User talk:LilaTretikov (WMF)/Archive 10

Open questions and requests regarding the 15-16 Annual Plan

Hi Lila, Some of my questions and requests about the WMF Annual Plan have received responses, and others have not. Can you or Terry respond to open requests and questions at Talk:Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan/2015-16#Questions and comments from Pine please? Thank you, --Pine 06:39, 3 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have un-archived this section because I'm still waiting for additional replies on the Annual Plan talk page. --Pine 17:16, 17 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Un-archived again because I'm still waiting. --Pine 07:28, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Questions about open WMF positions

Hi Lila,

Since we have yet to see the new job descriptions published as were requested in the Annual Plan discussion, I'm posting these questions here. I have a few questions about the current job openings.

  1. The Endowment Director job description seems to overlap significantly with the existing Major Gifts functions, which are already staffed with 6 FTEs. Is a 7th FTE focused on major gifts truly necessary?
  2. Could the Public Policy Manager and Advocacy Manager positions be combined into a single FTE?
  3. Could the Digital Communications Manager and the Editorial Associate be combined into a single FTE, particularly with ongoing support of interns for the WMF blog and other social media channels?
  4. I would suggest that the funding for one or more of the above positions could go into higher priority, community-facing functions like Community Tech, support for development of Wikimedia User Groups with high growth potential, or other initiatives that focus on the growth of the currently small and stressed Wikimedia volunteer base.

Since I'm mentioning Fundraising, Communications, and Legal in the above questions, I'm pinging Lgruwell-WMF, Katherine (WMF), and Mpaulson (WMF) in case they can shed some light on these questions.

Thanks! --Pine 01:45, 3 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Priority of roles is constantly under consideration and realignment. With respect to your comment about the Community tech team (and some other community teams) -- it is brand new and growing a team that has not yet jelled (established good working processes and shown initial results) too rapidly is premature and can actually slow down their progress. We know this team will need to grow over time. I will let team leaders answer the rest. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 05:01, 3 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, I understand that moving a lot of people into a team without clear direction is probably going to cause issues. I should clarify that my questions above are more about resourcing than timing; for example, if one or two FTEs from the above list can be "saved" by consolidation, I would be happy to have it (or them) "banked" and moved elsewhere in WMF in a community-facing role whenever the time seems best this FY. --Pine 06:11, 3 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have un-archived this section because I'm still waiting for replies from staff. --Pine 17:16, 17 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Pine- Thanks for the questions. I'll add my thoughts on the question regarding the Endowment Director. First, the Foundations and Major Gifts team has four full-time staff and is led by Caitlin Virtue. We have a temporary contractor working with us right now because we have a team member out on maternity leave. We also have another hourly contractor who works about 10 hours per week on matching gifts. Everyone is on the staff page, so that makes the team look larger than it really is. They have a big task ahead of them this year: raising $8 million and from my experience that is a lot of work for a team that size. The Endowment will be another big undertaking and we need someone separate to take that on. I anticipate that one of the major funding streams for the endowment will be planned gifts and we need to add someone to the team to lead the endowment who has that experience with planned giving. Thanks! --Lgruwell-WMF (talk) 18:25, 18 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks Lisa. I'm still waiting to hear back from Legal. --Pine 07:28, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

2015 Strategy/Community consultation

Dear Lila,

You will doubtless recall this exercise, on which you yourself spent a great deal of time. At the end of the first phase, back in March, a notice was posted [1] stating We will be taking the next few weeks to continue to review submissions and look for emerging themes. Once that is complete, we will report back to the community. A similar comment [2] stated ... phase two begins, when we start reporting back. Since then there has been no sight of that reporting back. In June I asked about progress, and was told that someone would report back when there was a better idea of timing, and that a named member of your staff was responsible for the publication of the report. Another two months have passed, and to all appearances precisely nothing has happened -- indeed that member of staff has never posted to Meta. The result is that this commitment has gone unmet, without explanation, for some four months at least.

This is not an acceptable way to treat the community, especially those members who invested considerable time and energy in the original consultation. Indeed it represents a clear failure on the part of WMF to follow up this consultation effectively. I appreciate that circumstances may change, but when a clear commitment has been made by WMF to the community, it is incumbent on the organisation collectively to either meet that commitment or render a clear and timely acknowledgement, apology and explanation. Nothing less is adequate. Failure to do so marks the WMF as an organisation that is either incompetent at managing its own business, or does not care whether it honours its commitments. I do not believe the latter, and I hope that neither is true. Equally I am sure that you do not wish the WMF to be seen in this light.

I leave it to you to handle the internal aspects of this ineffective behaviour privately. But I do ask for action as far as the interaction with the community is concerned.

Please have a member of your staff respond as a matter of urgency with, at the very least, a clear statement as to whether and when this report will be produced. I hope that you will find it possible to give a specific date and that you will ensure that that deadline is adhered to. If in fact you decide not to produce the report, which would be a great disappointment, at least have the courtesy to say so explicitly, acknowledging that there is a commitment that you will not meet, and apologising for the disappointment and delay.

