily an overall agreement in the wiki, but exactly as Tgr puts it a de facto barrier people see emerges at certain number of administrators, where it becomes more difficult to get the support level in administrator elections. This happens mainly in 2 ways: 1) sometimes explicit "oppose" or "neutral" votes stating that there are sufficient number of administrators or that there are bigger issues to deal with and community should focus on instead of electing new admins, e.g. increasing the number of copy-editors, 2) more often it is implicit in the lack of activity in administrator elections either by people not stepping up to vote or not going forward with the nominations. One suggestion has been that 'term limits' could reactivate the communities, but the effect needs to be further evaluated.
The other important aspect is the power perception one and this relates more to en.wp. Namely, from what I have heard from different people, there is a perception of the slight misuse of admin rights by some of the administrators and it seems that it is really difficult to make them accountable for their doings without term limits. The hope being that term limits would help these admins themselves to be more reflective in their work and increase quality in action, i.e. bring more accountability. Whether this proposition holds true needs also further assessment in different contexts.
On a different note I would like to highlight that even though WMF Board of Trustees commissioned the movement strategy work and it has been resourced by Wikimedia Foundation, it is not a solely WMF project - this is basically the only feasible option to do something like this with current governance and resourcing structure. Regarding the content, we have made a true collaborative effort to develop the recommendations. You can see the people who developed initial thematic area recommendations here and the people who wrote the recommendations here. I see movement strategy as a platform that could help us direct further attention and resources to known issues and problems across the communities, do further research and assessment and then find solutions for different contexts to advance and improve our work. These ongoing conversations help us to better frame the tasks ahead and improve the recommendations and then support developing implementation plans that actually make sense for diverse contexts. I feel that the narrative of this being a 'WMF project' is misleading and actually hindering us from a more thorough and open constructive discussion about actual content.
Thank you both again for your continued engagement and for sharing your insights. --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 11:25, 27 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • @KVaidla (WMF):, given that coverage levels seems such a local issue (both in need and in interpretation of that need), it seems fundamentally an odd thing to have to consider on a global level. Even risks of reinventing the wheel are problematic to avoid, as it's not even a case where a limited number of issues, risks, & solution forms exist, so while per-community consideration would definitely lead to duplication of effort, it also reduces the risk of unconsidered aspects. (It's easy to say, we'll just look at the different bits for each local project, but that almost never happens, whether on wiki or in RL).
In terms of what I'm going to call point d, "difficulty of accountability" you note, term limits are rather a blunt tool for this, for the reasons named here and in prior consultations. There are alternate methods, such as Community recall which a local community could bring in, which some projects have - but en-wiki failed to gain consensus on in the most recent very active discussion (I note that it wouldn't have gained consensus even if we'd strained out all the admins). Nosebagbear (talk) 15:55, 4 February 2020 (UTC)Reply
Thanks, Nosebagbear, for sharing these further thoughts! I believe 'recall' has also surfaced in other discussions as a possible tool and we are aware of different project pages regarding this (noting the 'rejected' templates). What would be your suggestions for dealing with: 1) slight abuses of power in roles with higher user access levels?, 2) perceptions of closed pathways to do meaningful technical work in online projects? Would be really interesting to hear your thoughts! --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 16:36, 6 February 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • @KVaidla (WMF):, so slight abuses of power are quite rare in my experience - Admins get removed for two broad things, either for misusing their tools/position (an actual abuse of power) or for not meeting the behavioural expectations (not an literal abuse of power - more of a more aggressive interpretation of civility rules). I'm struggling to recall a recent "slight" instance of the former - perhaps the only possibilities are discussions over whether a narrow or broad interpretation of Involved applies. They're generally handled by discussion as to where the future line is.
The latter, of course, is the more common aspect for borderline issues. If 1-2-1 discussion doesn't fix it, usually a community discussion (ANI, for en-wiki) starts up. Like with many edge-ANI cases, the next step is usually dependent on the Admin's reaction - if they show a willingness to engage with the issue, it's usually closed up, if not, then it might get referred to ARBCOM. The new enARBCOM in particular seem to be adopting more of a viewpoint that they'll accept a lower burden of prior discussion to consider administrator conduct than a normal editor, as they're the only group capable of de-sysopping. Given 2 recent desysopping and another active case, there's been some early consideration as to whether ARBCOM should recreate some of their earlier remedies, placing partial limits on admin powers - this is against others' viewpoints' that an admin who, say, can't delete articles, is fundamentally no longer an admin. We'll see what comes of that.
As to your point 2 - by "technical" I assume you mean the more complex behind the scenes "admin-work", rather than more media-wiki relevant work? I've not heard of particular concerns about that from my en-wiki time - most of our "admin-field work" is unbundled and actually handled by experienced, non-admin editors. I've not heard a great deal of concerns - perhaps because there's active efforts to a) encourage people into behind the scenes fields and b) to encourage the best of those into becoming admins. For wikis thinking they already have enough admins, as you mentioned could be an issue, I could see this problem becoming more of a frequent complaint. Perhaps a formal discussion to ask why the community thinks that having more admins is an issue, since they don't spend all their time on those activitites or encouraging some current admins to ensure they are spending enough time on content creation, to spread out the "technical" work? Nosebagbear (talk) 17:08, 6 February 2020 (UTC)Reply


