This page is for discussions related to the Movement communications insights/Report page.
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Clarification regarding minor discrepancy
While translating, I found that under "different audience, different story," item 5, "overfocuses on spotlighting individuals," the succeeding sentence repeats the same from item 6 "idealistic messaging," but the original report mentions another sentence.
This is the text of the latest Google Doc shared with translators after updates:
The current story overfocuses on spotlighting individuals over other types of contributions.
This means we miss telling stories about the collective.
The current story overfocuses on idealistic messaging.
This means we miss speaking to volunteers motivated by more pragmatic things, like being useful to others and a sense of duty. We should tell those stories, too.
I am wondering if this change was intentional or not, instead of assuming it was a copying error.
- Hey Haytham Abulela, thanks for spotting that! It must have been an error I made when I copied the text over. I have fixed it to match the original text. Thanks for your translation work :) --ELappen (WMF) (talk) 02:56, 28 May 2021 (UTC)
- Hi @ELappen (WMF), seeing all the wikitext used, chances of error were high. Thanks for the amazing work you did in this report. Haytham Abulela talk 18:14, 28 May 2021 (UTC)
Communication about the movement as a whole...
I was asked to share my last comment from the office hour we had today here with you as well. It's about the focus in communication on a singled out individual. The WMF has been doing this for the last couple of years: moving away from the focus of the movement, towards painting the pictures of the persons that work on the projects.
In itself this is off course a good thing - giving a face to where the money goes, and for people to hopefully recognize themselves. Problem when you do outreach however, is that the message about the wider community seems to have gotten lost. The 250.000 active editors per month that work on our ~300 languages, all these communities that have build their own requirements and rules just from the five pillars. The communities that give hands and feet to all the community processes, implementing new rules and laws into our own vision of the mission we all have, that govern all this free information on the internet, as volunteers. And how the WMF from America keeps at a distance, as much as they can - because we can. This is a story that imho has to be told as well. To strengthen our position towards new players in the market, sponsors, lobbyists, politicians, and off course the new volunteers and staff: our audience are in our communities as well, reading, writing.
I do realize that this research is more about internal communications, but this broader picture does really work both ways: for audience, volunteers and staffers the like. Still having to explain from scratch on every outside call that we have, every birthday that we go to what Wikipedia and Wikimedia is. And we all live to tell this story and spread the knowledge, but it would be nice to have the communications of the WMF that supports this all. Repeating the story in different ways helps in remembering, recognizing and then finally grasping the concept of what we are doing for people. Ciell (talk) 19:11, 8 June 2021 (UTC)
- Thanks for also posting here, Ciell. Your point definitely echoes what we heard across focus groups about the need to profile the movement in different ways than we currently do. Point taken that we should be keeping in mind that effective movement storytelling is also *useful* to the movement audience in communicating externally. The Clarify, connect and reflect recommendation has a nod to this when it quotes a participant saying "When I was a cofounder of [my user group], we didn’t get any information about: What is a user group? What are the mandates that the user group has? What can we do? Can we talk in the name of the Foundation? Are we Wikimedia representatives? To clarify this… would be something good for the future" but it should probably go a step farther to explicitly talk about how clarifying is of benefit to movement members in not just understanding their roles within the movement, as well as in relaying their roles and information about the movement itself to outsiders. I will work on clarifying this and ping you to see what you think. --ELappen (WMF) (talk) 01:20, 15 June 2021 (UTC)
- 1) "The current story oversimplifies how different parts of the movement relate. This means it is not useful in supporting movement leaders or Foundation staff in explaining their roles to movement outsiders such as governments or potential partners, or in understanding how they fit in conceptually as part of a larger movement."
- 2) "Clarify: Define the relationships. Build a metaphor or a simple explanation for how the Foundation relates to the rest of the movement. This metaphor will help ensure we give credit where credit is due. It can also be useful for movement members in explaining what they are and are not responsible for to movement outsiders, and in helping both newcomers and the general public understand the ways in which different parts of the movement interact.
Feedback from participant
I was one of the participants in the focus group as well as participating in the feedback office hour earlier today with Elena, Mayur, and Chris. I offered this feedback during today's call, and the team encouraged me to post it here as well.
First, I want to thank the team, especially Elena, for all their hard work on putting together this report. The work they did to craft inclusive focus groups, with great questions, and then to distill the comments they got into a detailed and meaningful report, is excellent. I felt like the report reflects the conversation that we had in our focus group, as well as containing things my particular group hadn't discussed but which resonated with me and I absolutely agreed with. The report is frank about what's not working right now and what needs to change, and it's a win for our movement as a whole that this report exists and that this team is actively trying to fix the challenges. So thank you!
I noted the comment in the report about how past attempts, including the Wikimedia Resource Center, hadn't been adequately resourced, maintained, or promoted. I agree with this wholeheartedly, and encourage the Foundation to commit to resourcing, maintaining, and promoting some of the solutions outlined in this report beyond just the next fiscal year. During leadership transitions, priorities can shift, and I think this report demonstrates that attention to movement communications is clearly needed. But this isn't a solution that can be fixed in one year: It's an ongoing topic that will need to have Foundation attention, and I hope the report's formal publication can coincide with a strong commitment from the Foundation to engage in resourcing, maintaining, and promoting movement communications for years to come.
