Jul 22 15:31:33 <cary> Welcome everyone to today's Officer Hour featuring Sue Gardner
Jul 22 15:31:40 <sgardner> Hi folks.
Jul 22 15:31:42 <cary> I'm going to ask Sue to talk a little bit about things
Jul 22 15:31:48 <cary> and then
Jul 22 15:32:54 <cary> You can ask questions
Jul 22 15:32:58 <cary> questions should be asked as follows:
Jul 22 15:33:15 <cary> QUESTION: (sample) How quickly did you get the annual plan put together?
Jul 22 15:36:04 <Ashlee> cary: Still there?
Jul 22 15:36:13 <sgardner> Are you waiting for me, Cary?
Jul 22 15:36:30 <cary> Yes, please :(
Jul 22 15:36:32 <cary> :)
Jul 22 15:36:36 <sgardner> Okay.
Jul 22 15:37:00 <sgardner> So hi folks. I hadn't really planned to do any kind of opening statement. And I'm happy to talk about whatever you want: Wikimania, the annual plan, the new hires we've got in the office – whatever you like.
Jul 22 15:37:13 <sgardner> So.... you can begin, with questions, if you like.
Jul 22 15:37:42 <Ashlee> QUESTION: Why are so many resources being put into community development instead of software and technical developments?
Jul 22 15:37:57 <sgardner> How does this work, Cary? Do you moderate and I wait, or what happens?
Jul 22 15:38:36 <cary> sgardner, well, people ask questions and you handle them as possible.
Jul 22 15:38:43 <cary> If the questions get backed up, I'll repeat them to you
Jul 22 15:38:50 <cary> And Ashlee has asked the first one.
Jul 22 15:39:09 <sgardner> Okay.
Jul 22 15:40:10 <sgardner> So I guess, Ashlee, that I'd question your premise. More dollars are going into technology than community development.
Jul 22 15:40:29 <Ashlee> Why is any money going into community development/outreach?
Jul 22 15:40:42 <Ashlee> Is there any evidence to suggest it's effective to try to teach people to edit Wikipedia one at a time in-person?
Jul 22 15:40:56 <Abbasjnr> Hi. What does WMF have in plan for the Global South, particularly in Africa?
Jul 22 15:41:31 <sgardner> I'll follow up with Ashlee, then I'll move to Abbasjnr.
Jul 22 15:41:49 <Abbasjnr> ok
Jul 22 15:41:52 <dami_hun> QUESTION: What is the new Community Department hiring all about and what will the people in it do?
Jul 22 15:42:14 <guillom> I guess dami_hun 's question can be merged with Ashlee 's
Jul 22 15:42:20 <cary> thanks dami_hun; let's hold up on any more questions for a bit, and let Sue answer to what is here.
Jul 22 15:43:40 <sgardner> Money is going into community development / outreach because we feel like community development and outreach are important. Through the strategy planning project, it was clear that people have concerns about community health (that are founded in data, and in anecdotal experience) .... and that people are concerned about the narrowness of the demographics of the Wikimedia community. It makes sense that as a result of that planning process,
Jul 22 15:43:40 <sgardner> we would dedicate some resources towards addressing those issues.
Jul 22 15:44:15 <Ashlee> Okay.
Jul 22 15:44:27 <sgardner> That area of work is fairly experimental at this point. But the goal of the work is to support community health and engagement, and reach out to recruit new editors.
Jul 22 15:44:29 <sgardner> Okay.
Jul 22 15:44:31 <cary> <Abbasjnr> Hi. What does WMF have in plan for the Global South, particularly in Africa?
Jul 22 15:44:48 <sgardner> Hi Abbasjnr. I am curious if I know you: do I?
Jul 22 15:44:52 <cary> (and hi, Abbas :)
Jul 22 15:44:58 <cary> sgardner, you met him in Poland.
Jul 22 15:45:04 <Abbasjnr> Hi Sue
Jul 22 15:45:10 <Abbasjnr> No you don't
Jul 22 15:45:17 <sgardner> Did we meet in Poland?
