Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Recommendations

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Thanks thread[edit]

Many thanks for these recommendations! I know what tremendous work has gone into producing them, and how much time the working group members have put in. So a big thank you to all the volunteers who have contributed countless hours to this important work!

(If you share this feeling, feel free to +1 below, to show the working group members their work is appreciated by the rest of us.) Ijon (talk) 19:01, 9 August 2019 (UTC)

  1. Ijon (talk) 19:01, 9 August 2019 (UTC)
  2. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 08:36, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
  3. Libcub (talk) 05:32, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
  4. Ammarpad (talk) 13:37, 11 August 2019 (UTC)

Common theme: even more documents[edit]

That there should be documents setting forth the strategy particulars is unanimous:

So, after two years of drafting recommendations on the various topics, it's decided. We must draft recommendations on those topics. Glad that's cleared up.

To be fair, some of the groups made concrete, specific recommendations, many of which overlap with or recapitulate the 2016 strategy process recommendations, on which action has yet to be taken. EllenCT (talk) 09:59, 10 August 2019 (UTC)

Yes, a number of the recommendations are about setting up new processes, or creating new documents through new processes. Some of these are 'statements of principles' of one kind or another which the working groups could probably write themselves, but where they are probably concerned they don't have enough of a mandate to do so. Some of them are about creating new processes and structures to e.g. build capacity or distribute funds, where the recommendations might look a bit vague on paper but where implementing them will have a very big impact. The implications of these things are not necessarily spelled out, but as you read please do bear in mind questions like "so what does implementing this recommendation mean for the structure of the Wikimedia Foundation?" Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 10:34, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
How many more staff members do we need to convince people they should write their called-for documents instead of resolutions to call for more? EllenCT (talk) 17:04, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
I don't know, so we should empanel a special group to write recommendations on how to answer this question. At least 200 pages or so. CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 23:39, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
Dear EllenCT, my name is Alek and I am a member of the Working Group on Partnerships. In our case, it's not accurate that we're asking for another document to be written, instead of writing it. We're recommending a design process that could not take place within the current framework - because it requires strong cooperation with partners, in a manner that was not planned within this Strategy Process. Thus this recommendation.
I also try to understand what's your positive idea to improve this process (which obviously can be improved). I would also try to cull the "let's write documents" recommendation - but what else can be done in your opinion? Happy to discuss more. Tarkowski (talk) 12:28, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
@Tarkowski: thank you for reaching out. I would like to know how the Partnerships Working Group processed this detailed suggestion provided by Annaproject and endorsed by a senior Foundation staffer. I'm not sure any of it is reflected in your Recommendations (please correct me if I'm mistaken.) I would like to understand how the Recommendation to design a Partnerships Framework obtained support while Annaproject's suggestions did not. At present I'm having trouble seeing any of the Community Conversations input reflected in any of the Working Group Recommendations at all. (In contrast, for example each of the 2016 Strategy Process Recommendations is directly attributed to community and staff discussions.) EllenCT (talk) 17:20, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
@EllenCT: up until Wikimedia, our group believed that we hould not be making a recommendation about priorities for partnerships (I see the proposal by Annaproject as a proposal for such a prioritisation). Here's the reason why: while it is relatively easy to propose a single priority (I personally really like the idea of a 'beating back disinformation' partnership) we lack within this strategic process the ability to have an overview of all possible priorities, and then chose between them. For this reason we have been reluctant to endorse any such specific priorities. This might change after Wikimania, where - at a community consultation session - we received feedback that such prioritisation is crucial.
Regarding Community Conversations, we will be taking them into account in this phase. Thanks for this suggestion, you are right that we can do a better job with taking into account community ideas - or at least transparently showing our attitude (whether we include it or not, and why). I will have a look at how it was done in 2016, I agree that by connecting recommendations to views of the community we strengthen our recommendations.
Last thing - I don't really get your point about endorsement by a senior Foundation staffer, and I am not sure who that is. But I am raising this just because I see quite a bit of conversations in which the fact that someone is a staffer is a crucial argument. Personally, I don't understand these distinction, and I want you to know that we have in our WG foundation staff, staff from affiliates, volunteers from the community.
Once again, thank you for your input, this is much appreciated. I hope that this conversation also helps you to have a sense of what we are doing. Happy to talk further. Tarkowski (talk) 19:20, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
Thank you. User:EpochFail is the personal account of User:Halfak (WMF). EllenCT (talk) 21:25, 19 August 2019 (UTC)

Copy editing[edit]

Could there be some centralized copy editing of the recommendation pages? I am making some obvious copy edits, but sometimes a sentence is so garbled that I don't know what the authors were trying to say. Libcub (talk) 05:35, 11 August 2019 (UTC)

