Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/People/Core team

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Some opening questions[edit]

I've come here from a post on Jimmy Wales' talk page. After reading this page, I experience a desire for more information. Some initial questions:

  • How did the consulting company in question come to be chosen?
  • The company appears to have a great deal of dominance over the process. How did that come about?
  • The CEO of this company has had a long-term association with Hillary Clinton. Has there been any discussion regarding the wisdom of this choice? If so, is that discussion available?
  • I see no indication of any long-term involvement by the participants as actual Wikipedia editors. Is there any? If so, will that be disclosed?
  • What fiduciary remuneration is involved?

It may be that the answers to these questions are elsewhere, and if so, a link would be appreciated. If not, perhaps they can be addressed here.

Thank you, Jusdafax 08:27, 8 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]

  • Seconded. This would be an excellent opportunity for the WMF to demonstrate a "commitment to openness, transparency, and bilateral engagement with the Wikimedia community".[1][2] --Guy Macon (talk) 17:11, 8 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]

*Seconded. The founder's background is particularly disturbing in her partisanship, imo, e.g. "Finance Co-Chair in Washington State for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential campaign." and "First Lady Hillary Clinton’s Trips Director". Nocturnalnow (talk) 17:23, 8 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]

  • +1. A moment I thought, the WMF has left his way to hell. But maybe I was too fast to think this. This is once more a terrible move. There are more than just questions. While the bulk of the volunteers with the purpose for higher goals is, it is obviously that Wikimedia is for a few in high positions just a job-creation measures for friends and acquaintances. I really thought, I'm not longer that easy to shock. My fault. Marcus Cyron (talk) 01:12, 9 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • +1, like Marcus. I don't care, whether anyone has worked before for Hillary (definitely better than the post-truth, alternative facts, anti-encyclopedic Trump-posse), but all this outsourcing is definitely wrong. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 12:17, 9 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • In my opinion, injecting anti-Trump politics into unrelated discussions, as you did above, is just as bad as injecting anti-Clinton politics into unrelated discussions. Then only politics that are acceptable in this discussion would be a discussion about whether Whitney Williams' prior involvement in politics might result in a conscious or unconscious bias. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:23, 10 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Who hast started politics in this discussion? That was definetely not Cyron. Better question: why an US-based company? Why a paid company at all? --Eingangskontrolle (talk) 15:32, 16 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • +1. But I'm not sure why any of this is coming as a surprise. The Wikimedia Foundation has taken a closed, opaque approach toward how it hands out contracts to mysterious third-party vendors. Case in point -- review how the WMF handled questions about how its 2009 survey of donors was farmed out to "Q2 Consulting LLC". They stonewalled, and then admitted that they didn't handle it well and couldn't even be arsed to say how much the project was worth. Note, that was when the Wikimedia coffers had a $10 million annual run rate. Now it's at least seven times bigger, and surely seven times more corruptible. It's sad. I've tried to discuss this problem on English Wikipedia, but all I got for my troubles was an indefinite ban. - Thekohser (talk) 18:33, 10 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]

My problem is not primarily that an "outside" organization was assigned to this job and not even primarily that this organization was assigned. My problem is that there is no transparency whatsoever concerning the reasons why this organization was assigned (and not another). Up to now I cannot see how this huge and expensive project could provide useful answers to the relevant questions. I am not sure whether this is due to the organization assigned or to the Wikimedia Foundation officials who planned the process - and selected the organization. "Openness, transparency and bilateral engagement with the community" (thank you, Guy) are vital to a process I can trust. I could not yet recognize these features in the actual process, and it doesn't help that our questions haqve been ignored as yet.--Mautpreller (talk) 15:35, 10 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]