Jul 22 15:45:22 <cary> Okay, *I* met him in poland, I think :)
Jul 22 15:45:29 <sgardner> Okay :-)
Jul 22 15:45:40 <Abbasjnr> Moka was to schedule for us to meet at Wikimania; but unfortunately we didn't
Jul 22 15:45:57 <Abbasjnr> I just managed to talk to Jimmy
Jul 22 15:46:09 <Abbasjnr> Oh, and hi Cary
Jul 22 15:46:30 <sgardner> Okay. The Wikimedia Foundation has a lot of plans for the Global South. (By the way, I think I got credited in the New York Times for making up the phrase Global South, or at least that was kind of implied. I obviously didn't make it up, and it's Googleable if people aren't sure what exactly constitutes it.)
Jul 22 15:47:08 <sgardner> You probably know about our boots-on-the-ground plans for India, Brazil and the Middle East / North African Arabic-speaking countries. Yes?
Jul 22 15:47:19 <sgardner> Because I can talk more about those if you want.
Jul 22 15:47:35 <sgardner> But it's a pretty broad question, and if there's a specific area you're interested I'd be happy to focus on it.
Jul 22 15:47:50 <Abbasjnr> Well, unfortunately I don't, Since I come from Kenya/East Africa
Jul 22 15:47:58 <sgardner> (Also, we can get Barry to do office hours sometime soon, since he is the guy who is primarily going to do this work.)
Jul 22 15:48:06 <Abbasjnr> Working on the Swahili Wikipedia
Jul 22 15:48:40 <Abbasjnr> ok
Jul 22 15:49:02 <cary> She's typing a lot, give her a second :)
Jul 22 15:49:40 <Abbasjnr> Cary, thanks for the mailing list
Jul 22 15:49:41 <sgardner> We don't have plans to do specific on-the-ground work in Africa at this point, with the exception of the MENA piece. I believe people are starting to work on the development of a South African chapter as well.
Jul 22 15:49:46 <Jamesofur> QUESTION:yes, zach should to ;)
Jul 22 15:49:51 <Jamesofur> oops ignore quesiton
Jul 22 15:49:51 <sgardner> (Yes, Zack too.)
Jul 22 15:50:17 <sgardner> Is there much volunteer self-organization where you are, Abbasjnr?
Jul 22 15:50:28 <sgardner> (Like, a potential chapter.)
Jul 22 15:50:31 <Abbasjnr> Well I've also submitted draft bylaws to Chapcom
Jul 22 15:50:42 <sgardner> Really? That's great. I hadn't heard about that.
Jul 22 15:51:05 <Abbasjnr> I've been talking to Delphine quite alot about it, via email
Jul 22 15:51:28 <Abbasjnr> And she's yet to post the discussions that we've been having on meta
Jul 22 15:51:50 <cary> <dami_hun> QUESTION: What is the new Community Department hiring all about and what will the people in it do?
Jul 22 15:52:02 <sgardner> Okay.
Jul 22 15:52:25 <sgardner> Before I answer dami_hun's question, I wanted to talk about something else for a second.
Jul 22 15:52:28 <sgardner> Please indulge me :-)
Jul 22 15:52:53 <geniice> maybe
Jul 22 15:52:56 <cary> Abbasjnr, by the way, although the Boots on the Ground project isn't targeting sub-saharan africa at this point, you'll still get the same kind of support as we would give, say other areas
Jul 22 15:53:17 <cary> sure, sgardner
Jul 22 15:53:38 <cary> sgardner, we'll indulge you
Jul 22 15:53:59 <Abbasjnr> Cary, I have no idea what that is. I'll have to go and Google it up later on
Jul 22 15:54:32 <cary> Abbasjnr, I'll chat with you
Jul 22 15:54:45 <atglenn> yes
Jul 22 15:54:45 <cary> hi sgardner_
Jul 22 15:54:46 <Jamesofur> you are :)
Jul 22 15:54:46 <Abbasjnr> ok
Jul 22 15:54:55 <Abbasjnr> yes you are Sue
Jul 22 15:54:56 <sgardner_> Sorry: it was noisy so I retreated to the boardroom, which disconnected me.
Jul 22 15:54:58 <sgardner_> Sorry!
Jul 22 15:55:25 <sgardner_> So what I wanted to say was this: I found Wikimania this year really interesting, and I enjoyed connecting with the folks I rarely get a chance to see.