Please take action. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 19:09, 16 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello, Rogol. :) Per your ping on that page, I have responded at Talk:2015 Strategy. Just linking in here as it seems quite likely others may also be interested in an update. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 21:08, 16 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks to Maggie for that intervention, which makes it clear in the posting referred to that the publication of the report is now dependent on the unpaid good-will efforts of a former contractor who had been previously tasked with its delivery. Lila, I leave it up to you as part of your internal considerations whether that was and is a satisfactory way of handling this process (I suggest that it is not) and how it might be better done in future. Here I simply point out that there still appears to be no clear answer to the questions of when, or indeed whether, this report will ever be seen by the community. It is on this that I am asking you for executive action. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:36, 16 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm afraid I must not have expressed myself well there, Rogol Domedonfors, because I certainly didn't mean to lead you to think that the publication of the report was in any doubt! :/ I have every confidence it will be posted, although I'm afraid that it's true that I can't tell you when. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 21:44, 16 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The fact remains that, as I understand it, no current member of WMF staff is responsible for delivery of that report (I am assuming that Maggie is not, from her careful choice of words), and no current member of staff can give a date for its delivery. If delivery is dependent on the good will of a former contractor working unpaid then it may or may not be likely to happen, I cannot tell. Why this should be the case when the WMF has some 270 paid staff, I cannot tell, and care only insofar as it sends a deplorable message to the community about how low a priority the WMF assigns to this work. Whether it is proper for the WMF to expect an former contractor to continue to work unpaid on an important deliverable is a matter for debate. But I am not concerned to discuss these issues here -- what I am asking Lila to do is to act: to assign responsibility for delivery of this, to assign a date by which this action is to take place, and to hold her staff to account for that delivery. I have also suggested that she investigate how this unsatisfactory state of affairs has come about and take whatever action she deems necessary internally, but that is clearly a matter for her executive discretion and not for public discussion. Again, what is needed now is action. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 06:33, 17 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do not know the terms of this person's contract, Rogol Domedonfors, however I would note that you seem to be assuming above that this would be "unpaid work". Contracts are often for specific deliverables, and if a contract is to perform a certain task, the work is not unpaid even if there are reasons it is not presented within the contract's timeline. I do not know the case with this particular contract, but I wouldn't assume that this is a question of "good will" and unpaid labor, as it may not be. There also may well be a date commitment, even though I don't know it. :) Unfortunately the expiration of her contract does mean it's not a simple matter of asking someone to pop by her desk. But her last communication to me suggested that this will be sooner rather than later. I did not work with Kim often, but in the bit of collaboration I did do with her on this project, she impressed me greatly with her professionalism and dedication. For whatever reason the report is delayed, I believe she will stand by her commitment to get the result published. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 12:17, 17 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A quick summary of the timeline:
  1. The WMF published this blog post on 23 February 2015 to launch a two-week strategy consultation, asking for volunteers to participate.
  2. The consultation was officially closed on 6 March 2015 with a commitment that "We will be taking the next few weeks to continue to review submissions and look for emerging themes."
  3. Three months later, in June, Rogol Domedonfors asks for a report on progress.
  4. Five months later in August, Rogol Domedonfors checks progress and the response is "[Kim Gilbey] is still committed to getting the report out and, I believe, hopes to do so in the very near future." [3]
After 175 days (6 months), it seems likely that being this late the report will not reflect lessons learned from more recent events (such as WMF reorganization in intervening months, or lessons from Wikimania), nor considering its very low priority, could it be reasonable to expect that the report would have true influence on future WMF planning and decision making. Surely it is better to write this consultation off, and take the hit that the original commitment to participating volunteers in February 2015 was a mistake? This at least would provide an opportunity to clear the table and run a fresh consultation, that will have firm commitment from the WMF executive to become a measurable part of their decision making process. -- (talk) 15:47, 17 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maggie, I do not propose to discuss individual staff or contractors here, nor do I see that it adds anything to this discussion, which is a request to Lila to act. You do not need to convince me but her that this report will appear soon. If you wish to suggest that her taking no action is tolerable, or desirable; or wish to suggest some alternative or specific course of action to her, then by all means say so here, giving your reasons. If you wish to discuss the details of how WMF got into this situation, or who might be responsible, or what lessons need to be learnt privately, then by all means do so with her privately. It is for Lila to decide what to do. If Lila adopts Fae's view, which is that this report has been delayed too long to be useful, then I would suggest that her course of action would be to close it down explicitly right now with an appropriate message of explanation and apology to the community, especially those whose time or money or both has been wasted -- and then take whatever action internally she sees fit. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 16:35, 17 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Rogol Domedonfors, I would not be surprised if Lila already has more information on the state of this report than I do. :) My reference to the specific contractor is simply in relation to your note that "If delivery is dependent on the good will of a former contractor working unpaid then it may or may not be likely to happen, I cannot tell." I want to be sure you realize that delivery may not be dependent on good will unpaid labor, but part of the terms of her contract. From what I am told, I understand "action" is already in the works, although I certainly do understand that at this state it might be hard to accept that prior to the actual publication of the report. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 17:14, 17 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's been ten months since I asked about closing the loose ends of the Article Feedback Tool. Sorry to beat a dead horse, but there haven't yet been any responses from the team where the original comments were made, so this is another example of a non-closed loop on an externally set expectation. So, again I'm bringing it to your attention. Wbm1058 (talk) 13:27, 19 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wbm1058, the full dataset was previously available (since March), but not announced in the right locations. I've resolved that by adding sections at mw:Article feedback/Version_5/Report#Wikipedia Article Feedback corpus and en:Wikipedia talk:Article Feedback Tool/Version 5. Thanks, Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 00:47, 20 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, thanks for that. Maybe some big-data researchers can process all that data and write a report giving us a big-picture overview of what our readers were telling us. Can you also update the mw:Article feedback/Version 5 lead section where it says "This page and related documentation will be edited in coming days to reflect these recent developments." Also the main page mw:Article feedback where it says "A new version 5 of the Article Feedback Tool is under development". People shouldn't have to read through to a subpage of a subpage or a talk page to get to the punch line. Again, thanks for engaging with us picking up this dropped ball, and a trout-slap to the ball dropper. Sorry I haven't kept up with the Foundation's blog. Wbm1058 (talk) 15:20, 20 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Lila, I am sorry that you have not been able to allocate a current member of your staff to take responsibility for the report on this consultation and to inform the community of its intended delivery date. It seems pretty clear, from the little information that has been made available to the community, that the process of delivering the report on this consultation has been badly managed from the beginning. Here are some points that I think you need to investigate within the WMF.
  • When the consultation was planned, were adequate staff resources identified to prepare and deliver the report in the time scale announced? If not, why not?
  • If staff resources were initially allocated, why were they not deployed at the appropriate time? Who was responsible for that deployment, why did it not take place, and why did the person responsible not update the community at that time?
  • How did it occur that of the 270 staff at your disposal, none had the time and capability to deliver this report? Is this a frequent occurrence, and is it acceptable? Are adequate measures in place to address the shortfall? Why were resources not reallocated from other tasks of lower priority? Why was it considered acceptable to spend donor money on a task that should have been carried out by current staff -- who took this decision, and on what grounds?
  • What process was used to award the external contract for the report? Are you satisfied that it was awarded in fair and open competition and that procedures for assuring value for money were followed? Who in WMF decided on the award? Was there any risk of conflict of interest in the tender process, and were procedures for avoiding any appearance of impropriety correctly followed?
  • Who in WMF was responsible for managing the contract? Was it adequately managed? If not, why not? Why did the manager responsible for the contract give no information to the community about the progress of the contract?
  • It is indeed the case that the report was not delivered at the end of the contractual period? If not, why not? Was that a result of any action or inaction on the part of WMF staff? Did the contract contain adequate measures for the protection of WMF interests and donors money in the event of non-delivery? Have those measures been implemented? Are you confident that donors money has been protected as a result?
I hasten to add that of course I would not expect you to discuss these points in public: these are merely the points that it seems to me important that you address internally. However, I believe that the community, and the donors, will wish to hear from you that you have indeed considered all these points and that you are able to assure them that all opportunities for improvement have been identified and acted on, that all appropriate lessons have been learned, that you are satisfied that donors money has not been wasted and that the numerous other surveys and consultations in progress or planned will be conducted efficiently and effectively. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:21, 22 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Publication of report