In many ways, I'm quite in favour of the training being made available - if done well, then at best it shouldn't do any damage and could do quite a bit of good. However, how are users going to do most of the possible training without handing over any personal information (even if only an email address, currently just known by the system for most)? If it's purely optional, some thought needs to be put into will it be asked about in elections etc, which might run the risk of having candidates choose between losing anonymity and losing elections. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:28, 23 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

I agree this is an important aspect when it comes to implementation. In several working groups, especially Diversity and Advocacy (where I was active) safety and security of individuals was always a topic. You find some of this thinking in the why-section of Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Recommendations/Provide for Safety and Security. For now we can't offer a solution for it, during the implementation phase we (communities, individuals and organizations) must explore how we deal with it. Alice Wiegand (talk) 22:15, 23 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
Isn't everything that's publicly available / can be accessed by any user de facto anonymous anyway? It might be worth putting in some effort to make it conveniently anonymous, so you don't have to register a fake account / email for it, but it's not a huge difference. (OTOH if you mean in-person training, I can't really imagine how that could be made anonymous. It could be made confidential, that's certainly a good suggestion.) --Tgr (talk) 04:16, 26 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
Depending on how they put it together, it might be tied to a user account, and the WMF knows my ID because I'm an OTRS agent. I'd rather not give more information to them, or indeed anyone else. Nosebagbear (talk) 15:58, 4 February 2020 (UTC)Reply


Please define and/or give examples of "movement leaders" and "leadership positions", as referred to in this document. EddieHugh (talk) 21:53, 23 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Dear EddieHugh, thanks for raising this! There were extensive discussions about the notion of 'leader' in the working groups and also among the writers, surfacing the different meaning of leader in different cultural and also Wikimedia contexts. I think this is one of the terms that needs to be added to the Glossary. I think the overall notion in these discussions is close to the definition of 'movement organizers' explained here. There is another aspect of facilitation and conflict resolution in the communities that is covered in the discussion of the next section of the talk page. Best regards, --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 14:10, 28 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
Thank you for the reply. I do think that the terms need to be defined or described, otherwise different people will interpret them in different ways. EddieHugh (talk) 18:10, 28 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
I agree and we truly appreciate people highlighting this that are unclear and need to be better defined. Really helpful. --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 16:27, 6 February 2020 (UTC)Reply

Why do we need leaders at all?[edit]

The need for leadership is asserted, but never demonstrated in this recommendation. It doesn't even explain what leaders do, except suggest that they "reflect their local communities" and "bring innovative ideas and methods into our systems". It also asserts that lack of formal training has made it difficult for individuals from underrepresented groups to occupy key strategic decision-making spaces. Where are those strategic decision-making spaces? And how did anyone who currently occupies that space get in there without formal training? Here's what I'm afraid of: As with pretty much all organizations, the primary (but almost always unstated) goal of an organization is to grow. To grow an organization requires that a hierarchy of functions is established that can then be filled with functionaries. This professional class will then "help" the volunteers, even though they themselves don't actually know how to write Wikipedia articles. I honesty have no idea what my "local community" is, why I need representation or what a leader from my community would do. To put it bluntly: many of us don't want your help and preferred that you stay away. Vexations (talk) 22:59, 23 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

