Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia Foundation/2016/Community consultation/Archives/2016-02-29

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Disappointed by checklist approach

(Pinging @Mdennis (WMF):, who appears to be in charge of this.)

Okay, looking at the history I can see that this whole thing was put together with barely than a week until it was supposed to start. And, for whatever reason, no community members took part, leaving the setup to be done entirely by a few WMF staff with no help. Even taking both of those into account, I find myself really disappointed with the results.

Not to be unnecessarily accusatory, but this doesn't look much like a consultation. It looks a lot more like a survey, with three distinct simple questions, and even some pre-filled options to choose from. Worse, some of the answers (and questions) don't make sense:

  • "Simplify policies and processes for building communities and wikis"? The WMF doesn't have any jurisdiction over project policy, and implying that it does in such a widely-read message does will have some serious impact on people's perception of roles. If this is going to be sent to anons, bringing people into the community will become that much harder. If this is going to established community members, this makes the power-grab conspiracy theories no longer sound like conspiracy theories, if even the WMF itself is talking like this.
  • "Create and support programs to increase volunteer participation such as recognition, facilitated mentorship, and personalized re-engagement." Pretty sure that's also outside the WMF's job. Various wikis already have recognition/mentorship systems, and I don't even know what "personalized re-engagement" means (jargon overload, both here and elsewhere).
  • "Provide easy-to-use tools and incentives to contribute multimedia content and short-form text to benefit mobile and quick lookup users." "Incentives"? I don't even want to know, do I...
  • "What do you think is the best way to encourage traffic to come to our projects while also supporting free, external content reuse?" Not that significant, but you should probably be aware that many will see this as having some problematic assumptions in itself. For example, one might think that encouraging traffic shouldn't be a goal in the first place. Perhaps instead we should extend the API/tools to allow reusers to include mechanisms for their readers to edit the original content on our projects. Perhaps trying to draw users to the projects away from reusers is contrary to our goals/values, regardless of its secondary impact. Or maybe it's just not the job of the WMF. The later two questions could also reasonably be answered with "it shouldn't". (I personally don't hold these views, but I suspect others in the community do.)

The Wikimedia movement is has a real need for an actual metacommunity-wide open thorough discussion (not just individual submissions) about our strategy on dozens of distinct issues, loads of which directly involve the Foundation. It's been over a half-decade since any serious effort to get people on the same page about where we're going in general, and a lot has changed in the meantime. Honestly, if I were in charge, I would postpone the current effort, reorganize things, archive the current contents of strategywiki and reopen it up, start a crash project to get some short-term version of crosswiki watchlist up and running (so that having a separate wiki doesn't drive everyone crazy), find some people at Meta to try to set up some basic points of discussion to start with, and then try to widely circulate a new strategy process at strategywiki in maybe 3-6 months from now. I realize that that's extremely unlikely to happen, and since there's less than 16 hours remaining until the consultation starts and translations take a lot of work, it's likely that even the minor points listed here won't be dealt with. The WMF has their strategy, and it was built internally, and the gap between it and the projects continues to widen. Sigh... :( --Yair rand (talk) 08:22, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

Yair rand, I'm sorry that you are disappointed by our approach. If we had the time, I would prefer a different approach myself, but as 2016_Strategy/FAQ#Why_this_process.3F notes, we need to firm a Wikimedia Foundation strategy quickly so that we can get together our annual plan. The strategy consultant with whom we are coordinating is working to help us create a process going forward that allows more time. Your thoughts on the specific approaches will certainly be welcome, as will any new thoughts you might have on how we should approach our areas of focus. I realize that not everyone will agree on what the Wikimedia Foundation's scope should be or where its focus should be, but I hope this consultation will help us determine where strong agreement exists. Even if the Wikimedia Foundation wanted it to, these lists don't represent strategy - there's no way all of the options could make it into the strategy. We don't have scope. :) If there is little support or strong opposition to a particular approach, I'm sure that will be considered. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 14:01, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Hi Yair rand -- you may notice there are two parts to every topic area: an open question that we are struggling with and want help resolve and a list of possible strategies (including an open one to fill out by anyone who has ideas). Some people are great starting from a blank slate, others are happier with some material to spur the conversation. We were hoping to accommodate both. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 01:21, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

My feedback, from the perspective of survey design:

  • The wording chosen is (probably unintentionally) likely to elicit more positive responses relative to neutral or negative ones. There are a number of reasons for this, but one is the use of buzzwords like "enable," "key," and "explore."
  • Clarity: There are unnecessary phrases that don't add any information, e.g. "for managing content and projects" and "so we can better serve their needs." Use of either multiple words for the same thing (e.g. volunteer, editor, contributor), or words without clear definitions.
  • Some of the approaches are much more specific than others. The most concrete are things like "create/improve tools," while others are things like "adapting user experience," "increase communication," or "increase content quality." These are vague enough that I can't tell what's actually being proposed.
  • This format limits discussion, as pointed out above. It discourages discussing comments made by others, and there isn't any general free-response section.