The report has been published and 2015 Strategy/Community consultation has been accordingly updated with links to the report itself (a pdf) and to the related blog post. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 17:06, 27 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am happy to see those, thank you. I think that the points I made above for Lila's consideration internally remain valid. I look forward to seeing how the results of the consultation shape WMF strategy. For example, Rich Content is already mentioned under Innovation and I hope that the messages of the WMF Feedback section may help to promote action within the WMF towards more effective community engagement. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 19:20, 27 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are some key milestones missing from the above timeline. Please note that the consultation led into our preliminary strategic thinking around united knowledge that I presented in the metrics meeting in June and even some into the Q1 goals. The following presentation was around preliminary data results. Now the results are published (it takes time to correlate across nearly 100 language flavors and comments, then slice data). Our next milestone is to begin working on the Annual Plan for 2016-17 (this starts in December) leading into Q3 Call to Action (staff mandate of priorities for the year), an ultimately into the quarterly goals. I realize that some of this may feel confusing, we are working to make the process well understood. Given prior lack of such recurring process I don't expect that this will be published until end of year. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 23:11, 1 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Data about possible increase in highly active editors

This information is being discussed in multiple venues. Since you seem to be interested in data, I thought you might want to take a look. (Also pinging User:LVilla (WMF) and User:MCruz (WMF) because of their involvement in WMF's community health project.) There is a lot more work to be done to understand the significance of this information, and the August 2015 data will be important for trend analysis. You might also be interested in This Signpost article and this thread on Research-l. Credit goes to WereSpielChequers for starting the discussions. I hope that this early look at a possible trend is helpful. --Pine 23:13, 28 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some further explanation in case anyone needs help with understanding the significance of the graphs: for the first 6 months of 2015, the highly active editor stats were consistently higher than the 2014 stats during the same months year-over-year, which is good news. Also, the English Wikipedia July 2015 number shows a noteworthy increase over the July 2013 number on this chart; another month of significant positive divergence from 2013 would suggest a trend that meaningfully exceeds the 2013 population statistics. --Pine 23:38, 28 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Pine! Thank you for flagging this article. I think you are right when you say we still need to do a lot to understand this information, as well as editor activity overall. Specially on the Community Health topic, what we have in mind is to work not only for the preservation of the existing communities of editors, but also for its expansion. This numbers speak to part of that story. What happens with newly registered editors? And what can we do to help make them feel part of this adventure? Thanks for sharing!   Have a great week, María (WMF) (talk) 13:55, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do not believe this data is accurate and I would question its usefulness. The problem with this data is that it includes edits done as vandalism, reversions of vandalism and spam as well as other data that should not be counted. Although the data "says" most active, it doesn't mean positive. Its true that the numbers appear to be up, but vandalism is also on the rise and so is trolling and at a time when a lot of the high output editors have left the site and while the sites are struggling to recruit people. So personally I would like to see some proof that these increases actually reflect positive edits and not vandalism, reversion of vandalism, spam and the like. It doesn't do any good to pat ourselves on the back if we have more edits but its due to vandalism and the revision of it. Reguyla (talk) 17:09, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Reguyla do you know of statistics that show the number of edits that have been reverted as vandalism? The last I have heard is that vandalism, while a problem, isn't a large enough problem in terms of quantity to make a meaningful difference in terms of the trends shown on these graphs. In terms of quality, vandalism is always a problem and it would indeed be nice to see charts that provide visual representations of vandal activity levels. --Pine 18:27, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I know there are a couple of things we could do. We could look at the number of edits made by Cluebot and certain categories of edits from applications like Twinkle in a month (Vandalism reversions) and times that by 2 to include both the vandalism and the associated reversion. It should also be possible to build a calculation that would look at the reversion stats of Twinkle users who are reverting vandalism. Those 2 things would capture a large chunk and although its not perfect, I think it would give a more accurate picture of edits/over vandalism that we currently have and we could refine it from there. My guess is a calculation would look something like this: Total Edits - (Cluebot edits *2) - (Twinkle reversions *2). It may also be nice to see some graphic of total edits with Vandalism/Reversions and the remainder displayed over a period of time. It may take a little tweaking of the Calculation to get it right, but it would be more accurate than what we are using now IMO. Reguyla (talk) 19:04, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For what its worth, I think it would be beneficial to look at somehow creating a metric for Vandalism and reversions to use for data calls like this. I also wanted to clarify that there are other tools besides Twinkle and Clubot that revert vandalism but I used those as an example of what we can do. Reguyla (talk) 19:11, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Reguyla, yes this will include the reversion of spam and vandalism, but it won't include vandalism and probably not spam. You don't get into these part of the stats unless you save over 100 edits in one month, and vandalism accounts don't last that long. I doubt spammers often do either. Of course vandalism still exists and will account for quite a few of the >5 edit accounts (on the English Wikipedia the default is four warnings before a block, so most blocked vandals will have got into the >5 edits total for at least one month). As for whether the amount of vandalfighting has increased in this period, or indeed since the 2007 peak raw edit count; There are several big changes that have taken place since 2007. Firstly the improvement in vandal fighting tools resulted in vandalism being reverted more quickly and vandals getting through the warning to a block in fewer edits. Secondly there has been a big shift from manual vandalfighting to bot based vandal fighting - and these stats exclude edits by known bots. Lastly since 2009 we have had an increasing use of edit filters to prevent vandals from saving their edits at all. All these trends will have tended to reduce the amount of manual vandal fighting over time, and the problem that we can't meaningfully compare raw edit counts over time. Spam however is a different story and last I saw was steadily increasing year on year, though from a low base when compared to either vandalism or article writing. So the likelihood is that if we could remove spam reversion you would be removing more edits each year. As for what the underlying good edit level is or indeed the level of trolling, those are difficult things to measure, the metrics we have are only indicators, but they are consistently collected indicators over time even if the community they measure is changing. WereSpielChequers (talk) 20:53, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good to know thanks. I knew some of that but I guess it makes sense that not too many vandals are going to get to 100 edits. Reguyla (talk) 22:51, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @MCruz (WMF): thanks for your note. I would like to invite you to watch the Research-l mailing list. A number of us periodically have discussions there about community health information and what can be done to improve measures of community health such as the number of active editors and the gender diversity of editors. --Pine 18:30, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is a lot of analysis and monitoring internally around this since the trend begun. We don't want to jump to conclusions quite yet, but we like the early indicators. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 23:16, 1 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What we need to do now is look at where those increases are coming from and see if there is some reason. Is it due to recruitment, some event, some advocate somewhere selling the project or is it just a fluke. If we compare the list of editors from month to month and see who the new ones are, and who left and why, we could get some good ideas of whats causing people to leave and what is making them come to the projects. Once we do this then we can better determine how to duplicate that over time. Right now as far as I know we just have raw numbers and don't really know why they are increasing. Although we might, lots of people doing stuff and I certainly don't know about everything going on. Reguyla (talk) 11:35, 2 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Reguyla, as Pine said this is being discussed in multiple venues. You might find this conversation more active. WereSpielChequers (talk) 13:24, 3 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks but since the admins on ENWP don't have respect for the community and won't implement the Community decision from last August that stated I should be unblocked I can't comment there. They would rather follow the post community review decision of a discussion after that from 3 people who didn't agree with the community discussion and decided to change it. But policies only apply when its the outcome that the people with the block button want, otherwise its not a vote! Reguyla (talk) 16:23, 3 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Us and them