  • I certainly feel there's a real feeling of that, starting with the very word choice. The en-wiki community puts real effort into discouraging phrasing admins or arbs as the community leaders, promotions etc. Indeed, a candidate saying they want to "level up" or get a promotion to admin is on a sure-fire way to killing their RfA. I know the media likes to use this terminology because it fits with the regular world, but Wikimedia is not required to match everyone else's terminology. Coupled with wanting to set up a path for it, this training looks like it will distract away from actually doing on-wiki tasks that keep everything going. Nosebagbear (talk) 14:00, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
I think this is a fair point, and the language used here could be reviewed and improved. I think a bit of clarity has been lost compared to the previous recommendations that were folded into this one. In on-wiki terms, I think the idea is to better support things like facilitating discussions and mediating or resolving disputes - there are people who do those things, and some of those people are in positions where they are formally mandated to do them (though also others aren't). In the 'organised part' of the movement I think it's getting at providing better support to people in a wide range of positions, from people who want to go and set up a small local outreach project, through to complex dispute resolution between large movement organisations and movement-wide governance roles (e.g. the WMF Board or FDC). Genuinely I think there is scope for us to do better in supporting people in all of those areas, though whether 'leadership' is the right word I don't know. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 14:55, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
I see a failure to understand the fundamental ethos of editing Wikipedia, which is that if you want to do something to make things better, nobody or nothing prevents you from doing it as long as you operate within consensus. Do you want to help mediate a discussion? Do admin-y stuff? Do it! If you do enough of it and other editors think you're doing it well, you'll be given the user right, because they will trust you, but they will never trust anyone who's been appointed to such a role. Vexations (talk) 19:07, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
I really don't see the idea that some people might want some kind of training or support in doing what are sometimes difficult, challenging roles as fundamentally opposed to the ethos of Wikipedia ;) My own experience of it is mainly from offline work, where it turns out that training people in how to run Wikipedia training sessions, or how to run Wikimedia affiliates, is indeed a good idea. But I've often heard requests for just this from some functionaries in the past. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 19:33, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
I also don't see the justification, in this document, for what it proposes. I expect to see details of what's wrong with how things are now, then a proposal to address that. This document has just: "To date, the Movement has not invested in formal training programs to develop leadership. This causes ...", which has a link to a couple of documents. That link implies that there is actual evidence of this causation, but I see no evidence. If there is such evidence, or evidence of problems with how things are now, then presenting it would make the document much stronger and more persuasive. EddieHugh (talk) 18:17, 28 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Some personal feedback below[edit]

Regarding "evaluating whether term limits need to be set regarding various roles in volunteer communities and global/affiliate governance structures might open pathways to new leadership. Term limits could also prevent the burn out of volunteers, attract new voices to leadership positions, limit power appropriation, and encourage participation by a more diverse group of leaders.". This is a very relevant point. There is a need of renewal in many communities and projects. However, care must be taken to respect, above all, the sovereignty of them. For people stuck in certain roles or positions we must support "proposals" of 'career paths' and encourage they can explore challenges in other projects, which could greatly benefit from their expertise... --Toniher (talk) 22:52, 28 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Dear Toniher, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this! As there has been some discussion around 'term limits' it is really valuable. You are highlighting the point of "respecting the sovereignty of communities and projects in renewal" - could you share your ideas on how to work on the renewal processes in a good spirited and respectful way with the communities? Do you have any examples of possible 'career paths' in current system of roles? Thank you again for your contribution! --KVaidla (WMF) (talk) 16:26, 6 February 2020 (UTC)Reply

An overlooked concern from the first round[edit]

I read some of the initial conversations that provided input, & there was one item that seemed to have fallen on the floor & was missed when the summary was produced: a number of the African affiliates brought up the issue of LGBT rights -- which implicitly or explicitly is a movement issue -- & stated that homosexuality was illegal in their countries. The point of this is what should Wikimedians & local affiliates do when movement ideals conflict with the laws of their country? Are they bound to break the laws? Ignore the movement ideals (because we don't encourage breaking the law)? And if they break a law because they believe it is their duty as Wikimedians, then what does the rest of the movement owe to them?
This conflict can be generalized, & shown to have several forms. For example, the Italian Wikimedia group came into conflict with their government over Wikipedia conflict; the Italian government is also promoting its own version of intellectual property over historic items, which very clearly comes into conflict with the ideal of free information. Another example is that few countries have the US legal version of "fair use": what happens when someone not in the US uses fair use in an edit?
I'm not pushing for a specific stand on this. (Although if you want my opinion on this matter, I'm willing to think of one.) I'm pointing out that being a Wikimedian can bring one in conflict with a country's legal system, & that we should think about how this conflict should be handled. Even if the law -- or the society -- is wrong about an issue. -- Llywrch (talk) 21:15, 30 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
Do you think this feedback is possibly more related to the recommendation Provide for Safety and Security? These issues are probably most closely related to the work previously conducted by the Advocacy working group: especially to their recommendation on Protection of Advocates, which was integrated into the current "Provide for Safety and Security" (although some of these parts may have not made it explicitly in the final text) --Abbad (WMF) (talk) 13:08, 31 January 2020 (UTC).Reply