^Indeed. Where is the transparency? I find the silence concerning too. David Tornheim (talk) 18:22, 10 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Perhaps this request has not been noticed. One of the two WMF Core team members, as listed on this content page, is Guillaume Paumier, whose Wikipedia name is Guillom (thus, at least one of the team is indeed a registered editor) and I believe mentioning him in this fashion will show up on his page, however to be safe I have left a note regarding this on his Wikipedia Talk page. Hopefully a direct approach will assist in the process of getting those of us interested in the above questions some more information, or at least forward us to those who can do so. Jusdafax 06:23, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
good thinking; I agree this request may not have been noticed. In fact, if the silence continues, imo, it may still be the case that it has not been noticed and you may need to make other direct contacts. Nocturnalnow (talk) 12:57, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
I think this is similar to this thread: Those people there are expected to monitor at least this site, as of course all board members are expected to monitor the board noticeboard. If they fail to monitor it, they show clear contempt to the community and are thus not suitable to have this job. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 15:46, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Jusdafax:: Thank you for the direct message; I was traveling after the weekend and wasn't able to look at this until now. I see that Greg Varnum has responded below. Let me know if you have any other questions and I will do my best to provide thorough and timely answers. Guillaume (WMF) (talk) 02:20, 12 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Buzzword talk as usual. You are welcome, have a nice day. Translated: We dont care and carry on. --Eingangskontrolle (talk) 15:36, 16 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]

I did a search: there is this Signpost article by Pete Forsyth which answers some questions but, imho, opens a lot of additional questions. Then there is this criteria list which doesn't help much. And finally there is this announcement by Katherine Maher which also doeen't say much. Most interesting to me was that Williamsworks "is also known for previously advising at least one organization with an ongoing leadership and public relations crisis — a skillset that may prove valuable to the WMF" (as the Signpost says).--Mautpreller (talk) 13:34, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Jusdafax: I am answering your questions below, and provided links to answers posted elsewhere - usually in the updates sent to Wikimedia-l.

  • "How did the consulting company in question come to be chosen?"
williamsworks was selected among a number of smaller organizations based on a call for proposals and criteria which was shared on-wiki and in Katherine's first update. You can review the call for proposals that we shared with candidates for more information about this role and how it relates to the broader strategy process. As Katherine said, "Although we spoke to many firms that were interested, some were unable to mobilize resources on our timeline. Others we didn’t feel were the right fit. In the end, we received two viable responses." williamsworks was selected between the two viable responses based on their response most closely aligning with the previously mentioned criteria.
  • "The company appears to have a great deal of dominance over the process. How did that come about?"
williamsworks does not have control over the process. The process was developed through a ten weeks-long consultation with the Community Process Steering Committee, with regular calls for feedback and consultation during that same period - including the previously mentioned updates sent to Wikimedia-l. Today most decisions around the process are informed and decided by people within the Wikimedia movement, including the internal members of the Track leads and working groups, the Community Process Steering Committee, and the Track A Advisory Group. Williamsworks' role has been, and continues to be, a coordinating role. As Katherine stated when they were introduced, "williamsworks will be responsible for coordinating all the various moving parts and needs of the strategy process. They'll be working closely with folks in the Foundation, community, and myself to help us identify the information we need and the conversations we need. They'll be leading us through parsing information and making decisions to help us arrive at a shared direction." As for work in other areas, williamsworks’ contract with the Wikimedia Foundation is only for supporting the movement strategy process. It does not extend beyond that, and we do not currently have the intention of working with them in other capacities.
  • "The CEO of this company has had a long-term association with Hillary Clinton. Has there been any discussion regarding the wisdom of this choice? If so, is that discussion available?"
It would be inappropriate and potentially discriminatory for the Wikimedia Foundation to screen staff or contractors based on their political affiliation. We were aware that the founder had previously worked for the Clinton administration. However, we did not discuss that experience during the interview process, as that work was not comparable to the work for which we were hiring for. Our interview and screening process focused on the firm's relevant work with other organizations in developing community or organizational strategies.
  • "I see no indication of any long-term involvement by the participants as actual Wikipedia editors. Is there any? If so, will that be disclosed?"
As Katherine shared in the first update, we selected an external firm based on criteria related to their experience in developing strategy. Although experience working with community or mission-driven organizations was a criteria, experience contributing to the Wikimedia projects was not.
Our perspective is that we should work with people who are good at what they do. The Wikimedia movement is already the expert on Wikimedia. We felt confident the community would be prepared to discuss the needs of editors, how the community works, and opportunities for our future. The community is very good at providing that perspective. We wanted to find a strategic partner that was equally good at providing perspective on developing strategy. We wanted a partner that had expertise in coordinating timelines and logistics, consulting with diverse and differing stakeholders, articulating theories of change, and creating coherence out of complex and voluminous sources of information. If a firm of Wikimedians could provide that capacity, we would have considered it. We are not aware of any organization of Wikimedians that exists, was prepared to provide similar services, and would not have had a conflict of interest.
  • "What fiduciary remuneration is involved?"
As the Lead Architect, williamsworks team is providing multiple full-time consultants to help build and manage an impartial process while aiding the community in soliciting as many voices as possible. Their agreement with the Foundation covers nine months of work (January through September 2017) for US$648,000 in compensation and reimbursement for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses. We investigated other strategic consulting firms, and found this was significantly more cost-effective than other candidates. All expenses (consultants, community-based strategy coordinators, research for Tracks C and D, bringing 150 additional people to Wikimedia Conference, etc.) are expected to be within the original budget of US$2.5 million approved by the Board in November 2016. As the strategy process continues to evolve in response to community consultation and feedback, we continue to adjust the specific amounts allocated to different workflows.