These points overlap at the boundaries, so please don't take them as definite categories. I'm happy to rewrite specific points to illustrate. I also think this is part of a broader gap between the WMF and the community with respect to the use of language, and I'm happy to discuss that as well. Sunrise (talk) 04:14, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

Communication Strategy

I´m missing a communication strategy for the foundation in the areas Reach, Communities and Knowledge to reach the public. I would say, that in 2006 the press did this and now the foundation has to do. I don´t think that goals (February 2011) like 1 billion people served, 50 million articles, 25% high quality articles, 200.000 new editors and 25% female editors would help. For example, the foundation could speak about "your wikipedia" That means Wikipedia belongs to the readers, writers, coders and donors. If this strategy would work, they would feel about being a part of the community and therefore they would engage themselves more. I think, even software could be used to support this communication strategy. Take the read and edit button for example. Why not giving them a background color? Or take the main page for example, where we present articles. I remember that I looked once into featured articles presented at the main page and I saw, that no IPs edited them. The community say with those articles to the readers: Look how good our articles are and We don´t need you, because we know better. As an example, what would a list of the top articles readers wanted to read tell? And maybe the small Wikipedias of today need different main pages too, at least not those the Wikipedias 10 years ago developed, because there is no hype anymore and there is the one big Wikipedia with 5 mio articles as an alternative. Another point is, that many procedures in the Wikipedias have to be reengineered. I would say that large Wikipedias need different procedures than small wikipedias, but since all procedures are created years ago, they might be sub optimal now for the bigger Wikipedias. You have to communicate that change is needed. Tools and advice - how to do all that - are important too, but without communication they will not be used. --Goldzahn (talk) 01:39, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

I like the slogan from user Kippelboy at Talk:2016_Strategy/Reach#Kippelboy.27s_response_to_the_critical_question. Another idea is to do en:Software prototyping as a way to enable the community to communicate with the foundation about software projects. For example, if you write code for GLAM projects, discuss that prototype with commons editors and GLAM institutions (not with Wikipedia editors). --Goldzahn (talk) 19:34, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Existing research?

It might be very useful to publish all of the 2015 strategy research and link to it here. Thank you! Adamw (talk) 21:59, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

@Adamw: The page 2015 Strategy/Community consultation is linked in the navbox, and on the main page. It contains links to the blog post summary and the 119 page pdf report. :) Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 23:00, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
@Quiddity (WMF): That's a great report about last year's discussion, but I was referencing the research, such as Adamw (talk) 00:31, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

New section for freeform, synthesizing, or miscellaneous feedback?

In the small group discussion I took part in, a common theme was that the Reach, Community, Knowledge categories do not quite fit some problems, which span all three categories for example. We might consider opening a new discussion page for more freeform responses. Adamw (talk) 22:12, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

Perhaps this page might be sufficient? (The second topic above, is already exactly that). I hesitate to endorse a "Miscellaneous" page, because everything could fit in there. All categorization schemes are going to be imperfect. The more pages there are, the less likely people are to read/follow everything and respond to something. (I'm a mergist, at heart ;) Just a thought though, it's not up to me. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 00:00, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Top Risks 2016?

WMF Audit Committee [Charter ] has a line item #8

Reviews and discusses with management the Foundation's major financial risk exposures and the steps management has taken to monitor and control such exposures.

Every public company in the U.S. has to publish considerable discussion of its major risk exposures in their annual (10K) and quarterly reports (10Q), and those reports are freely available to the public and widely disseminated. Such discussions are quite comprehensive and the tone is extremely frank. WMF, in the spirit of sharing knowledge, should probably shoot for similar high quality public disclosure.

I see there was publication here for [2009] but can't find anything after that? (thanks to Trustee Stu for publishing in 2009.) For public firms its an annual requirement, and is updated quarterly.