Jul 22 15:55:32 <cary> Abbasjnr, I've sent you a private message :D
Jul 22 15:55:47 <sgardner_> I don't know how many people are aware of the shift in our revenue generation strategy:
Jul 22 15:56:12 <sgardner_> basically, that the Wikimedia Foundation is going to focus more attention on the community giving (many small donor) strategy ... and less attention on foundations and major donors.
Jul 22 15:56:43 <sgardner_> This is a good thing for us for a number of reasons, and one of them is that I will personally have more time, since I will be spending less time meeting with (and planning for, and thinking about) foundations and major donors.
Jul 22 15:56:56 <sgardner_> One outcome of that is that I'm going to have more time to talk with community members.
Jul 22 15:56:57 <Abbasjnr> ok
Jul 22 15:57:23 <sgardner_> So my hope is that I'll be able to do office hours once every two weeks this year, instead of once every several months.
Jul 22 15:57:54 <sgardner_> I say that because this conversation right now won't be unusual: there will be lots of opportunity to talk.
Jul 22 15:57:59 <sgardner_> Which I am looking forward to :-)
Jul 22 15:58:11 <sgardner_> Now I will answer dami_hun's question.
Jul 22 15:58:17 <Abbasjnr> that will be great
Jul 22 15:58:49 <sgardner_> dami_hun: When you talk about the new community hiring, do you mean the post that Daniel made to the blog?
Jul 22 15:58:49 <dami_hun> QUESTION: Where lies the future for WMF in 2015 in terms of budget, number of employees, offices - alternatively how far ahead do you plan such things?
Jul 22 15:59:14 <dami_hun> precisely, the blog post
Jul 22 15:59:47 <sgardner_> So yes. It's good timing that you asked this, because I just spent the last two hours talking about it with Zack.
Jul 22 16:00:02 <sgardner_> I will try to paraphrase my understanding of what he's trying to do.
Jul 22 16:00:23 <sgardner_> Basically, Zack's premise is that there
Jul 22 16:00:28 <sgardner_> (Keegan! Hi!)
Jul 22 16:01:29 <sgardner_> Basically, Zack's premise is that there are lots of talented people in the community who are demonstrating informal leadership and trying to get good work done. Some of them don't need any particular help or support from the Wkimedia Foundation, but some of them would be able to get way more done if they had help.
Jul 22 16:02:53 <sgardner_> So the purpose of putting out this call, is to surface people who are doing really great work, and bring some of them onto the staff so they can get stuff done faster and more effectively.
Jul 22 16:03:30 <sgardner_> It's an experiment, and we're not quite sure what might come of it. There will probably be all kinds of interesting implications and consequences, and we're keen to see what they will be.
Jul 22 16:03:36 <sgardner_> Questions about that?
Jul 22 16:03:50 <Ainal1> QUESTION: Are the postions in the Community Department time limited?
Jul 22 16:04:11 * Jamesofur has always liked the "staff is just community people able to do it full time without a need for another job" idea
Jul 22 16:04:30 <dami_hun_> (sorry my internet connection is useless today; I will have to re-read the answer from the logs... :( )
Jul 22 16:04:35 <sgardner_> Hm. I don't think so, Ainal1; does it say in the posting that they are?
Jul 22 16:04:41 <Ainal1> no
Jul 22 16:04:58 <Jamesofur> no daniel's response at the moment basically says "we may do anything!"
Jul 22 16:05:05 <Ainal1> :)
Jul 22 16:05:20 <sgardner_> Yeah. I don't think they are time-limited, or at least not intended to be time-limited.
Jul 22 16:05:20 <Jamesofur> which is probably fair :)
Jul 22 16:05:44 <Ainal1> Great, thanks
Jul 22 16:05:48 <sgardner_> Okay :-)
Jul 22 16:06:05 <Abbasjnr> If your chapter happens to be approved after June 1 (which is the deadline for grant application); are you exceptionally eligible to apply for a grant?
Jul 22 16:06:13 <sgardner_> People should really just self-identify if they want to do things with the Foundation; the jobs are not the only way to do that.
Jul 22 16:06:22 <sgardner_> (Sorry Abbasjnr, just one second.)
Jul 22 16:06:29 <Abbasjnr> ok
Jul 22 16:06:32 <Abbasjnr> go ahead
Jul 22 16:06:35 <sgardner_> Sure.