Lila, it seems that the relationship between the WMF and the volunteer community is still not at its best. I would not exactly call it adversarial, but it is still at best transactional. I think this is illustrated by a couple of remarks you made here recently, namely "200 people supporting 100,000 people" [4] and "There on no SLA on those types of messages" [5]. This is the language of a client relationship, not of coworkers. (Could you imagine someone in your office refusing to answer a colleague's question because there was no formal SLA in place for it?) Similarly we see consultations with and surveys of the community (some may say, too many too often) in which questions are asked but the responses disappear apparently into a black hole. It may well be that those answers have played an important part in shaping your policies, but that is not made visible. But even a clearer exposition of the results and how they affect your decision-making would still leave that mode very much an asymmetric exchange: WMF asks the questions it wants to ask, the community answers, WMF does what it wants with those answers. This is not collaboration, even if it might be consultation. In general WMF sets the agenda, not the community. We see this again in the new Community Tech process. There is a backlog of suggestions, and a page here at Meta which has been active for months waiting for that team to start work. But they have chosen to go with the results of an old survey, to be followed up by starting another survey, instead of engaging with the existing community-led activity. Again, we see this with the imbroglio over fundraising versus WLM in Italy. The Fundraising department did not collaborate effectively with WMIT and the result is that either fundraising or WLM will be less effective. But how do we get into a situation where these activities end up being contradictory? Could we not have a dialogue in which both sides work to get a fundraising campaign that works with, support and is supported by WLM? Yet again we are in the middle of a discussion on Code of conduct for technical spaces, in whicf WMF Legal has issued requirements. Why can they not expound their thinking and work with the community rather than attempting to issue orders to it?

Anyway, the question is, what to do. Let me make some suggestions. You want and need the community to be part of the engagement. I suggest that ingredients in the answer are: technical innovation to support a translation process to allow discussions to be held in major languages which are adequate and near enough to real time; designated portals for community discussions and engagements with dedicated designated moderators and rapporteurs; community councils or standing focus groups charged with gathering community opinion and representing it in discussions. To set all that up I propose that the Board form a working party with a fixed term remit to design a community collaboration structure, and that WMF assign resources to its implementation. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 09:11, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I concur, this is another case of the WMF not working with the communities but instead doing whatever they want and forcing the communities to live with the result. The Fundraising banner can go anytime, if a community has a banner that is previously approved, then that should take precedence or at least share the screen with it. But the WMF needs to start treating the community as a customer, a partner and an asset rather than as an adversary and opponent. Reguyla (talk) 17:14, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for that. I think we should not dwell on past mistakes, except insofar as they provide lessons for future consideration, but rather gather together strategic suggestions here for Lila to consider taking forward. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:02, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Firstly, some of the statements above are untrue (but I won't worry about that here). Some of the items proposed above are being actioned: ideas triage, central portal, more communication on what is being actioned (and what is not), clarifying how to reach the teams and how to get response. While we may disagree on the how the teams go about those -- our goal is to find a way to best triage and fulfill community's most critical needs. This is a new thing and we are making slow but steady progress on figuring it out. I do believe that building light-weight community governance around some of the key initiatives would indeed be really helpful -- and give more ownership to our people -- the main challenge is ensuring that results are broadly applicable across wikis. Happy to hear more on that. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 05:41, 5 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Lila, that's really good news! Please, tell the community about it. Get them involved, let them help you to help them. If all this work is going on, don't have it done in secret, publicise it, celebrate it. As I suggested below, a good way of generating ideas is the future mapping. Imagine in 12 months time that you have the thngs you want and look back on how you got there. That's what I was trying to suggest in the section "A bold thought experiment" below. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 06:17, 5 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If some or all of the above statements are untrue I would argue it might be important to clarify a couple. Several of us have the same perceptions as written above because the WMF doesn't feel compelled to communicate to the communities. It may very well be true that you are doing things, but if they aren't visible then it doesn't make much difference. Reguyla (talk) 14:20, 8 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I certainly invite correction if I have inadvertently mis-stated any matters of fact. I equally invite discussion of any interpretation or opinion of mine with which Lila disagrees, as I am sure she knows, in the interests of constructive debate. I am pleased that some of the ideas I proposed are already under consideration or adoption, and look forward to hearing more about how they will issue forth in practice in the days to come. A common theme is the desire on the part of the community for more communication and genuine interaction. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:46, 8 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Its disappointing to see almost no comments from you about anything the community asks