Agree, although I am not copyediting even basic typos that I have seen because I am unsure of the protocol. I always thought that a key feature for anyone contributing to an encyclopaedia would be the ability to write in a comprehensible manner but I'm afraid I cannot understand a lot of what I've read so far. Is this perhaps in part because of issues relating to translation from languages other than English? Or review by people for whom English is not their first language? Diversity is fine but surely not at the cost of clarity. Are these proposals even being presented in languages other than English? - Sitush (talk) 06:07, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
Most working group members are not native English speakers but are working in English, which is part of the reason. The timeline for this set of recommendations has not allowed a copy-editing/proofreading phase, which is another. If anything is really unclear that is helpful feedback. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 09:14, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
Then the timeline itself is the problem. It's hard to give constructive criticism on the details when it seems that inartful translations into English seem to be full of corporate speakcruft in an attempt to componesate. The only things clear enough to give feedback to are the obviously clear-cut dreadful ideas that are completely antithetical to the very concept of Wikipedia, most notably recommendations 1, 2 & 4. CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 15:13, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
Copy editing is not enough - the substance is also faulty. I found the majority of proposals to be either contradictory with other proposals; lacking detail; showing a complete lack of understanding, ignorance or contempt towards the purpose of Wikipedia, founding principles, long-standing policy and the day to day running of the projects; regurgitating previously rejected proposals (e.g. oral citations, structured discussions) and/or imposing business as usual - sham consultations, forced software deployments. MER-C (talk) 19:43, 11 August 2019 (UTC)

Negative impact/change[edit]

It seems that the diversity working group have not taken the question "Could this Recommendation have a negative impact/change?" seriously, in many of their recommendations. Please will they revisit this section for each of their recommendations, and provide a sensible analysis of the associated risks? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 12:40, 12 August 2019 (UTC)

Thanks, Andy. There are many questions which still only have placeholder answers, no answers at all, or answers that will undergo tremendous development over the next weeks and months, taking different strands of input into account. This will all take time, and input is highly appreciated. Feel free to add specific risks that you already see to the respective talk pages, or use the time at Wikimania to engage with the groups. Thank you, --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 16:32, 12 August 2019 (UTC)
Thank you. It is clear that this is neither a case of missing nor placeholder answers. My request is for these answers to "undergo tremendous development" sooner, rather than later, by the working group, as what is written is currently not fit for purpose. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:02, 12 August 2019 (UTC)
I concur with Andy in entirety. Winged Blades of Godric (talk) 13:23, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

"What is important to keep in mind when implementing this recommendation?"[edit]

One of the questions asked in 'How to share your feedback' is "What is important to keep in mind when implementing this recommendation?" This implies that the decision to implement has already been made. Is this the case for any of the "Recommendations"? How will feedback such as 'don't implement this' be treated? EddieHugh (talk) 17:00, 12 August 2019 (UTC)

It's not meant to imply that the decision has been made, but it should help the group to explore the recommendation in more depth and take risks and benefits into account when drafting it. Hope that helps clarifying, --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk)

Identifying versions[edit]

"There are two versions of recommendations:

  1. a full version with complete explanations and context as offered by the working groups who authored them, and
  2. abbreviated summaries, prepared for easier engagement and translation."

Which versions are we looking at, and how do we tell? Cheers, · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 10:23, 13 August 2019 (UTC)

Pbsouthwood, the full versions, by all means, the full versions :) Abbreviated ones are totally secondary. Besides, there should be no difference in the substance of draft rec., so there should be no disharmony in communication between a person who read a full version and a person who read an abbreviated version. SGrabarczuk (WMF) (talk) 10:56, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
Hi Szymon - @SGrabarczuk (WMF):, thanks for creating a link to the per recommendation talk pages linked with Discuss on this page However, this is not true for the recommendations of the roles & responsibilities group. Could you create per recommendation talkpages for those 7 recommendations as well, please? Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 19:29, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
I can do that, but the decision belongs to R&R Group, at least to some of its members. The Land, what do you think? SGrabarczuk (WMF) (talk) 10:20, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
It's probably worth keeping that feedback all together, unless we end up with much more response to individual points? But I don't have strong feelings Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 11:08, 15 August 2019 (UTC)

Copyright and intellectual property concerns[edit]

I made this comment elsewhere, but have included here again at the request of SGrabarczuk (WMF)