Additionally, I suggested a nuance in the section discussing how staff should be encouraged to hold office hours and be on Diff and Meta. While I agree those are all good, I feel like what is most missing in the Foundation-community relations is the trust that comes from informal interactions and getting to know people. Assuming good faith is easier when you have a sense of who people are, where they're coming from, and what matters to them. Without that, it's easy to view the community as scary or the Foundation staff as clueless, even though that isn't usually the reality. The pandemic has removed Wikimania, regional and thematic conferences, and the Wikimedia Summit, which were all opportunities for senior Foundation staff to interact casually with some community members, which is definitely a loss, but even prior to 2020: it wasn't enough. As this new Movement Communications team within the Foundation gets going, I encourage them to think of more ways to promote informal communications between staff and community as well. I am privileged to have had many informal conversations with Foundation staffers, and I've always found it incredibly helpful to hear their perspectives on things, which are shaped by inputs they have access to but I don't. And I hope they too have found my perspective helpful. How can we as a movement foster more of these unstructured, informal connections that are so beneficial to both parties?
- Great to have you at the office hours and thanks for posting your headline feedback here, LiAnna (Wiki Ed). I think it's smart to put emphasis on the fact that this work will require ongoing prioritization and resourcing to really have an impact -- it's critical for setting expectations both within the Foundation and in the larger movement. I will add a sentence to that paragraph in the "Build a better front door" recommendation to spell this out more explicitly.
- Also wholeheartedly agree with the importance of casual, unstructured interactions between senior staff and community members. I will find an opportunity to work this in as well.
- Thanks again for taking the time to read the entire report and for providing such thoughtful feedback. --ELappen (WMF) (talk) 01:27, 15 June 2021 (UTC)
- Hi LiAnna (Wiki Ed), I've taken a stab at some small builds to integrate these points. I am totally open to reworking other areas to underscore if you think that makes sense; these were just the places that occurred to me as the most logical places to include the ideas.
- In the middle of Build a better front door:
- "Similar efforts have been undertaken in the past (like the Wikimedia Resource Center) but they weren’t resourced, maintained or promoted to the point of meeting this need. The front door of the organization isn’t an after-thought or a side project. Participants stressed that it is crucial, and, as with any lasting communications improvement, must be continuously resourced, maintained and promoted in order to be effective. Only through ongoing commitment and prioritization will the front door of the Foundation be able to provide more comprehensive, equitable, and scalable support."
- At the end of Use humans:
- "Humanize leaders as part of the movement. Host office hours occasionally, show up on Diff or Meta-Wiki, and, perhaps most importantly, create space for informal, unstructured time with community members to get to know each other and share experiences, whether in person or online. These small signals matter. They show we are interested in building relationships."
مرحبًا، سأكتب بلغتي الأم ، شكرًا جزيلًا لتفاعلكم فقد أعطيتمونا دفعة جعلتنا نتقرب أكثر إلى المؤسسة، عندما وضعت أول مرة تعليقًا لم أكن متيقنًا من استجابتكم، وقد وضعته بالعربية، لكنكم كنت أكبر بكثير مما كنت أتوقعه، فقد كان تفهمكم عميقًا وأتت النقاط الستة التي ذكرتموها معبرة فعلًا عن انشغالاتنا، لكن لدي بعض التساؤلات
- متى يتم تنفيذ هذه التوصيات
- كيف يتم اختيار الخبراء وعلى أي أساس (خاصة فيما يخص المنطقة العربية)
- Translation from Arabic to English follows:
- “Hello, I shall write in my mother language. Thanks for your engagement. You have provided us with a boost that brought us closer to the Foundation. When I added a comment for the first time, I was not sure you will reply, which I added in Arabic, but you have exceeded my expectations. Your understanding was thorough and the six points mentioned do really voice our concerns. I, though, have few questions:
- When will these recommendations be implemented?
- How are experts(?) chosen, and based on which criteria? (especially in the Arab region)
- Haytham Abulela talk 23:49, 12 June 2021 (UTC)
- Hi Nehaoua. Great to have you in the office hours last week. Thanks so much Haytham Abulela for translating these questions and feedback.
- I'm very happy you feel that the report captures the main concerns from your focus group.
- To your first question, we have worked to secure the budget to start work on a number of the recommendations in this year's Annual Plan. This means you will begin to see progress on some of these things over this next year. On Friday when I close the report review period, I will take the opportunity to post and email an update about the work that will happen under this Annual Plan. This will be the same information we discussed briefly during office hours last week.
- To answer your second question, the job postings for global specialists from different regions will prioritize skills in communications (including translation and localization) and community management or community organizing. Applicants applying for specific regions will need to be embedded in those regions -- they will need to speak the local language and understand the local culture, and have working knowledge of English. The hiring process will consider applicants from a range of different backgrounds, and experience within the Wikimedia movement will be highly valued.