I realize you are very busy but I must admit that its pretty disappointing to see almost no comments on discussions. I see a lot of excuses about being busy, but it appears you have no interest in interacting with the community and I find that disappointing. I feel like if it was important to you to comment and interact with the community on problems and concerns they have, you would find the time. Reguyla (talk) 21:08, 20 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As promised I am back rom Wikimania and am catching up on these threads. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:44, 22 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's no new finding, she never ever talked much with any real wikipedians, neither here nor anywhere else in the wikiverse. It's irrelevant whether she writes in any back-rooms like phabricator or mailing lists, that's not really in the open. It was never any other, she seems to social phobic. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden)superputsch must go 04:26, 21 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hey Sanger, let's try this again in a productive positive way: Do you have a question? Are you working on something that needs help? Thanks! LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:57, 22 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It would be nice, if you could catch up on the countless questions on this page you ignored up to now, and that have been archived because of your non-action. Take a look at this paragraph for a start.
And an apology for the illigitimate use of superputsch against deWP stil hasn't happened, I just rad about something from Wikimania, that it will not be used in that way again, but is that official or just the same coolaid Jan wanted us to drink then? There was no well-meaning official reaction by the WMF in regard of the extreme hostile actions they have commited against the communities up to now. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden)superputsch must go 04:21, 23 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Sanger, glad to talk to you directly and without snark -- I am always happy to engage in a productive, respectful way. Honestly, I probably won't be able to catch up on all questions, simply because I am human and there are 24 hours in the day split between different ways in which I connect with community, staff and the rest of the world. But I really enjoy the direct connection here and I am working to make sure staff can address majority of other questions here.
I have actually said this before and happy to repeat it again -- I am sorry for what superprotect did to upset our editor community -- I admire your work and want you to feel respected. As you have seen we have not been forcing changes and have put in place checks to ensure we minimize impact on editing with the changes we do introduce. Now more than ever we need your help and your support in figuring out how to help our communities embrace more change so we are can engage more people with knowledge. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 00:55, 25 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I for one hoped that she would change the previous WMF environment to be more collaborative with the community and would try to bring some common bond between the two but not only has that not happened she has in fact made it even more apparent that the WMF leadership has no respect for the volunteer community, doesn't want or need their help (they do, but that's what the think) and feel as though they have no requirement or need to even interact with us "Commoners". Maybe its just me and my reputation for wanting the Wiki environment to fairly adjudicate policy towards all editors (including admins) fairly and consistently, which is an unpopular viewpoint with many of the admins. Its what led to my ban from ENWP (regardless of the justification used to carry it out) and why even now, 5 months after the community determined I should be unblocked I still have not been. The WMF has no respect for the community and that leadership translates down to the next level of (and I use the term loosely here) leadership within the admins and they then pass that down to the lowly editors. The volunteer community that does the work, creates the articles, gets treated like crap and is in the viewpoints of the WMF leadership and a large segment of the admin population (at least on the Flagship ENWP project) an unending expendable commodity that is a perpetually replaceable with fresh new bodies. Which is of course a fallacy that can be seen on a daily basis with the increasingly long backlogs, the decreasing numbers of editors who don't yet know about the toxic editing environment, the numbers of edits and the good admins that are leaving and the volume of edits themselves. No one cares about that though as long as the checks keep cashing. Reguyla (talk) 16:22, 21 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I or a Community Engagement team member would be happy to hear your thoughts, you can write or you can request to talk over Skype -- we will do our best to find time! I don't see myself above what you call "commoners", we are one community and one of our main jobs @ the WMF is to make sure our editors are well supported. Happy to discuss specific ideas you have. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:57, 22 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for the reply. Why do we need to do it via Email and Skype, offline and in a non open environment? My current concern is that I am frustrated with the abusive conduct occurring on ENWP and the WMF's failure to address it as well as you appearing to not really have the time to respond to any discussions on your talk page more than once or twice a month. Reguyla (talk) 20:04, 22 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Lila, I am sorry to say that your assurance, although I am sure it was well-meant, has not im my experience always been lived up to, as you will see from my emails to you. You may not always see the same side of the WMF as "commoners" do: see [6] and [7] for example. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 15:52, 24 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
About a year ago I asked to meet with Lila when I was in San Francisco and she took two hours out of her day to do so. I know of other Wikipedians who have also had the opportunity to sit down with her and discuss their concerns and projects in person.
