Wikimedia and Libraries User Group/Meeting minutes/2018/March/27/Brainstorm
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The question: What makes a good user group work?
- A good user group hosts meeting at varying times so members have a chance to attend when it is convenient for them
- A good user group reports out to its members and the broader community regularly and on multiple channels
- A good user group provides meeting agendas in advance with an opportunity to provide input (eg. adding some dot points, comments or links to the agenda / minutes document) for group members who can't make the meeting time slot but still want to contribute to the discussion or have particular expertise on a topic.
- A good user group assumes that members of the user group have very different experiences of both the library sectors (public, academic and research etc.) and Wikipedia.
- The group spends time exploring those differences and unpacking assumptions to ensure communication on WLUG projects is effective.
- A good user group recognises that "library world time-frames" are often much slower than "Wikimedia world time-frames" - a smart user group respects this difference and learns how to use that to our advantage.
- A good group is one that gets stuff done.
- Prioritisation of initiatives with a view to picking a very small set (could be just one) that seem feasible with the resources available to the group and then making that happen.
- It’s also important to understand when to declare victory and when to declare failure. There is a difference between quality (fit for purpose) and perfection.
- A group cannot always be unanimous. If, after a reasonable discussion that has drawn out all issues and there is no consensus, it is time to vote.
- having a shared understanding of how decisions are made
- having a shared understanding of when a decision has been made (in other words, when to stop discussing and act.)
- Acting in a business-like manner (agendas, notes, action items with people identified who will drive those actions forward).
- Picking a small number of manageable goals and then following through
- Is one that involves its members in decision making and at all times makes them feel a part of the decision process.
- Is a group that has a clear plan of what they want to achieve in the short term (preferably in a year) and maps strategies on how to achieve them.
- Is the one that constantly reviews the opinions of the community and provides fair judgement in arising conflicts.
- Is a group that provides opportunities to its members and don't come across as selfish (create opportunities for members to lead in certain capacities, allows active members to represent the group when opportunities come up (WMCON, regional-based conferences, etc.)
- Four C's: Caring Community, Commitment and Communication
- Caring Community. We should take the time to get to know each other as best as we can so that working together is more fun, so that we forgive each other more easily if we make mistakes or misspeak, and that we feel committed to each other as a community as well committed to the cause.
- Commitment. If people in the user group say that they will commit to completing a task, a plan, or what have you, they should commit to it and see it through.
- Communication. We need to communicate well with each other, with members of the user group, and people who may be interested in what this user group does. Part of this communication includes leaving a "paper trail" of our activities.
- Clear and achievable goals. It is necessary to select and prioritize what we want to achieve.
- Participation and inclusivity. Allow people to speak their mind and participate actively. Make people feel part of a whole and encourage them to step up.
- Communication / Outreach. As a good practice, there should be, whenever possible, records of what we do and discuss, eg: minutes of meetings, archives of mailing list discussion. Additionally, for the purpose of engaging more members in the UG, our activities should be shared among our audience with intent to call to action.
- Accountability. We should acknowledge people's merits. It might be by giving star banners on user pages, highlighting some members' work in our channels (Facebook, e-mail, etc).
- We need an internal policy to handle inappropriate behaviours.
- It reaches out to its target audience on multiple mediums, makes it easy for them to participate and keeps them engaged it plans well ahead.
- It makes sure the plans are realistic and sets targets it acts on its plan by distributing the workload among its members and gives them a sense of ownership of the group
- It listens, it learns and it grows.
- It provides a spectrum of resources. The strength of a group of librarians is that we can help one another with our goals and projects on various Wiki platforms.
- Recognizing member's efforts.