- Hope that answers your questions! Let me know if there is anything else I can address. --ELappen (WMF) (talk) 16:51, 15 June 2021 (UTC)
Workshopping subsection based on feedback
I got some helpful feedback from Nosebagbear about a clarification needed for the Coordinate, then communicate recommendation. The point was about clarifying focus group participant recommendations for coordination in the case of consultations. We discussed the clarifications, and turned them into a draft subsection to go at the end of the Coordinate, then communicate section.
I'm posting the draft here and invite anyone to provide additional feedback or modifications for this new inclusion. I'll plan to integrate whatever version we settle on into the report on 2 July. --ELappen (WMF) (talk) 22:53, 23 June 2021 (UTC)
==A point of emphasis: Coordination around consultations==
While these points speak to recommended improvements for coordinating ongoing movement communications, participants pointed to additional recommendations in the case of consultations. Consultations are high-stakes moments of shared decision making with the movement, and coordination around them needs to support the purpose of coming to decisions collectively.
“ ” “The Foundation tends to do a lot of planning and brainstorming and preparing all kinds of topics with different stakeholders, and then they think, ‘Okay this is it, this is what we’re going to do, we’ve made the decision. Let’s throw it out there.’ And then suddenly it becomes very clear that there has not been a discussion with the 150,000 other people who are completely taken by surprise by what is going on… As soon as there are polarized opinions, this completely blows up every single time... Maybe some of these things should be taken much more incrementally."
Many participants shared a feeling that, at times, consultation decisions are made behind closed doors and released to communities after. When it appears that the outcome of a consultation is predetermined, it can create feelings that the feedback cycles were misleading, which erodes trust.
When I see lack of trust for WMF, I think of examples of partners coming to the Foundation to use [staff] as a gateway to make the community happy about something they don’t want. --Foundation staffer
In many words, participants emphasized that increased coordination should not mean deciding the outcome of a consultation decision, or selecting a preference for a decision, ahead of time. In fact, in many ways, it should mean the opposite. Coordination around consultations is implementing best practices and streamlining processes so that communities can participate in a meaningful way. Best practices mentioned for consultations included:
|Openness to receiving feedback|
|Mechanisms to integrate feedback|
|Openness to using feedback to come to a decision|
Consultations require careful coordination, aimed at allowing people from across the movement to share their perspectives and make critical decisions collectively. Coordinating to calendar, connect the dots, and ensure the use of these additional best practices across the Foundation during consultations will help ensure that community members can meaningfully participate in building the future of the movement.
Blog series could be of interest
For everyone who watches this page, I wanted to let you know about a blog series I'm working on that gives short, digestible overviews of important work happening at the Foundation. It’s called Foundation 360, and posts will be coming out this week and next week. I recognize that this series is a modest start, but it does put into action some ideas found in Coordinate, then communicate (namely, the "Connect the dots" suggestion) and Clarify, connect and reflect (namely the suggestion to better curate what work the Foundation does as part of the movement and clarify how it relates to the whole). My goal is for the movement to be able to more easily follow and engage the Foundation work that could be of interest and of benefit. You can read about the series and check out the first posts on Diff. --ELappen (WMF) (talk) 23:01, 23 June 2021 (UTC)
Who killed the Monthly activities meeting?
Until two years ago, there were Wikimedia monthly activities meetings. They served a dual purpose of internal communication and coordination, and informing the outside world about what was going on. There must have been a reason for someone to pull the plug. How come this stopped? (Asaf Bartov ran a small series of office hours during the pandemic. He stopped? How come?) Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 02:11, 1 July 2021 (UTC)
- Hey @Ad Huikeshoven. I think with the activities meetings it was more of a capacity thing. Now that the Movement Communications team has movement convenings as part of our mandate, I imagine we'll aim to get some sort of regular meeting going again. It might not look the same as the activities meeting, and I obviously can't promise anything, but our team definitely sees the value in some regular time for people to come together (these report findings support it, too). --ELappen (WMF) (talk) 23:25, 2 July 2021 (UTC)
- My 2c: re: the Wikimedia Clinics, it may be interesting to read Wikimedia_Clinics/Retrospective. The Quarterly sessions slidedecks are also going out regularly ensuring updates on Annual Plan deliverables. I also want to point out that while a "big" monthly meeting is gone, there are some volunteers-led initiatives which kinda cover at least some important topics in the Movement (i.e., they always feature some WMF staff providing updates about their work), and that many teams or individual have started doing their own office hours. MovComms may want to track all of those somewhere ;p --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 11:13, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
yes, we absolutely need this
yes, we absolutely need a better "front door." officially, completely, and hopefully soon. I would prefer to refer it to as a "town hall," or "town square", or "town commons", as I feel that would convey much better what we are trying to provide. but let's please get this set up forthwith. and by the way, if you want, you can simply call it "bulletin board." whatever works best is fine.
I'm tagging a few users, just to apprise them of my own comment here on this item and topic. thanks. @Qgil-WMF, @Elitre (WMF), @Xeno (WMF), @Tgr (WMF). thanks. --Sm8900 (talk) 16:18, 14 June 2022 (UTC)