I am shocked by the profound lack of knowledge and understanding on the part of the Diversity working group with regards to understanding the Wikimedia core mission, and in respect of copyright and intellectual property legislation. They appear to be users who have none of the necessary understanding needed to be drawing up and presenting copyright and intellectual property proposals to the community, and should not be doing so. I'm also shocked and disappointed that WMF has done no due-diligence on the part of the group members, and has allowed members who lack the necessary copyright and IP knowledge to be making detailed but highly problematic and technically impossible copyright policy proposals. The terms defined for the Working Group at Wikimania 2018 are nothing short of scandalous, no experts on intellectual property and no community representatives from Commons being involved in the development of new copyright proposals.
I'm genuinely disappointed and really angry at how badly wrong WMF has allowed this exercise to get, straight away. I would urge the WMF to immediately implement a plan which sees a "copyright and intellectual property" working group which includes the WMF legal counsel, our experienced legal volunteers and a significant number of users who have been involved in the maintenance and administration of media on Commons and fair-use enabled projects to oversee all of proposals with a copyright or intellectual property interaction coming from all the other working groups.
Copyright and intellectual property is one area where the community does NOT get to decide fully on either WMF-wide and/or project specific policies, we are forced to comply with, at the very minimum, the United States copyright and intellectual property legislation and that will always be our starting point; that legislation essentially prevents a number of perennial proposals, such as hosting fair-use material on Commons and makes others, such as the use of non-commercial and no-derivative licences incredibly difficult to manage. We simply should not have any working group, be it the Diversity working group or any other, being permitted to make proposals which could potentially contravene US legislation if they were implemented in part or in full.

The proposals by the Diversity working group, and any other proposals coming from other groups which have a copyright or intellectual property interaction really do need to be properly examined by legal experts - as I say, WMF counsel, other users who have significant professional experience in copyright and IP matters, and experienced members of our community working on projects like Commons. These proposals need users who can assess the legal implications of changes to policy, and users who can talk through the potential practical scenarios which would arise on the various projects. I would also add, at this stage, I think it's slightly unfair on communities and users to raise the possibility of significant changes to copyright and media policies which cannot be enacted, it's raising false hope for changes that are legally and/or technically impossible to implement, they take time and effort away from other proposals which are viable, and I think worst of all, they represent a significant a slap in the face of those of us who have worked hard to persuade people to release their work under licenses which permit Derivative Works and Commercial Use, it's certainly a slap in the face of those of us who have worked hard to produce material that is free for any use, commercial or otherwise, and which can be modified or built upon, as I've done for the last 14 years. -- Nick (talk) 11:34, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

@Nicole Ebber (WMDE): Pinging the leader of the Strategy core team, so that she can explain why those decisions were taken that way.--- Darwin Ahoy! 14:53, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the ping. I am not fully sure what decisions you are referring to exactly. No decisions have been made, nor will they be made in the very near future. The draft recommendations are indeed drafts and should offer access points for discussions and improvement. Working Groups are now gathering community input, research and external expertise, and we are also working with the WMF Legal team to review all recommendations and point out legal risks and consequences. Before such a concrete and granular decision will be made, many stakeholders will be thoroughly consulted. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 13:51, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
@Nicole Ebber (WMDE): Decisions like defining the composition of WGs and allowing such a blatant lack of expertise inside them on crucial subjects such as copyright, as refered by Nick.--- Darwin Ahoy! 17:02, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
@Nicole Ebber (WMDE): I'm sorry, but this is complete nonsense. You've selected Working Groups partially based on who could make it to Wikimania last year, which is really not fair on those of us who lack the time or funds to trek half way around the world for 'our' annual naval gazing and mutual congratulation fest. You've selected people who clearly know absolutely nothing about copyright or intellectual property, and you're allowing them to make suggestions that aren't even access points for discussions and improvement. I've said this about 10 fucking times now and nobody seems to have admitted to this important point - the copyright and intellectual property aspects of our projects are areas where we HAVE to follow US legislation. We cannot just start making changes at random to the licence text, how we host non-free/fair-use material or even whether we accept NC and ND Creative Commons licences. There is NOTHING to discuss until WMF Legal explains what we can and cannot do. They need to provide boundaries on what changes could be made and ultimately, what the legal consequences of those changes would be, because with regards to copyright and IP, even small changes can have large ramifications on our projects, our users and most importantly, the people who make use of the free content we are supposedly all here to generate. Nick (talk) 07:45, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
@Nick: - sorry, I don't understand your objection. It would indeed be pointless to have a strategy process that didn't involve getting legal advice where it was needed. The WMF legal team was involved at an earlier stage of the process (reviewing the WG 'scope' documents), is currently being asked to review the draft recommendations, and will doubtless have a lot of work to do in implementing many recommendations. If the WMF legal team had been asked to review things before the recommendations were written they wouldn't have known where to start, and their input would not have been useful. And yes, if the Wikimedia servers continue to be hosted in the US and run by a US-registered entity (pretty likely but not certain), the projects will have to follow US law... but plenty of US organisations host CC-BY-NC-ND content so really I am unsure how this subject links to that recommendation (I mean, there are plenty of objections being raised about whether we SHOULD do that, or if it happens at all whether it should be very limited in scope) but really I don't see how 'we have to obey US law' is one of them). Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 09:28, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
@The Land: There are potential legal implications with all of the copyright proposals, the NC/ND are lower risk, but there are proposals to change the Terms of Use, to develop new licences which would force the distribution of original content along with derivative works, proposals to automatically relicense content to prevent it from being further modified (edited, basically) if an expert has written/proofed the content, there's a suggestion that 'we' could make use of the GFDL license and using invariate sections to force all of this to happen. I don't see how any of this is viable, given all of this would violate the ShareAlike feature of the current CC license (and its near clone, the GFDL license). Nick (talk) 16:29, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
I have sent an email with clarifications and responses to some of the concerns we have heard here on wikimedia-l. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 14:49, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
@Nicole Ebber (WMDE): You keep saying that the documents presented here are mere "recommendation drafts", but from the point of view of the Wikimedia community they are indeed the final versions we have access to, since per the timeline you presented there, next time we will interact with them will be already during implementation.
I'm not a soothsayer, but looking at the quality of the presented "draft", which seems a very preliminary document, and the very low engagement between the WGs and the community that has been participating here, it's easy to predict that there is a good probability of having a catastrophic outcome of these recommendations, if they are not validated by the Wikimedia community at the time WMF comes with their final version - approved by themselves - and attempts to implement them anyway.
I find it quite sad to see so much effort, money and energy being thrown away by a rush to present the WMF a final version in some precise and predefined time schedule, at the cost of excluding the whole Wikimedia community from the process and risking a catastrophic shipwreck of the entire thing.--- Darwin Ahoy! 10:25, 23 August 2019 (UTC)