The Wikimedia Wrong Concepts, topic 6 according official list[edit]

6. Foster and Develop Distributed Leadership

Leadership in a Knowledge Empire or Knowledge Ecosystem MEANS A LEADERSHIP BASED ON KNOWLEDGE.

So, we HAVE TO distribute the leadership ACCORDING KNOWLEDGE.

A leadership distribution by knowledge is the unique correct-dynamis of a Knowledge Society.

So we can see the KNOWLEDGE AS UNIQUE CRITERIA to foster, distribute or do anything else.

It's very simple to understand: in a Knowledge Ecosystem, the leadership HAS TO BE for knowledge people, what it means, EXPERTS.

Thus the structure HAS TO EXPRESS this nature of Knowledge Ecosystem. It's also very simple to understand: the structure of Knowledge Ecosystem MEANS a structure based on Knowledge.

A structure based on Knowledge MEANS the structure divided on Knowledge areas. The leadership HAS TO BE praticed on Knowledge areas. Obviously, the structure based on knowledge areas offers virtual places for groups, and its hierarchy HAS TO BE determined by Knowledge. The hierarchy determinated by Knowledge MEANS a selection by testified curriculum.

So each group nets the users according his/her interesses, subjects, themes. The leadership HAS TO BE exercised by a specialists college, composed by 10% of users with better curriculum, analysed through a BAREMA (list of points: publications outside the Wikimedia, development of softwares, technologic invention registers, created maps, artworks and whatever we consider relevant into area). It's necessary to each language.

On each knowledge area - eg. videogames - everyone can subscribe himself/herself. The subscribed users discuss a list of relevant topics to a curriculum on this area. The leadership CANNOT BE born by election: ELECTION IS A WRONG PROCESS TO A KNOWLEDGE ECOSYSTEM (have you seen any hospital contracts doctors by election in community? Maybe a University contracts by popular suffrage? Chuch? A videogame company?), because, I've just told, a knowledge ecosystem HAS TO BE sustainable by KNOWLEDGE AS UNIQUE CRITERIA. After the list was ready, each user uploads his/her testified curriculum. Next, every user posts the ammount of points: software creation Y points per each; winners and champions in official leagues X points per each; worked years on area W points per year, et coetera. The 5% or 10% of top list users belong the specialist college. They will exercise the FAIR, AUTHENTIC, CORRECT LEADERSHIP. Because, I've just told too: the correct leadership on Knowledge Ecosystem or Knowledge Empire MEANS a leadership by KNOWLEDGE AS UNIQUE CRITERIA. The specialist college HAS TO BE submited to curriculum analysis of the area members for 4, 5 or 6 years, alerting all members by e-mail, so the login HAS NOT TO BE, BUT SHOULD BE e-mail. Nicknames are wrong concept: increase the anonymity, cybercrimes, vandalism, spying, spam, and lack of transparency.--Camillo Cavalcanti (talk) 11:39, 12 February 2020 (UTC)Reply

Highlights from the Spanish Speaking Conversations - Foster and Develop Distributed Leadership[edit]

About 70-80 present in conversations at different degrees (not everyone said something, of course). Among the people who expressed their opinion, there is support to the recommendation. They dislike WMF spending money in things like Education and GLAM, with fewer results than affiliates. Among them there is perception that WMF “tramples” affiliates/editors, perception also found on online communities. There is a wide spread idea that WMF should be only for legal, trademark, software and servers. When it comes to soft, there is a suggestion for centralized software support and infrastructure (for WMF), but decentralized in developing.


Which are the tools or processes to avoid bureaucracy in a scenario of growing roles and responsibilities? There is hope that the recommendation would clarify the "command chain" between WMF and affiliates. As stated in preivous recommendations, there is a perception that WMF asks a lot of paperwork to affiliates and grant-receivers, but they don't have any accountabilty.