With respect to opportunities to interact with WMF staff, there were lots at Wikimania which just wrapped up in Mexico City. Specifically we had discussion regarding superprotect during the most recent board election and at Wikimania. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:40, 21 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Doc James, I'm not talking about the occasional interaction and I'm not picking on her this week because of Wikimania. It doesn't matter when, pick a day, she is always too busy to participate in any discussion and makes excuses about how busy she is. We're all busy, but we make time for the things we are interested in and care about. Most discussions just go straight to archive with little to no comment. Since you brought up the issue of meeting with "Wikimedians" to discuss concerns. Have any of those been acted on, commented on or has there been any indication that the meeting was anything other than positive press? Because I have also heard about several people who have discussed issues with her, gotten a positive impression and are still waiting for anything to come out of the conversation. So as I said above, its not a matter of being nice to people when they see you in person, its a matter of developing a collaborate environment with the tens of thousands of people who keep the site maintained and not continuing to culture an environment where the WMF does whatever they want, like Superprotect and the community can take it or leave it. Reguyla (talk) 01:02, 22 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Reguyla At the end of the day I focus on impact, not conversation. Impact takes time, some things are done immediately others will take years to complete. Example: the change in how we are rolling out VE is directly informed by what we have learned from the community discussions. Our next step is to set up a system by which we can respond to community needs/inquires directly and track them.
This page is more for discussion and not to get an action item onto the WMF list. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 17:25, 24 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
LilaTretikov (WMF) Impact does take time, on that we agree but making impact without conversation is a recipe for disaster (and a lot of drama) and this has proven true repeatedly in the past. The sentiment of action before thought and community considerations is precisely why the WMF and communities relationship has degraded over time. Having secret off wiki discussions is counter to a transparent and open source community based website and the culture that allows these projects to exist and thrive. You say, "Our next step is to set up a system by which we can respond to community needs/inquires directly and track them". We already have that, its called talk pages, its called Phabricator and several other mediums. All we need to do is use them. But if the WMF isn't willing to work collaboratively with the community as partners and mutual stakeholders and instead wants to do whatever the WMF wants to do regardless of what the community wants, then no system of comments and responses from the community is going to work. Even in the case of VisualEditor the community wanted it and was working with the WMF on it. But the WMF forced it out long before it was ready because the WMF didn't have respect for the community and didn't have to clean up the mess. It wasn't the WMF's problem.
WMF is a sub-community of the Community. If something is a problem for one community, it is a problem for all. It's like fingers of a hand -- if one hurts, that's all you think about. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 23:29, 11 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
By that apology, we might say that "the left hand knows not what the right hand is doing". It's incredibly frustrating trying to get honest replies out of WMF staff. Too often the WMF goes into corporate PR mode, trying to minimise damage to its reputation, when what is actually needed is honest discussion in public venues. BethNaught (talk) 10:29, 12 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, sure -- that can be said of any large enough group of people. We broke down a lot of silos this year, but that is just a start. None of this is malicious or intentional, much less dishonest -- if you ever met any of the WMF people they are some of the most direct, honest folks you ever meet. It is alignment (both internally and externally) that is a problem and we are constantly working to improve. Without it people may and do occasionally create problems for each other. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:58, 12 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As for getting action items on the WMF list, that's almost a joke because its notoriously difficult to get the WMF to take interest or action unless its a topic they' are driving. Given that the majority of WMF employees don't actively edit any of the projects (although some do) that's a little troubling. There are literally dozens of important topics that need to be addressed but the WMF doesn't seem particularly interested in doing them. So the communities are left to high and dry to fight, fuss and wallow in misery until the problems become so deeply rooted that they force a response or people just learn to live with it such as the climate of abuse, corruption and the ongoing manipulation of site policies by some admins such as occurs commonly on ENWP currently. It matters a lot to the community who is powerless to do anything about it but it degrades the collaborative environment, it prevents edits from getting done, it drives passionate editors away from the project and prevents new ones from joining, it creates a hostile work environment and it creates a culture of mistrust. The WMF doesn't appear to care about any of this because its not trendy and its not exciting. But these things affect the overall mission of the site and they do have an impact on the growth and success of the projects and of the WMF. So the WMF should start caring about these things so it will stop the ongoing backlogs and decline of the sites which is becoming a larger problem as time goes on. Reguyla (talk) 14:14, 26 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes one of my requests has appeared. We now have a community tech team with three staff Community_Tech_project_ideas. Not a huge team but definately something.
With respect to superprotect I do not beleive it will be used to override community consensus again.