Working Group Responses[edit]

Hi guys,

I'm participating fairly actively in the discussions of a couple of the working groups. However, there is being functionally no engagement by WG members in those I've responded in - this is immensely problematic because we can't even clarify what certain recommendations and rationales are meant to mean, let alone respond to raised issues.

It is not enough for it to all be analysed and a final set of recommendations be made - we need ongoing discussion and the chance to ensure those reviewing understand exactly what issues and being raised, and what issues there might be with potential adaptations.

I know we've had Wikimania in the way, but everyone should be back from there by now.

Whether WGs select a couple of spokespersons or are all just somewhat more active doesn't matter, but community feedback is contingent on getting some additional participation. Nosebagbear (talk) 12:09, 25 August 2019 (UTC)

Yes, on-wiki is the only valid way to discuss anything in the Wikiverse. Anything off-wiki is by default less valuable. So any discussions by those "working"-groups should be done on-wiki. People, who don't discuss on-wiki should have no place in such working groups, as they don't really work. Wikimania could be dealt with as an exemption, if they would have discussed this there in working groups with a wee bit wider public, and now prepare the outcomes of those discussions for publication on-wiki, but usually everything should be done on-wiki. If not on the many wikis separate, which would be better, as Meta is not really a place the most prolific and thus most valuable editors linger that often, but at least here on Meta everything should be absolutely open, and no participation in discussions by the "working" groups should be a clear sign of non-qualification as a working group member. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 12:49, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
  • @Nicole Ebber (WMDE): - a ping to the strategy core leader (the closest as a general spokesperson this whole process seems to have). Could you ask each WG co-ordinator to energetically push them and their fellow WG members to get involved in answering both the clarification questions and the issues raised by editors? We have less than 2 weeks left, and it would be downright deceptive to base any set of conclusions from a consultation when there are numerous aspects of confusion. Already the whole process might need to be delayed because some discussions have dozens of questions needing detailed member feedback.
You also said above, in response to numerous dearth of consideration to "what might the negatives be" that "answers that will undergo tremendous development over the next weeks". There haven't been any yet. Consultation can't viably occur unless that's been provided as it's supposed to inform discussion, not be filled from it (which is its own separate category). Please can you give us a firm timeline and pause the timeline on consultation closes until they have been. Nosebagbear (talk) 15:17, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
Flowing to Germany, Sweden, Tunisia and other exotic places after every few months and spending the intermediate time to pack up or relieve themselves of the jet-lag. Winged Blades of Godric (talk) 15:42, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
The lack of any response from @Nicole Ebber (WMDE): seems very illustrative of the spirit of the process when it comes to ignoring community engagement. ChristianKl❫ 13:38, 25 September 2019 (UTC)
  • @Pundit, Doc James, and Raystorm: - the current workflow has WG recommendations going from here directly to the WMF and the board. I thought a headsup in advance might be helpful. There's a few individuals here, and vast numbers on the current and (especially) previous discussion pages for the dozens of recommendation talk pages asking, pleading and demanding engagement from the WG members. In a majority of the WGs there was absolutely no engagement with community in either consultation period 1 and (so far) period 2. There's no way the recommendations could have been properly updated given the lack of engagement.
Thus, if and when they come to board, please bear in mind that it's not "merely" an issue that recommendations might not have community support (absolutely critical in it own right) but also that they haven't had (and can't have had) the rigorous consideration it would need to identify all the possible issues.
An ideal setup would be to ask the executive team to have the WGs reopen the stage 1 consultations and not proceed until sufficient communication had been undertaken. Notwithstanding this, please consider this an advance and more direct FYI. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:37, 25 September 2019 (UTC)
Just to highlight that all 3 of the people you just pinged are also members of working groups ;) (I don't think this subtracts from your point, but don't forget that almost all of the Board are also involved in the working group discussions!) Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 06:43, 26 September 2019 (UTC)

