User talk:Mdennis (WMF)

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Maggie, Congratulations on your new role. May I take the opportunity to repeat to you some suggestions I made to your predecessor -- I frankly admit that they did not find favour with him. Perhaps you may be more interested. This says it all, I think. I hope you find them useful. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 22:25, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

Hi, Rogol Domedonfors. Thanks for your good wishes. Just to be sure it's clear, my role is interim. :) I realize you didn't imply otherwise, but it's something I like to be explicit. :D I'm here while we get somebody permanent in place, whereupon I plan to head back into my Support & Safety neighborhood.
I think those are good ideas. One of them Luis already put in the planning process - we are hoping at some point soon to create a hub/portal/title-yet-determined where information is available and where staff are available to talk. We are fairly far along in the process of hiring an additional community advocate and hope that after the hire is made and they're brought up to speed that we'll be able to staff this. Even if that takes longer than anticipated to get that hire up to speed, I hope we'll have more staffing capacity anyway once strategy/annual planning settles down. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 22:39, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
Just for the record, Maggie, while you may lack a background in grants, I think that your good attitude is a wonderful fit for the Senior Director role. Especially while there are so many questions about the governance of the organization, your steady and positive personality is a wonderful asset, and it's generous of you to take on an additional hat at this time. --Pine 05:47, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Maggie, thanks for your positive response. I quite understand your position, and that you would not wish to make major strategic decisions that would inhibit the freedom of action of your successor. Nonetheless, I would urge you to do all you can to make progress in building a better engagement with the community. To be blunt, your words "we are hoping at some point" are not as definite as I would have wished: I was hoping for something more like "we will definitely do this by [date]". If we have to wait for your successor to be appointed before the "hope" can turn into "plan", let alone "do", then I am afraid that it will be too late. The gap between community and foundation is widening and the longer that is allowed to continue the harder it will be to bridge. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 07:30, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Thank you, @Pine:. :) Rogol Domedonfors , one of the things that seems to concern you in the link you left above is lack of follow-through. That's a concern I share. I would like to be more definite, but I really can't at this stage. I wouldn't make a commitment I don't feel pretty sure I can keep, and any exact date would be speculation on my part.
For more context, last quarter Support and Safety put together a plan for a hub that we could deploy, experimentally, to see if it would serve the communication need, but deployment was put on hold as we were assigned to support the strategy and annual plan consultations while also maintaining other commitments (our core work - including trust & safety functions - and our ongoing harassment consultation). While we have been working towards a hire to increase our capacity, the concept of the hub has been expanded a bit, with other teams and departments who have been considering hubs of their own looking towards how to make it even more useful as a single portal of information. My hope is that we will have resources to put the hub on our goals for quarter four (April-June), but that's always going to depend on what other work needs to be done, the prioritization of that work (which is not all "me" dependent), and the people we have to do it. What I think is very important is that we not release the hub if we cannot staff it. Right now, we could not staff it. Having a poorly staffed hub would not improve anything. :/
The 2016 Strategy/Community consultation lists as a potential focus for next year (beginning in July) increased communication and transparency, including from the WMF. Right now, that consultation is still open, with people weighing in on what they think we should be prioritizing. There is also an open question about community health and free fields for suggesting your ideas. It would be great if you added your thoughts there. Our strategy consultant will be reporting out trends and priorities suggested by that consultation, which closes Monday. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 11:35, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
I have been asking for improved communication and transparency and for clear and effective dialogue for so long that I am sorry that it is still only a "potential focus". It seems odd that the WMF is unable to resource it when it has nearly 300 staff and nearly a hundred million dollars. I suppose it is because the WMF mindset is that communication with the community is an overhead: that is is entirely a cost with no benefit. I think that's quite wrong and that effective engagement would more than pay for itself in added value to the projects. I do urge you to try it! Thank you for offering me the opportunity to ask for it again in yet another forum but I am sure you will understand why I find that suggestion a little underwhelming. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 18:03, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Hi, Rogol Domedonfors. I really understand that perception. :) However, there's a couple of points that need to be considered. First, the staff we have are not generalists who can be repurposed to any area with equal facility. The admin team is probably not best positioned to manage the hub, for instance. :) The community engagement department - which would seem best positioned to do this work - is slightly over 40, I think. Those ~40 people support grants and product releases and help triage bugs and support the international education programs and support affiliate organizations and process DMCA takedowns and support the OTRS admins and the stewards and the Ombudsman Commission. Among other workflows. These people are communicating constantly with community - every day. Other departments, too, are frequently communicating with community - on MediaWiki and Phabricator, for instance. So, the important second point is that what we're talking about here is not "community conversation" versus "no community conversation." Community conversations happen all the time, as so they should. It's about optimizing the ways and places that those conversations happen in a sustainable, sensible way and opening it up transparently for easier access. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:27, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
The WMF surely controls its own recruitment and the balance of skills on its staff. There has been plenty of time to recruit the people needed for this work if it had been decided to do so: although I see that in the short term it's not so easy. As I see it, those members of the community looking for a more effective mode of dialogue with WMF, especially about planning,have the opportunity to respond to a survey which might result in a strategy consultant making a recommendation which might be decided on, which might result in a plan which might be resourced, which might result in action. Meanwhile the gap between community and WMF widens, WMF embarks on software projects that the community neither wants nor can use,and the expertise of volunteers who are trying to cooperate goes to waste. I don't see how I, for one, can help you to fix that. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 23:08, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