The discussion in 2009 was very good but probably fell short of the "corporate standard" found in most U.S. public company public reports. Rules for public companies, and standard audit techniques for eliciting all the major risks should be used by WMF to insure they make a good quality, up to date periodic report. The "fact finding" has to start a the very top (the audit committee) and be actively driven down from there to insure all the relevant institutional knowledge actually gets captured and reported. Ideally, due to the nature of WMF business and their most basic core goals and values, their periodic written risk disclosure reports should be of exemplary quality, far surpassing the for-profit/commercial firm disclosure standard.

The risk factor disclosure process requires attention and diligence from the very top, especially to set the "tone" and drive the process. It demonstrates a sense of seriousness and focus that donors would likely find illuminating and appreciate.

Are there any risk disclosures published past 2009? They are most excellent to review and keep well in mind ahead of strategic planning. Rjlabs (talk) 19:47, 23 January 2016 (UTC)


Anahmar123 (talk) 14:50, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Always good to detail review financials ahead of strategy planning

06-30-2014 IRS form 990 for Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. Public inspection copy.

At [WMF]

  • Audited financial statements for Year ending 6-30-2015
  • Financial plan for year ending 6-30-2015
  • And to the right, the detailed annual report made to the IRS ===>

Rjlabs (talk) 04:23, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

No Confidence

Why do you expect us to pretend good faith when our elected WMF Board members are summarily dismissed by the majority group? Let's just drop the pretense that anything whatsoever has changed with WMF... They don't fucking care about "community consultation." It is a pretense and a fraud. Carrite (talk) 19:24, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Hi, Carrite. I know that there are still a lot of issues - obviously - but I don't think it's right that the WMF doesn't care about community consultation or that this is a pretense and a fraud. It's not perfectly designed - pretty rushed, honestly - but that's because we didn't start soon enough, something we hope to do better next time. Figuring WMF strategy is essential to nailing down the annual plan. The annual plan is a fixed date, so now is when the consultation has to happen. Community input on what the WMF should be doing is important. I know I am personally very closely following especially the "communities" suggestions, as those have a great influence on my small team, but every aspect is being watched and analyzed to help figure out the best approach we should take in our diverse work. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 20:43, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
@Mdennis (WMF) and LilaTretikov (WMF): This is the second time on this page I have seen someone from the WMF say - "rushed" or "didn't start soon enough" - that is not valid excuse or a good reason for the failures pointed out here. Why? you may ask. Well, it is pretty simple if this is something that was intended to be an integral part of WMF planning you'all would have taken the time to do it right. It really is that simple - competent managers and leaders do not get caught out on important consultations, particularly ones that are supposedly annual - it is not like you have not had all of the time since the last annual plan to document and plan for the next year's plan. You finish one year's plan/strategy and then immediately start adding to the information you collected in the previous year so in Q3 you can draft a new plan, Q4 you can finalize it and Q1 you implement it - it is a fricking cycle that the WMF should have been doing for 15 years by now.

As an outsider whose confidence in the professionalism of the WMF and its leadership has been severely taxed by recent events how can you show me and, more importantly the other Wikipedians who have lost confidence, that you are neither incompetent nor dismissive of our input? I, and I assume many others, am willing to be convinced but it is on you to regain our trust - you, through the actions of the board and this half-assed "survey", have lost any right expect the community to assume good faith or competence and that saddens me a great deal. JbhTalk 18:02, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

User:Jbhunley, it's not offered (at least by me) as an excuse. It's an unfortunate fact. There are a number of reasons that led to the fact, some of them better than others, but I don't want to make excuses, simply to acknowledge the shortfall. We started later than we should have, and our strategy consultant is working on a process to help ensure that we build more lead time in future. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:25, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for the prompt reply and recognizing the problem. My concern is that Wikipedia's management should be well past needing to recognize this type of problem, these processes should be handled in a smooth, competent and professional manner - this is not the thing that you hire consultants for it is a core competency required to be an adequate candidate to be in a position to run any large organization. My concern is, my perception of the executive management of the multi-million dollar foundation that is the WMF is that is is significantly less capable than what one would expect from say a community church or small school board. It is not enough to recognize problems they must be clearly addressed and processes must be put in place to never repeat them. This seems not to be the case with the WMF cf this survey, the multiple board screw ups, the Gather deployment, the poorly designed Harassment survey, etc etc etc. These all seem to be symptoms of either total disconnect from or disrespect from the community of editors who build this site. Without massive corrective action - not the 'customer service speak' which seems to be the way things are handled. (Which is not even parroted well from what I have seen in the Gather discussion - it just sounds dismissive and condescending) The WMF has lost so much credibility because they lack follow through at all levels. JbhTalk 22:25, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
While we have rushed some things, we are doing others much more methodically this year. Two contrasting examples: Strategy Consultation and the 2016-17 Annual Plan. While the former feels a bit rushed because we recognized the problem last fall and changed our direction, the later is the opposite: we are taking a methodical approach, following the FDC timelines and are very thorough this year. As for consultants, for facilitating strategy this is very typical in most organizations. In fact the WMF spent a lot more on consultants when we did our strategy last time, bringing in Bridgespan (I believe over a million in USD, but need to verify). This time the leadership team along with staff took an active role, we had daily coordination meetings, workshops and guidance. I would be happy to share how executive team has participated in this phase of the process so far. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 17:27, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