Hi, and sorry for the late response. I have recently posted an update on Wikimedia-l and Wikimedia Space, and wanted to clarify that there will be another round of community input going forward. In addition to that, input coming in from across the movement on and offline are being read, analyzed, and forwarded to Working Groups. Some of the input is already reflected in the current iteration of the recommendations, some of it isn't. We are working with my team and the groups on how to best organize, handle and respond to the amounts of input in the next round and will keep you posted on timeline and process updates. Thanks for your ongoing interest, best wishes, --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 16:12, 3 October 2019 (UTC)

@Nicole Ebber (WMDE): Where can we read what is being forwarded to the working groups? --Yair rand (talk) 19:39, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Previous reports from different channels of community conversations have been posted here, and there is more to come. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 20:16, 3 October 2019 (UTC)

Summary[edit]

The following is a summary of how I've understood the recommendations, minus the parts that presumably won't be implemented either because they violate Wikimedia principles, are impractical or impossible, contradict one or more other recommendations, or have no clear associated "action". (I've assumed that many aspects of R&R's Quotiel model will be adopted simply because very many of the other recommendations seem to take this for granted.)


The autonomous volunteer communities will run their respective projects in accordance with their established local policies, and will be supported by one or more organizations called "support structures". Each community will decide on their needs from support structures, which will be built and/or supported by one of several supervisory organizations called "hubs". The two kinds of hubs are Regional hubs, which work with support structures of a particular geographic region, and Thematic hubs, which work with thematic/"specialized" support structures. The hubs oversee the support structures and distribute funds to them (although each structure will strive to be financially independent), and will be overseen by and help oversee a central body responsible for accountability, coordination, communication, dispute resolution among regional hubs, and distributing funds among the hubs via a transparent and broadly-inclusive process. Initial support structures will include the existing Affiliate organizations, a new capacity building organization, and the current Wikimedia Foundation (with a reduced scope), which will be organized under the North American Regional hub and responsible for the servers, trademarks and some core development.

The support structures may raise funds individually, and may receive assistance from a global support function for aiding local fundraising. Funds will be redistributed, aiming to have a majority of movement resources located in the Global South. The support structures and hubs will require transparency and accountability in spending and allocating resources.

Decision-making power on software features will be shared with the editor communities. The communities will be kept informed on issues relating to development activities by the Tech knowledge dissemination team; governance of software will happen via an open and transparent proposals process; and the process for final deployment of changes will be overseen by the Deployment Council. Development of software will be decentralized, and long-term goals will be determined in a participatory manner involving a collaborative public roadmap, with proposals vetted for technical merit by the Technology Council.

The recommendations propose the development of tools that support community discussions, decision-making and self-governance, the establishment of a movement-wide online training platform, and structured databases for documenting and keeping track of capacity-building assets available to Wikimedians, details of partnerships between Wikimedia organizations and external entities, and barriers to editing. The recommendations also advocate generally prioritizing documentation and language diversity, and formalizing Wikimedia's principles and norms regarding partnerships, resource allocation, fundraising, and advocacy.

--Yair rand (talk) 19:54, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

Thank you, thank you, Yair rand! It makes much more sense when you explain it that way. So is that what this whole strategy process was actually about – decentralising WMF? Why couldn't they just say that at the beginning? —Pelagic (talk) 03:12, 28 September 2019 (UTC)