To an extent, definitely. Like many organizations (and especially nonprofits), WMF hiring is pre-planned by its annual budget, which is tied to its annual plan, and submitted to the Board of Trustees towards the end of each fiscal year. (Sorry for being inexact; I'm traveling and have limited tech.) The priorities of hiring are determined by the WMF and the Board, with an emphasis on meeting annual strategic goals. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 01:09, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

A member of staff pointed me to phab:T124022 which seems relevant. Let us hope that moves us all in the right direction. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 05:20, 1 March 2016 (UTC)
I thought I would ask whether you see any progress on the issues we discussed here back in February? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 17:02, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

Usurpation and licensing[edit]

Hey MRG! Hope all is well. I just wanted to drop you a note in case you didn't notice my ping to your personal account. Some years back you had helped me work through the 'username usurpation licensing concerns' - I can't find the thread, but if I recall correctly, you advised that usurpation of usernames does not, in fact, present significant licensing concerns for GFDL/cc-by-sa. Is this still your understanding, and if so, perhaps you could place your analysis at m:SRUC#Snow Rise@global? As we have moved to the global renaming model, there does seem to be some differing beliefs that I would like to clear up as we move forward towards establishing a global usurpation policy. TIA. –xeno 16:41, 19 March 2016 (UTC)

Hi, user:xeno. :) I didn't notice it - haven't had a lot of time lately and thus hadn't logged in as a volunteer. :/ It looks like I missed my window on that one - I'm sorry! I'm logging in as Moonriddengirl here because this is my volunteer opinion, and I cannot currently remember if I sought legal opinion on this question or not. It was a long time ago. Since my volunteer work is heavily copyright-based, I've just forgotten! If you'd like, I can ask the attorneys to consider a Wikilegal posting that could help inform a global usurpation policy. My own opinion is that this is right - licenses do require that we attribute by pseudonym if designated, but gives no guarantee of exclusivity of pseudonym. Which makes sense, because John Smith doesn't get to own exclusive attribution rights, and IP contributors do not get exclusive attribution rights, either. I think we'd be on shaky grounds if we changed the pseudonym altogether, but adding disambiguation to it (User:Foo (2014)) seems okay to me. But that's just my opinion, and legal opinion may differ. Would you like me to speak to the legal team? :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:04, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
No worries about the delay, it got declined for reasons other than simply the licensing angle. I think it would be useful to have a firm legal opinion if they have time, since the proposal that is about to be advanced suggests that if an account has "meaningful contributions" or "any content contributions which add worthwhile information to a project, then usurpation is not possible, regardless of when the edits were made", but to my mind this is too strict and is borne of potential confusion and a layman's interpretation of the licensing requirements. –xeno 16:49, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
FWIW, that part of the proposed policy was added by me to appease the German cabal. While most projects are unconcerned with usurping accounts with a few edits, some believe that accounts should never be usurped, and I'm trying to find some sort of common ground to establish a global standard on. To the best of my knowledge, attribution is satisfied so long as the edits are attributed to the original account that made them - that's why we have the import function. Renaming shouldn't cause any legal issues if it's the same account attributed to the edits, regardless of name, though a final ruling on the matter could be useful. Ajraddatz (talk) 16:56, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
Hi folks, just a note to say that Maggie's asked me to follow this up on the WMF's end. I'm going to reach out to Legal and see if we have any guidance we can offer (or put together and then offer) on this topic; hopefully we'll have something informative to add here or to the new RfC in the near future. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 15:36, 26 March 2016 (UTC)
FYI: [1]. I would appreciate if you clarify these kind of issues together with this request. Samat (talk) 19:45, 27 March 2016 (UTC)
Hi all, I've looked into this a bit. It's not really appropriate for a full wikilegal analysis because there's just not that much out in the world about attribution. It's not even really a copyright law issue, it's just an issue about how the CC licenses work. At any rate, as one example what the CC 3.0 license says is that a reuser must "provide, reasonable to the medium or means You are utilizing: (i) the name of the Original Author (or pseudonym, if applicable) if supplied..." The "reasonable to the medium or means" language along with the "if applicable" provides a lot of flexibility under these licenses. Typically, the pseudonym isn't applicable because there are many authors, so a page would just be cited to "Wikipedia" or whichever project it came from. Even where a specific contribution can be identified to a single editor and one would want to identify that editor, if there's a policy that usernames can occasionally be changed, that would most likely be reasonable to the medium and not an issue under the licenses. So, I don't see usurpation in the context of the projects as a problem under the CC licenses, and it has nothing to do with the rest of copyright law. --Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 21:37, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

