Talk:WMF Partnerships Team FAQ

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Questions from the community[edit]

  • Putting of 'partnerships' and 'fundraising' together under 'advancement'
If the new "partnerships" team is part of the new "advancement" department and that department is ALSO responsible for fundraising, isn't that in direct contradiction from the principle of never mixing "fundraising" and "programatic" activities. This was even the official "lesson learned no.1" of the Belfer Center fiasco - formal 'lessons learned' report is here: Outreach:Assessment of Belfer Center Wikipedian in Residence program#Lessons learned. Wittylama (talk) 19:44, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Hi Liam, Programatic work is and will continue to be under the Community Department. Thanks! --Lgruwell-WMF (talk) 18:31, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
I think this illustrates my confusion about what the words "partnership" and "programatic" mean in the WMF's eyes. I understand WP Zero as a 'partnership' and equally I understand working with Yandex as a 'partnership' - because only the WMF are legally/technically capable of undertaking those kinds of relationships. Its about contracts-for-service, and up-time, and money, etc etc. But then, as mentioned below, the World Bank project (as far as I can understand it) is a content donation that is being managed by the Partnerships team [not the Community Dep't as suggested] and that is a "programatic" activity. That's the only example I know of for what the Partnerships Team is doing - so that's all I've got to work with. A content donation from a data-collecting agency is not something that only the WMF can do, although it can certainly help the wider community to build the capacity to handle this, and therefore future, projects. So, do you see my confusion about where the distinction between "programatic" and "partnership" activities lies?
Add to this my first-hand experience of seeing the Belfer Center project, and seeing that now the fundraising team's goals will be being mingled with the partnerships team's goals, can you see why I'm nervous? Wittylama (talk) 22:56, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Scope of 'partnerships' to include 'content' and 'outreach' work?
As discussed in the [admittedly off-topic] section of this phabricator ticket, what is the scope of "partnerships" for doing what could be classified as "outreach" or "content" work? I understand WP-Zero being "partnerships" that WMF ought to manage, but does it also include directly negotiating content partnerships - like the way the GLAMwiki volunteer/chapter community have been doing? Does this change the practical and/or legal status of the WMF from being "merely" a website host? Equally, if the WMF is directly coordinating content partnerships now (e.g. negotiating directly with the World Bank (rather than, say, identifying community who can 'run' the project and building their capacity) that radically changes the dynamic of what kinds of outreach the community would be willing and able to do.
Further to this, following the post from Quim Gil at https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T107625#1548506, it's interesting to see that the approach that has been taken by the GLAM-Wiki community is "a successful precedent" that the WMF Partnerships team wants to "watch and learn from". One of the important things that we (glam-wiki) have done internationally is tried to build a decentralised, local-capacity, every-project-is-different, and collegial group. Sure, there are some employed national Chapter coordinators etc, but its crucial for scalability that the staff are not the ones who are actually responsible for 'owning' the projects. We specifically toyed with the idea (several years ago) of even having some form of 'accreditation system' for using the phrase 'wikipedian in residence' but decided that the negatives of potentially stifling innovation, creating hierarchy and bureaucracy, and creating bottlenecks were greater than the advantages of reducing the risk of 'bad projects'. I personally don't really understand the WMF Partnerships team's scope or methodology is, but I sense a great risk of centralisation and stifling of community motivation if the WMF starts to step into undertaking content or outreach partnerships itself. It should be building the community's capacity and perhaps even doing some hand-holding and matchmaking, but not 'coordinating'. My 2c at least. Wittylama (talk) 19:44, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Hi Liam, thank you for your question. I want to confirm that the Strategic Partnerships team is not pursuing GLAM opportunities and it is not our intent to do it in the future. Thank you. SVentura (WMF) (talk) 17:54, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
Dear SVentura (WMF), you seem to have misunderstood my question. I'm not trying to force you to give a "confirm or deny" response about your intentions regarding museums and libraries! I'm asking you if you could clarify what you see the role of the Partnerships Team regarding things which could be considered "outreach" or "content". Clearly, you are directly coordinating a content donation from the World Bank to Wikidata. This leaves me confused about the role of the Partnerships team and I'm asking for clarification about that. I'm also not simply declaring "don't touch these topics" [outreach and content] - In fact it could be super-helpful if the WMF had a team who could assist the wider community in building relationships with local institutions. What I AM saying is that I'd be very concerned if the WMF was stepping into the role of running content partnerships/outreach itself and independently of any community support role. In my view this is exactly the same concern as if the WMF staff started to write Wikipedia articles as a core part of their job. Not only would that change the WMF's legal situation re. DMCA, but also radically change the motivation of the volunteer community - "if the WMF's doing it themselves, why should I?"
Do you see what I'm saying, what I'm asking? Do you see that telling me that "Partnerships team is not pursuing GLAM opportunities" when you're simultaneously negotiating a content partnership with an NGO makes me more confused, not less? Wittylama (talk) 22:32, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
Hi Liam, thank you for your note. It seems that we are in agreement. Some of the Partnerships team's work will be to assist the wider wikipedia community in building relationships with local and global institutions. In the case of the World Bank, we had the brainstorming and exploration phase - pretty normal in new partnerships discussion - once we determined this partnership was best suited for Wikidata we handled it over to the Wikidata community that will be closely supported by the team in Germany. I hope this helps clear the initial confusion. SVentura (WMF) (talk) 00:48, 19 August 2015 (UTC)