Jul 22 16:07:25 <Jamesofur> QUESTION: Perhaps not really where you would generally be the one focusing but do you have any thoughts on the general geographic distribution of chapters at the moment. Given the power for example that they have (2 board seats etc) but with huge swaths uncovered (including for example enormous editing hot spots like Canada and most of the US)
Jul 22 16:07:30 <dami_hun_> thanks, sgardner_ ; peteforsyth filled me in on the parts I missed :)
Jul 22 16:07:32 <sgardner_> Just further on the self-identifying thing: There are lots of ways that people can interact with the Foundation. We are really keen to get more community members visiting the office this year.
Jul 22 16:08:28 <sgardner_> Gah, sorry. I am still being distracted by lots of noise around me.
Jul 22 16:08:34 <sgardner_> Let's move to Abbasjnr's question.
Jul 22 16:09:39 <sgardner_> Yes, Abbasjnr, I'm sure we would accept grant applications post-June 1, in unusual circumstances such as the one you describe. The grants program is designed to be pretty flexibile, and I'm sure it could accommodate that. What kind of thing were you thinking about?
Jul 22 16:10:42 <Abbasjnr> That's cool. Perhaps if our proposed chapter will be accepted, then we'll need a start up grant to kick us off the ground
Jul 22 16:11:12 <geniice> QUESTION have we heard anything from the encyclopedia of life mob of late?
Jul 22 16:11:12 <sgardner_> Yeah. We have in the past I think given out funding for legal advice.
Jul 22 16:11:33 <cary> would generally be the one focusing but do you have any thoughts on the general geographic distribution of chapters at the moment. Given the power for example that they have (2 board seats etc) but with huge swaths uncovered (including for example enormous editing hot spots like Canada and most of the US)
Jul 22 16:11:39 <cary> <Jamesofur> QUESTION: Perhaps not really where you would generally be the one focusing but do you have any thoughts on the general geographic distribution of chapters at the moment. Given the power for example that they have (2 board seats etc) but with huge swaths uncovered (including for example enormous editing hot spots like Canada and most of the US)
Jul 22 16:11:50 <sgardner_> Okay, Jamesofur :-)
Jul 22 16:12:04 * Jamesofur apologizes for bad wording
Jul 22 16:12:05 <sgardner_> Oh, can I correct a misunderstanding in your question?!
Jul 22 16:12:10 <sgardner_> Please :-)
Jul 22 16:12:13 <Jamesofur> of course :)
Jul 22 16:12:16 <sgardner_> Thanks.
Jul 22 16:12:48 * Keegan corrects Jamesofur for fun
Jul 22 16:12:55 <sgardner_> This may not actually be your misunderstanding, but it's a common misunderstanding, so I'd like to take the opportunity to address it, even if it's not a misunderstanding you share :-)
Jul 22 16:13:00 <sgardner_> About the chapters-selected board seats.
Jul 22 16:13:26 <sgardner_> Basically: the purpose of the chapters-selected board members is not to represent the interests of the chapters.
Jul 22 16:13:33 <sgardner_> A lot of people I think misunderstand that.
Jul 22 16:13:41 <guillom> yes
Jul 22 16:14:43 <sgardner_> The reason the board gave the chapters the power to select two board members, was because the board felt that the chapters would do a good job of making thoughtful decisions. The premise is that the elections work reasonably well, but we all know that there will be people --who are good-- but who don't want to run for election, or who are from a small country or a small project, or who for other reasons may be unelectable.
Jul 22 16:15:15 <sgardner_> So the idea was that the chapters would be a group that could provide a kind of sober, reflective thinking to what skills and abilities are currently missing from the board...
Jul 22 16:15:32 <sgardner_> And would know the right people -- or could find the right people -- to provide those skills and abilities.
Jul 22 16:15:44 <Jamesofur> I understand that it is not meant to be (and to be honest I see them as "another way to get community selected seats") but I think it is very difficult if not impossible to move that localized impetuous out of both their own thinking and the thinking of those outside (it will be almost impossible not to have people THINK they are voting for their local community)
Jul 22 16:16:03 <cary> @ geniice I don't believe Sue has any answer to that question.