I hope that helps answer your questions. --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) (talk) 19:38, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you, Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation), you say "multiple", do you know how many full-time consultants are provided ? Nocturnalnow (talk) 20:53, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks, you answered my questions. Unfortunately, the core of my problem is elsewehere. Having seen the beginning of this process, I have the very strong impression that the whole Strategy process is funadamentally flawed. No one really seems to want to know what the volunteers want. I can't see that any of the discussions (eg on has any impact whatsoever on the process. The main problem is that questions are asked that most of us can only reject. These are not our questions, these are your questions. And the firm was selected along your questions (and because one knew each other ...). The process is not open, it is a kind of pseudo-participation game.--Mautpreller (talk) 19:42, 18 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Mautpreller: You can see the impact of the discussions (including de.wp) by looking at the summaries that will serve as the basis for the next cycle of discussions (for example Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Sources/Summary 14th to 28th and Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Sources/Summary 29th March to 7th April). The process had to start somewhere, and it started with a very open-ended question in order for people to have a lot of freedom in answering it (some complained that it was too vague and open). What are the questions that you think should be asked to the communities? Now is a good time to offer recommendations, before the second cycle of discussions starts. Guillaume (WMF) (talk) 04:33, 19 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, I saw these summaries. They grossly misrepresent the actual discussions, as far as the German Wikipedia is concerned (I don't know about others); see e.g. my remark at JEissfeldt's talk page. There was hardly any support for new technological gimmicks and no support for paid editing, that's all wrong. The first question should be: do we need an overarching strategy for all the Wikimedia projects? What do they really have in common? Instead, we are addressed as part of a "movement" resp. "community", without ever having been asked if we feel like that. And my answer is: No, we do not need an overarching strategy. We need support for our communities, they are the ones who should answer the question "where to". And this leads directly to the really relevant questions of power and participation (and resources!), questions that were explicitly excluded from the debate (as it happens so often). In short: WMF should be a membership organization, and the members of WMF should decide what happens. --Mautpreller (talk) 09:33, 19 April 2017 (UTC) I also could put it like this: the most important issue for the next years is to tackle the huge deficit in democracy, or else the gigantic cleft between contributors and the Foundation.--Mautpreller (talk) 09:52, 19 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Maybe a bug? two people's accoutabilities are identical[edit]

Moved the conversation from translation/ja Talk page. Some part is put into en from ja. ----Omotecho (talk) 20:11, 9 April 2017 (UTC) forgot who I was.[reply]

Strings in English Strategy/Wikimedia_movement/2017/People/Core_team for for the first person (Ed Bland) and the second person (Guillaume Paumier) are identical. Maybe a bug? @Takot: --Omotecho (talk) 18:11, 24 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]

I will wait for the next updates. ----Omotecho (talk) 17:13, 25 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Do you mean two strings for their accoutabilities are identical or not. お返事が遅くなりすみません。Accountabilities の内容が同じ、という意図であってますでしょうか? それ自体はあり得ることのようにも思えます。問い合わせてみます。--Takot (WMF) (talk) 15:57, 4 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Confirmed. Not a bug, meant that the accuntabilities are the same among those two. この2人のAccountabilitiesが同じなのは意図したもののようです(同じ働きをする人が2人いるということです)。--Takot (WMF) (talk) 16:11, 4 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]