Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Recommendations/Sprint/Community Health/5

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The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it.
Most likely, new comments will not be taken into account by the new three Working Group members in their work of developing the final Recommendations. You are free however to continue discussing in the spirit of "discussing about Wikipedia is a work in progress". :)

Cautiously optimistic[edit]

I see potential for good and for disruption in this recommendation, depending on how it is implemented. Much depends on whether the specifications are controlled by the relevant community, or inflicted upon them by outdiders. I would support the first, oppose the second. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:39, 23 September 2019 (UTC)


(OTRS agent hat) More resources on dealing with issues are always appreciated. I think that is important to consider the format though. As I have become more experienced with Wikipedia, it has become even more clear that it is impossible to learn every policy and procedure related to what I am attempting to do. Instead, I have learned what resources are available and where I should find them. In many cases, online training environments are not designed to be easy to refer back to later. If the information wasn't stored on a wiki page, it would be even more difficult to use later. I've also found that I don't truly learn information unless I have to use that information often. Taking a quiz at the end doesn't count. --AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 17:51, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

Taking a quiz has a few useful points. It alerts you to what is considered important by the instructor, It ensures that you have at least noticed that information, and there is a reasonable chance that you understood it at the time, and you are more likely to remember it for longer than if there was no quiz. A lot depends on the quality of the quiz too. There is no guarantee that you will remember the information you will need to use. There is also no guarantee that you will use much of the information. Some is more useful than other. It depends on what you actually do and when you do it. Your point about finding it again is good. That is often a problem.· · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 20:20, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

So much training[edit]

This, and numerous other recommendations, state mandatory training for functionaries.

Some of them, like this one, require that to be repeated every two years.

It stacks up to a staggering amount of time just doing the training, bringing two problems each sufficient to kill the ideas:

  1. The functionaries will be spending so much time training that the project actually becomes worse off because they can't actually fulfill their roles
  2. Training along these lines is frequently non-interesting (interesting training usually requires things like live business actors which I assume we aren't springing for). Repeat training is almost never interesting. It's enough to kill off any interest in being a functionary, or even an Admin as indicated here.

The working groups could decide 2 pieces of training they'd like, "more training" can't be a solution for every issue and perceived issue Nosebagbear (talk) 18:18, 24 September 2019 (UTC)

Elaboration sought[edit]

One of the training is about Adequate support of people with mental health challenges in online environments.

Now, one of the most popular and widely used essays in Wikipedia state that one's psychological state is not an acceptable excuse for disruptive editing and/or any in-equal treatment. Did the WG_Members know of this?

Shandley et al in a 2010 publication notes that Risks are inherent in this behavior as informal sources are not always equipped with sufficient knowledge or skills to provide aid and, in worst-case scenarios, may cause more harm than good. That I have seen almost all of these training materials to be too vague (most can be summed up as:- Be a saint, even if the other person is an asshole!) or to fell awfully short of psychiatric rigor, how do you avert the aforementioned risk but yet develop a non-vague training module, usable by laymen? Winged Blades of Godric (talk) 12:13, 25 September 2019 (UTC)

Winged Blades of Godric, the Working Group will not be tasked to avert that. The question you raise, how, is about execution (tactics, operation), and the recommendations are focused on the strategy only. SGrabarczuk (WMF) (talk) 10:18, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
@SGrabarczuk (WMF): - it's very hard for us to consider the viability of strategy if we can't make a clear estimation of if something is possible to implement. Like most large organisations if the WMF went for "yes it's a good strategy" it would be far harder to change the strategy if the execution turned out to be poor than avoiding going down that road to begin with. Nosebagbear (talk) 19:26, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Nosebagbear, to an extent, true, but I'd like to just remind that anyway, this conversation is about overarching goals and distant future. So instead of asking "how to avert sth?", we may go: "remember to recommend to mitigate the risk of..." SGrabarczuk (WMF) (talk) 19:42, 3 October 2019 (UTC)

Request for help with data security, and feedback[edit]

We have major problems at Wikipedia. One of the biggest is that there's no clear policy for data security, data retention, and notification of disclosures (both authorized and non-authorized) of confidential information that may be stored. Functionaries hold a considerable amount of such information, including the ArbCom mailing list (at en-wiki), ArbCom wiki, and the email archives of various functionaries. All this information needs to be put under control. There should be a clear policy and each functionary should sign a certification that they will abide by the policy. The certification should be sworn before a notary under penalty of perjury and filed with WMF. As a pre-requisite to that big job we need to decide what private data should be retained and for how long.

As for the proposals on the attached project page, it looks like it could be good or bad depending on how it is implemented. If this is provided as an online course that can be completed in two hours, followed by an exam, I suppose that would be ok. If it requires a bigger commitment of time, I think you are going to lose a lot of valuable, experienced volunteers who have no interest in bureaucracy. Keep it simple! Jehochman (talk) 12:30, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

Two potential issues, one suggestion[edit]

  1. Including anything at all about "Mental health issues" is a huge problem; best to leave it completely out, IMO. To begin with, merely defining what constitutes a MHI opens a can of worms. Self-declared MHI volunteers might feel singled out unjustly; and they'd be correct. Then there is determining which MHI is a problem area, and which is not. Who would decide that? How? What criteria? If we were to hire a mental health professional, they'd tell us they cannot diagnose over the Internet. If we don't, we're practicing without a license. If the MHI is causing problems, then focus on the problems not on the MHI. Delete all mention of MHI, in my opinion. It opens the door to abuse, legal issues, and solves exactly nothing.
  2. Training every two years? I have considerable experience in the Distance Education field, although I am no longer in that field. Who would determine the curriculum? The goals? The criteria? Who would develop the course-ware? If you mean writing some clear manual type pages, either policy or guideline, then do it. If you mean training, no. Writing it would be a huge undertaking, and you've yet to show it would even be taken or help.
  3. If consensus is that competence must be determined for certain roles, specifically OTRS, etc - then I suggest a test. I do not suggest such a course of action for administrators. They have a competence exam via their Rfa; if they cheat or lie their way to adminship, or later become less competent due either to power going to their heads or some other reason, they will eventually be re-educated via the community, or removed via methods already in place. If you require any testing, training, or other burden upon admins, the result will be that you will get people who test well and not people who work well. I would not be surprised to find you would get a revolt before you'd get even a one-item measure of competence imposed from above implemented, and rightfully so.

And a final note: Rulescreep and bureaucracy is widely (and correctly, IMO) regarded as detrimental. Before you try to solve a problem by adding such, be very sure it would be a net positive, and the downside will not exceed any good gained. I don't see this, as currently suggested, helping at all. One puppy's opinion. KillerChihuahua (talk) 14:04, 1 October 2019 (UTC)