They don't even look at your plans![edit]

This is the solution for the gender gab of Wikimedia-NL:

[2] [3] [4]

etc, etc etc. Porn! Graaf Statler (talk) 16:46, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

Well, Maggie, it is all irrelevant nonsens by blocked user, what els can I do than to wish your and your foundation lots of succes. With lots of porn, nonsens, copyvio and wonderfull Wikimedia-NL. By the way, did you notise if 1500 people give ten euro, it is just enough to pay the Wikimedia-NL party? 1500 people? Who think there money is well spend? Best regards, Graaf Statler (talk) 19:54, 4 May 2016 (UTC)

Inviting WMF staff to WikiConference USA in San Diego[edit]

Hi Maggie, if WikiConference USA happens in San Diego this year, I hope that you will encourage as many WMF staff as possible to attend, especially the San Francisco office staff who don't usually go to conferences or Wikimania. What do you think about the concept of having a charter bus from San Francisco to San Diego, for both WMF staff and community members? (Also pinging DrMel who is the conference coordinator, since she may have ideas as well.) --Pine 19:15, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

Hi, User:Pine. :) I am aware! I'm planning to attend myself, even though it's moving to the opposite coast. Knock wood. I know word is spreading among staff, but there's always a bit of a balance there. Sometimes community members aren't happy when staff vastly overwhelm volunteers at events. We try to be conscious of that when scheduling participation at any event, and also to make sure that everyone we pay to send anywhere is a good use of donor dollars. :) Don't know about the charter bus idea - I can ask about it. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:19, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
Hi again Maggie. I was thinking more about staff attendance rather than staff presentations. I agree that WMF staff presentations should be kept to a modest percentage of the total presentations offered. With regards to participation as conference attendees, I think that this would be a wonderful opportunity for back-office staff like HR, finance, legal, admin, and tech infrastructure to mingle with a substantial number of content contributors, researchers, GLAM+STEM activists, educators, and community organizers. I think that the staff would enjoy the experience and it would give them a broad vision of Wikimedia, far broader than they might get from reviewing trademark contracts, purchase orders, or hiring reqs. I also am hopeful that the experience at the conference would inspire increased pride in their work and better understanding of how their workflows affect the big picture. (: So please consider encouraging staff to attend and mingle with the community, especially back-office staff. Thanks, --Pine 23:30, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

Thanks Pine! This Con is going to be unique - San Diego wants it very very much, and is such a beautiful place to host it in. The more WMF staffers that can join us, the better - a great chance to get away on a group outing. Amtrak has a great route down here from SF if you want to travel together. Talk soon? DrMel (talk) 04:39, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

Code of Conduct[edit]

Maggie, when you have a moment please review the progress that has been made at mw:Code of Conduct/Draft. I invite you to consider whether that progress is satisfactory, or whether, as has been suggested at mw:Talk:Code of Conduct/Draft#Nine months and mw:Talk:Code of Conduct/Draft#What happens next?, it is now time for your staff to move this project on to its next stage. In any case, this is another area in which I do not see any way to help you. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 19:07, 30 May 2016 (UTC)


Salam on he who follows the path of Guidance . You will never find more usurpers anywhere than in Algeria .It is really such a widespread phenomenon .I am a native Algerian but I witness this horrible practice all around regretfully Worldmuslim2 (talk) 07:47, 22 June 2016 (UTC)