What happens if there is a certain issue whose sphere is not clearly established? Who will take that responsibility?--FFort (WMF) (talk) 16:18, 13 February 2020 (UTC)Reply

Highlights from the Catalan Speaking (Valencian) Conversations - Foster and Develop Distributed Leadership[edit]

About five people present in different ways, giving feedback via both formal and informal channels. Different backgrounds.

Positive vision of what is wanted to achieve, the doubt comes on how leaders are generated, what we understand as leaders, and who and how is going to pay for it. Of course, the more paid positions there are, the more objection and reluctance will be to communities. And not all of the objection comes from Amical, it also happens online (

Doubts about leadership "courses" and, above all, what kind of people will be attracted at the moment when the movement can become a "school of leaders". Leaders are spontaneously generated in very different contexts. Can the experience of the most experienced users in a context such as the different Catalan-speaking territories be transplanted to Guadalajara?

Same problem as in 1: When have we trained the "leaders", what do we do with the trainers? Where will they come from? If we educate "new leaders" using trainers coming from outside the movement, will emerging leaders represent the values of the movement? (we will have a charter with our values by that time!) Should we train trainers in values? Do we have appropriate trainers that already are socialized in our values?--FFort (WMF) (talk) 16:18, 13 February 2020 (UTC)Reply

Feedback from Hindi Community for Foster and Develop Distributed Leadership Recommendations[edit]

6 users expressed support on globally-coordinated leadership development plans to empower local communities. It was mentioned that this can be an investment in the creation of qualified, well-trained, and socially- and technically-skilled individuals with this outcome. 4 users expressed support for a movement-wide platform for knowledge transfer, this can be helpful to community members to learn about new tools or projects and be a centralized resource portal where they could find share problems. There was support for improved access to different tools and resources concerning particular projects for volunteers and movement partners (like GLAM institutions). One user opposed the globally-coordinated leadership development plans with the grounds that the implementation of such plans may not be equitable in terms of diversity from underrepresented and marginalized individuals. Another user mentioned that it can turn out to be an additional cost with little benefit to the community. One user mentioned that such globally-coordinated leadership development plans should have should focus on online editors and communities, not boards and non-editorial roles. RSharma (WMF) (talk) 15:17, 14 February 2020 (UTC)Reply

This role should not be named "leader"[edit]

The plan of this recommendation is good but I discourage the word "leader" here. A leader is not democratic and does not have anything to do with a grassroots movement like we should be. I think "speaker" or "facilitator" would be better names and descriptions for this role. I think it is also possible to say a "speaker" is an leadership position. Of course this is also about the different cultural backgrounds. The used German translation here is "treibende Kräfte" I think that is a good term for this role but I do not think that this should be a translation of "leader". --GPSLeo (talk) 21:36, 15 February 2020 (UTC)Reply

Feedback from Wikiwomen Office Hours February 4 and February 9[edit]

There was strong support for this recommendation on grounds it can potentially create an inclusive environment and a safe culture for different groups of communities to have opportunities of leadership. It was mentioned that the protection of people needs to be prioritized. For instance, when the government shuts down service and blocks access to Wikipedia, there need to be safety measures in place to support Wikimedians in such sensitive regions. RSharma (WMF) (talk) 19:42, 16 February 2020 (UTC)Reply

Which of these are fad phrases?[edit]

This is cross posted from the copy of this discussion on Wikipedia.

"innovative ideas and methods" peaked in 1975 and is possibly a fad term from the business world.ngram viewer results

"leadership potential" peaked in 2004 and is possibly a fad term from the business world.ngram viewer results

"key for building peaked in 2006 and is possibly a fad term from the business world.ngram viewer results

"global diversity" peaked in 2004 and is possibly a fad term from the business world.ngram viwer results

"cultural contexts" peaked in 2004 and is possibly a fad term.ngram viwer results

"critical to the development" peaked in 2001 and is possibly a fad term from the business world.ngram viwer results

"inequity in access" peaked in 2002 and is possibly a fad term.ngram viwer results

"occupy key strategic" peaked in 1978 and is possibly a fad term.ngram viwer results

"healthy rejuvenation" peaked in 1963 and does not seem to be a fad term, but I wonder.ngram viwer results

"concentration of power" peaked in 1963 and does not seem to be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"in few hands" peaked in the 17th or 18th centuries and is most assuredly not a fad term.ngram viewer results

"to become more diverse" peaked in 2004 and may be a fad term.ngram viwer results