good yeah THS-SyL (talk) 10:45, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Protected edit request on 27 January 2016

"… not yet reached in the 2010–15 strategic plan." Xover (talk) 09:13, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Hi Xover, thank you for pointing this out. You're right, we seem to have lost a word somewhere in the development process for the main page (which annoys me personally because I am a grammatical perfectionist)! However, because of the way the translation extension works, fixing the error at this point would mean invalidating the translations of that paragraph for thirty-some languages. I'm not completely unwilling to make changes that need re-translation, but this particular error is pretty minor and I've already spent a lot of translator time on strategy pages asking them to fix and re-fix other, larger errors I've made, so I would rather not ask them to donate even more of their time for a typo. I know that's sort of annoying from the perspective of someone whose brain rings an alarm when you notice a typo (as mine does too), and I'm going to keep this mistake in mind to fix in case a larger edit becomes needed that I can work it into, but for now I'm going to leave the page as-is. Thank you, though; I appreciate community eyes on things like this! Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 20:06, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for looking at this, Kbrown. You may also want to keep in mind that there are several more instances of missing definite articles in the text which really ought to be addressed when practical to do so. --Xover (talk) 11:07, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

ONLINE APPLICATION FORMAT CORRECTION IN ... - JEE Main › Handler › FileHandler application form of JEE (Main) – 2016. ... provide the correct roll number of class 12 in which candidate's result is better. .... Q15- Whether the Hindi Medium paper will come in both the languages? Vitt vicky vikram (talk) 11:32, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Wikipedia becoming a TV guide and a promoter of video games?

If I see another Featured article for a video game on the front page of Wikipedia I'm gonna scream. Almost every week another video game hits our front page. There are thousands of such articles, and for games that will become obsolete and forgotten about in a few years. Wikipeida is an Encyclopedia. Shouldn't this material be placed in Wikimedia Commons? Not long ago I had a nephew of mine who was attending his world history class and said he found some given information at Wikipedia, where the professor and half of the class broke into laughter. I'm beginning to understand why. How is the academic world and the general readership supposed to take Wikipedia seriously if we keep placating children and the arrested development crowd? -- Gwillhickers (talk) 20:14, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

@Gwillhickers: Commons is for storing images and videos and such, not articles. There have been four featured articles about video games on the English Wikipedia over the past two months, simply because those are the articles people bring up to the required standards and nominate at w:WP:TFAR. If you want different kinds of articles to be featured, work on them and nominate them. Simple as that. Anyways, this isn't really relevant to the topic of this page, which is about the consultation regarding the strategy of the Wikimedia Foundation, and Today's Featured Article is run by the Wikipedia community, not the Foundation. --Yair rand (talk) 00:30, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Heroes Vitt vicky vikram (talk) 11:32, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Quality Assurance

Others have commented upon the fact that the very act of the WMF presenting the community with a checklist of what they see as the major problems to be solved guides us into a narrow subset of potential solutions. It also means that the community cannot alert the WMF to problems that they may be blind to. I will now present one such problem that, as far as I can tell, isn't on the WMF's radar screen.

The WMF has many roles, and one of those roles is "software developer". One of our ongoing problems is the low quality of the software we develop. I would note that this is almost certainly not the fault of the individual developers or the managers one or two levels above them, but rather an institutional problem that flows down from top management.

The Wikipedia community has some extremely skilled project managers and software developers, but we have no way of helping the WMF to address this problem. I personally tried every avenue that anyone suggested to try to get a technical proposal considered, but have been stonewalled. Their should have been a way for me to get an answer, even if the answer was "no".