Jul 22 16:16:10 <sgardner_> Once the chapters-selected board members join the board, they are expected to behave just like the other board members. All board members have a fiduciary responsibility to put the best interests of the Wikimedia Foundation firs.t
Jul 22 16:16:15 <sgardner_> (first.)
Jul 22 16:16:57 <sgardner_> It is very difficult, you're right -- that's why I take every opportunity I get, to restate the original thinking :-)
Jul 22 16:17:12 <sgardner_> But sorry: you had a question about the geographic distribution of the chapters.
Jul 22 16:17:59 <sgardner_> (Reread your question.) Yes, there are huge swathes of the world uncovered by the chapters.
Jul 22 16:18:42 <sgardner_> Basically, chapters have taken root in Europe and a little bit outside of Europe. And there are factors that make it harder to form chapters in poorer countries, and in larger countries such as Canada and the United States.
Jul 22 16:18:58 <sgardner_> I think the board has taken some steps to make it easier to form chapters in places where it's currently difficult.
Jul 22 16:19:30 <sgardner_> For example, I think authorizing the creation of sub-national chapters was an important step, that has already enabled the New York chapter, which ultimately presumably will develop into a US chapter.
Jul 22 16:19:57 <Abbasjnr> QUESTION: Abbasjnr Are board members & advisory members paid?
Jul 22 16:20:06 <cary> Abbasjnr, no.
Jul 22 16:20:26 <sgardner_> And the staff hopes, in the coming year, to be able to help support chapter development in less-wealthy countries, where the specific context may require supporting different approaches than we have supported in the past.
Jul 22 16:20:40 <sgardner_> Is that useful? Do you want to add anything?
Jul 22 16:20:47 <sgardner_> Or raise anything else?
Jul 22 16:21:06 <cary> We have another 10 minutes
Jul 22 16:21:36 <Abbasjnr> And do they get any benefits, say travel allowances, etc?
Jul 22 16:21:37 <sgardner_> (Me too by the way -- I also see the chapters seats as just a variant of community-selected.)
Jul 22 16:21:41 <geniice> So how much communication do you have with the non en projects
Jul 22 16:21:59 <sgardner_> Abbasjnr: no, the board and AB members don't get paid
Jul 22 16:22:21 <Abbasjnr> ok
Jul 22 16:22:47 <sgardner_> Re travel allowances: when board and AB members travel on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation, their expenses are paid. So: their hotel room is paid for, their airfare, etc.
Jul 22 16:22:57 <sgardner_> With the exception of Jimmy, who always pays his own expenses.
Jul 22 16:23:07 <Abbasjnr> ok
Jul 22 16:23:24 <sgardner_> But they do not get a travel allowance in the sense of a chunk of money that they can spend on travel as they see fit. The Wikimedia Foundation arranges and pays for their travel when they travel for us.
Jul 22 16:23:34 <sgardner_> Geniice next?
Jul 22 16:23:45 <cary> <geniice> So how much communication do you have with the non en projects
Jul 22 16:23:47 <cary> yep
Jul 22 16:25:00 <sgardner_> Honestly, I would like to have more communication with everyone. I _am_ able to spend time with non-English people -- mostly chapters, simply because chapters are likeliest to have events and invite me to them. So for example I think I will be at a Swedish Wikipedia Academy in November, and I have spent time with the Israeli chapter, the Spanish chapter-in-formation, and so forth.
Jul 22 16:25:27 <sgardner_> It's a bit of a side note maybe, but I think we have a real problem with our ability to translate materials into multiple languages.
Jul 22 16:25:47 <SWATJester> QUESTION: Are there any plans or discussion, perhaps several years down the line, for the offices to expand outside the SF office? Perhaps into other countries?
Jul 22 16:26:19 <sgardner_> The TED conferences are doing really well at transcribing-and-translating TED talks, via a community of people online. I would like to see us spend some time trying to figure out if there are things they are doing, that we could adapt/adopt for Wikimedia.
Jul 22 16:26:41 <sgardner_> SwatJester next?
Jul 22 16:26:54 <cary> yes.
Jul 22 16:26:59 <sgardner_> K.
Jul 22 16:27:01 <cary> That's our friend Dan :)
Jul 22 16:27:05 <SWATJester> :)
Jul 22 16:27:09 <sgardner_> I know who he is :-)
Jul 22 16:27:44 <Keegan> Dan is my friend, not yours, Cary
Jul 22 16:28:31 <SWATJester> I am everyone's friend!