"the future leadership" peaked in 1972 and may be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"actions and requirements" peaked in 1878 and is not a fad term.ngram viewer results

"distributed leadership" peaked in 2004 and really seems to be a fad term.ngram viwer results

"occur in contexts" peaked in 1991 and may be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"stakeholders are responsible" peaked in 2004 and may be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"determining the resources" peaked in 1972, but does not seeem to be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"resources and tools needed" peaked in 2001 and may be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"sharing and transferring" peaked in 2004 and may be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"principle of subsidiarity" peaked in 1993 and especially looks like a fad term.ngram viewer results

"diverse network" peaked in 2006 and may be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"local and global challenges" peaked in 2004 and may be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"communities grow more complex" peaked in 1950, but does not appear to be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"responsibilities emerge" peaked in 1938, it does not appear to be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"leadership development plan" peaked in 2008, it appears to be a fad term that may still reach higher peaks.ngram viewer results

"plan becomes necessary" peaked in 1826, it is not a fad term.ngram viewer results

"pathways for future" peaked in 1934, and also in 2006, it may possibly of a fad term, I dont' know.ngram viewer results

"identify and promote new" peaked in 1996, it may be fad term.ngram viewer results

"generations of leaders" peaked in 1999, but it may still reach higher peaks. It had an impressive climb during the 20th century.ngram viewer results

"aims at creating" peaked in 1974 and is less impressive, but does not seem to be a fad.ngram viewer results

"creating a perspective" peaked in 1963 and 1987, seems to be a fad phrase.ngram viewer results

"perspective that fits" peaked in 1997, may be a fad phrase.ngram viewer results

"particular community" peaked in 1954 and does not seem to be a fad phrase.ngram viewer results

"self governance" peaked in 2005 and may be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"self determination" peaked in 1971 and does not appear to be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"development plan" peaked in 1975. It appears to have been a fad phrase that is now out of favor.ngram viewer results

"outline of roles" peaked in 2007, but it almost certainly will reach newer heights. It may be a fad phrase.ngram viewer results

"developing skills" peaked in 2001, or maybe earlier if you count all capitalization forms. It had an impressibe run, but may be losing steam.ngram viewer results

"serve their community" peaked in 1960. It may once have been a fad phrase, but not anymore.ngram viewer results

"movement at large" peaked in 1917, it does not appear to be a fad phrase.ngram viewer results

"Fostering leadership" peaked in 1943 and 2004. It may be a fad phrase.ngram viewer results

"planning resources" peaked in 1976 and was fad phrase back then if not now.ngram viewer results

"bringing in new people" peaked in 1956 and does not appear to be a fad phrase.ngram viewer results

"in a particular context" peaked in 2004, but I wonder if it will go higher. A fad? I don't know.ngram viewer results

"all the types" peaked in 1939 and is not a fad phrase.ngram viewer results

"leadership support" peaked in 2007 and appears to be a fad term that may reach new peaks.ngram viewer results

"peer development"peaked in 2002 and may be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"knowledge management platform" is a rather new term that peaked in 2005 and looks like it will reach new heights before it withers and decays like nearly all fad terms eventually will.ngram viewer results

"additional measure" without capitizalization peaked in 1978, does not appear to be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"new concept within" peaked in 2001, it may be a fad phrase, but maybe not.ngram viewer results

"independent contractors" peaked in 2000, it may be a fad phrase (especially outside of construction).ngram viewer results

"identifying their needs" peaked in 2000, it may be a fad phrase.ngram viewer results

"finding proper ways" peaked in 1956, it does not appear to be a fad phrase.ngram viewer results

"leadership plans" peaked in 1958, it does not appear to be a fad term. Maybe once was.ngram viewer results

"types of leadership" peaked in 1960, it does not appear to be a fad term, but maybe it was in 1960.ngram viewer results

"propose practical ways" peaked in 1943 and it does not appear to be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"represent the diversity" peaked in 1999 and it may be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"receive adequate support" peaked in 1932 and it does not appear to be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"well-established structures" peaked in 1953 and it does not appear to be a fad term.ngram viewer results

"wish to create" peaked in 2001. Shame if it doesn't go higher. It had the best run of any phrase I searched today.ngram viewer results

"proper execution" peaked in 1759 and is definately not a fad phrase, nor is it dying out.ngram viewer results--Epiphyllumlover (talk) 03:15, 24 February 2020 (UTC)Reply

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.