Please consider this to be a formal request to place poor software quality on the list of the risks to the encyclopedia, and to place the lack of any way that technical experts within the Wikipedia community can engage in discussions with the WMF software development team on the list of the problems we want to solve. --Guy Macon (talk) 08:58, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

(...sound of crickets...) --Guy Macon (talk) 13:32, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Guy Macon, we are trying to address some of these challenges. We have a draft high level Product Development checkpoints that we are working with the Developer Relations team on. We'd appreciate any feedback you have over on that page. WMoran (WMF) (talk) 00:54, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
WMoran (WMF) (talk · contribs), was Product Development involved in the Harassment Survey (discussed on Jimbo's talk page, where Macon provided a link to this section)? Seeing that they used an external company that offers online survey building tools, I was wondering if maybe Support and Safety produced it on their own without input from the "IT department". A possible cause of the unlikely results has been proposed, but there has been no response since. Either they have confirmed the error and are busy revising the report, or they are still trying to make sense of the data. The Qualtrics website mentions the option of downloading the survey data in case one needs functionality not offered by the online tools. It would take the average programmer or analist only minutes to check the relevant data. Just saying.. Prevalence (talk) 16:50, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Alternative explanation: The WMF as a whole has instructions from top management to stonewall any and all questions from the Wikipedia community. Remember, we are not the WMF's customers -- the donors are. We (or rather the work we do for free) are what is being sold. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:22, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
The WMF doesn't have customers, it's not a business. It's a nonprofit organization that's part of a movement with a larger goal, which is not dictated by its sources of funding. --Yair rand (talk) 13:10, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

login with Opera browser impossible

see subject —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:10, 28 January 2016‎

That wouldn't have anything to do with this page. I think it was a transient problem, and affected more than one browser. I, too, had a couldn't-log-in issue several days ago here (and not on other WMF projects like, and I was using Chrome. Seems to be resolved now.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:56, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

Please highlight something

The text "This consultation includes three pages, each focusing on a different topic area." should be boldfaced. This page is way "too long, didn't read". You want people to skim the first line, decide to participate, know what they're in for, and get to it. All the other text is only for people who aren't sure they want to bother responding. If people don't know whether this is going to take 5 minutes or 45 minutes, they are much less likely to want to bother.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  13:54, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

starting a conference in India

Hello, why don't Wikipedia start a conference in India in Mumbai because we have more users from Mumbai (I have noticed but not fully sure), there are less numbers of users in India because they don't know that we can make an account in Wikipedia! They feel that he/she can't make an article which is not there, they also think that all these articles are made by Wikipedia organizers. I have a kind request that start a conference in India, not only in India but try having it in each country! Regards BOTFIGHTER (talk) 09:02, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Great idea for a future Wikimania!? You should get in touch with Ellie Young ( and see what it takes to host. There was an event a few years ago in Mumbai, I think it would be great to see another one in the near future. CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 19:17, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
BOTFIGHTER, there is in fact a WikiConference India 2016 in the making, set to take place later this year, in Chandigarh. Ijon (talk) 23:03, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
sorry Ijon, I would not be able to attend it since I have some personnel reasons. But thanks for informing me, about this may be I am online nearly 5-6 months later in Wikimedia but I got your message! thanksBOTFIGHTER (talk) 10:11, 3 October 2016 (UTC)

Zero confidence in WMF Board

I speak for myself and, perhaps, many others when I indicate that the community has zero confidence in the entire WMF Board. This sort of "consultation" is disingenuous, lack sincerity, and is insulting. I hope the WMF Board will resign, community-driven elections take place, and then we can begin to have real progress. New England Cop (talk) 04:50, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

I think there is something off about a phrase "I speak for myself ... that the community has zero confidence", don't you? I think that this consultation is a valuable step, and I hope to see how/whether it transforms into an actionable plan in a few months from now. It would be great if WMF involved the community more in discussions like this but seeing unproductive comments like this makes me understand why they try to avoid touching the community with a 6-foot pole whenever possible. --SSneg (talk) 16:16, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Protected edit request on 7 February 2016

The Wiki Editors need to re-visit the rules about COI. As stated, a person close to an article can actually create a new article so as long as they are up front and post this information on their User Page. 00:10, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Hi. This request would be better placed at the relevant project page (e.g. English Wikipedia's w:en:Wikipedia talk:Conflict of interest, or d:Q4663309 for the full list). There is no global policy about COI. Hope that helps. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 19:15, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

No access to Community synthesis

More at Talk:2016_Strategy/Draft_Strategy

Rjlabs (talk) 01:40, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

The report was uploaded on Friday - it's now linked in the sidebar. Best, Patrick Earley (WMF) (talk) 15:57, 29 February 2016 (UTC)