Jul 22 16:28:45 <sgardner_> Hiya Dan. So no, there are no official plans or discussions. It's something we've talked about a little bit. I think we would do it if it seemed to make sense for operational reasons: like, for example, one benefit to having Mark B in the Netherlands is time-zones-coverage for operations.
Jul 22 16:28:46 <killiondude> There's no other way to solve this than by cutting SWATJester and letting everyone have a piece of him.
Jul 22 16:28:52 <sgardner_> (Hee)
Jul 22 16:29:16 <sgardner_> Continuing :-) Do you think it would be a good idea, or not?
Jul 22 16:29:37 <sgardner_> There are obviously legal considerations, which you would be aware of.
Jul 22 16:29:41 <dami_hun_> cheaper labour costs maybe?
Jul 22 16:29:54 <SWATJester> those, as well as the role of the Chapters to consider
Jul 22 16:30:11 <SWATJester> But I think it could do wonders for, say, the Global South work
Jul 22 16:30:24 <Abbasjnr> Yeah
Jul 22 16:30:36 <sgardner_> Yeah. Re dami_hun_, there are certainly parts of the world that have good tech talent, and which are less expensive than the United States (and particularly the Bay Area). We've talked about India, Poland. (But not seriously, at least not yet.)
Jul 22 16:30:54 <SWATJester> Thanks.
Jul 22 16:31:00 <thedj> the thing about chapters is that they are harder to 'control'. So I guess that if you really want to invest, a dedicated office might be more useful in some cases.
Jul 22 16:31:06 <sgardner_> Yeah. This is the purpose of starting the experiment in India. I am sure that we will get all kinds of unexpected learnings out of it.
Jul 22 16:31:21 <Abbasjnr> Wherever you'll have an office, you'll expect increased Wikimedia awareness and goodwill
Jul 22 16:32:41 <sgardner_> Yeah. For example in India. When I travelled there, I was amazed at the level of media interest in Wikipedia, and _also_ in the lack of knowledge/understanding about it. Jimmy told me that is always the case: my experience wasn't an anomaly. So I am keen to see how having a presence in India affects the awareness of us there, and therefore also readership and participation.
Jul 22 16:32:53 <sgardner_> I think our time is up!
Jul 22 16:32:54 <cary> Well, thank you, everyone, and thank you, Sue
Jul 22 16:32:57 <sgardner_> Can I ask though, before we go.
Jul 22 16:33:07 <killiondude> yes.
Jul 22 16:33:07 <cary> Sure, feel free!
Jul 22 16:33:09 <sgardner_> Who do you folks want to hear most from next?
Jul 22 16:33:27 <cary> I'll speak for Mike||gone: I know he wants Danese
Jul 22 16:33:38 <sgardner_> I think it's time for Danese :-)
Jul 22 16:33:51 <thedj> can you knit and IRC at the same time ?
Jul 22 16:33:56 <thedj> :D
Jul 22 16:33:58 <guillom> hahaha
Jul 22 16:34:01 <cary> thedj, yes.
Jul 22 16:34:03 <Abbasjnr> Bye
Jul 22 16:34:03 <sgardner_> With a glass of wine, and bare feet. Apparently :-)
Jul 22 16:34:14 <guillom> thedj, she'll have cary type for her while she knits :)
Jul 22 16:34:16 <Prodego> oh are we having one of those chat things
Jul 22 16:34:19 <jorm> heh.
Jul 22 16:34:20 <sgardner_> By Abbasjnr -- nice to talk with you.
Jul 22 16:34:30 <sgardner_> (Bye, I mean.)
Jul 22 16:34:53 <thedj> thx for being here sue.
Jul 22 16:35:08 <Abbasjnr> It was a pleasure (despite it being 3am here) lol
Jul 22 16:35:18 <sgardner_> Anyway: please feel free to give us feedback on these things. If you want specific people to come talk, please tell us. If you want a conversation dedicated to a specific topic, we'll do that too. Like I said, I am very very happy to do more of these :-)
Jul 22 16:35:46 <thedj> sgardner_: i'm looking forward to hearing something about changes in the fundraising departments.
Jul 22 16:35:52 <thedj> sgardner_: with people leaving and all...