It may be needed for emergency legal issues or to deal with something until a community discussion / consensus can form. But the mediaviewer issue was neither one of those. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:23, 22 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with you on Mediaviewer and I guess we'll see what the future holds for superprotect. Still, it troubles me how the WMF is so averse to working with the community that don't kiss up to them because they want a job. The WMF works with the community on such rare occasion and even then often doesn't do as the community wants and there are plenty of examples of that besides the 2 mentioned already, not the least of which is Visual Editor. Hell, the admins in ENWP don't even follow the community of their own project because they see how the WMF acts and do the same thing. Which is whatever they want and whatever the feel best meets their own POV. There are a lot of examples where the community could greatly assist the WMF if they would include them. Then in areas where the WMF should provide oversight it doesn't. Its not as easy to work with a volunteer community as it is when you can just walk down the hall and tell someone to do something. But there is a lot of opportunity being squandered because of complacent leadership and a lack of desire to interact. If you look at Lila's contribs on Meta anyonen can see what I am talking about. I'm sure Jimbo is busy too and he still finds the time to interact and he doesn't do anything, literally, for the projects anymore. He has admin rights he never uses, rarely does an edit and his comments are more and more distant. I would expect the Director of the WMF to at least spend a few minutes here from time to time answering questions in an open environment rather than just doing it on IRC where few except the very technical folks and the employees go. A lot of businesses wish they had the free labor pool the WMF has available to them and if it wasn't for that free labor pool the WMF would have ended long ago. Its time they realized that and treat the community as a part of the team rather than as a hassle to deal with. The WMF pays to keep the servers going, but if it wasn't for the community they wouldn't even have jobs. Reguyla (talk) 11:17, 22 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What we need to do as a community is figure out how to come to a clear decisions so that we can bring that decision to the WMF. We developed a consensus a while back that we wanted to have Wikivoyage join us in the WM movement. The WMF and volunteers than carried out this consensus with the foundation providing airfare and accommodation to community members who flew to SF in person.
Superprotect is the only example I know of were the foundation overroad a community consensus. Thus I agree with you that it sets a bad precedent and the issue needs to be resolved. Give it a little more time, we are working on it.
I joined the WM movement in the middle of the night 8 years ago. I was given further rights by simply being here and making a number of edits. I received more rights through a vote of confidence from my fellow editors. And then I was elected to the board also by my fellow editors. This is hardly a typical organisation.
The WMF realizes that the community and our shared mission is the reason they exist. However how do we as a community speak in a single voice? Would love to hear you thoughts on that. The most important thing I do is write content. Must get back to it. Best Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:15, 22 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree and it has happened a few times, such as new roles for Rollbacker, filemover and Template editor as well as projects like Wikivoyage and Wikidata. But again, those are isolated incidents and although the WMF and the community does interact a little with regard to those projects, its minimal. Both camps stay on their side of the fence and there is a distinct us and them mentality. The WMF also forked out a lot of money to send a number of Admins on vacation, err, to Wikimania. But again, its not a collaboration. I can think of quite a few decisions like Superprotect where the community was overridden, several associated just to Visual Editor when the community, over a series of months told them it was broken, didn't work and it was forced on the community anyway. Media viewer, Flow was shaping up to head down that path as well and may still. My point is this, unless the leadership of the WMF shows they are willing to collaborate with editors and makes that a priority for the organization, its not going to happen. When she can't even find the time to comment on Meta more than twice or three times in a month, that shows what their priority is and the community and their concerns aren't one of them. Reguyla (talk) 19:26, 22 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just to comment on VE, it was boldly rolled out. The community spoke out against it and it was rolled back. VE is now better and there is consensus for it to roll forwards . Agree Flow is going to be a big discussion. It has some interesting pluses but also some concerns.
Discussions take a lot of time. IMO we as the community we should have discussions among ourselves and then bring our consensuses to the WMF. When we do they need to listen. We do not want them involved in all our discussions as we want them working on other stuff. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:33, 22 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I will address Flow separately above. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:57, 22 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
VE wasn't rolled back. Not even close. The community told the WMF it was broken and causing problems, the WMF refused to undo it so the community hotwired the site to prevent it from working because the WMF wouldn't roll it back and then the WMF compromised. But it wasn't until the community stood up and said they weren't going to tolerate it that they caved.
I do agree that VE is far better now and its just now getting to a decent beta state, 2+ years after it was dropped on the community with a host of known problems.
I also agree Flow will be an improvement to many sites and may be good for many things even on ENWP. But it shouldn't be forced out.
Your also right that discussions take a lot of time and they can be annoying but oftentimes they are useful as well. Both sides (the WMF and the community) have things that the other need not be involved in. But those things are limited IMO such as developing the budget for the WMF or legal issues. Even hardware maintenance and development has and could be done with help from volunteers even if in a reduced capacity. One thing the WMF does not do that I think they should is oversee the Arbcom's and Functionaries. The Admins polices the editors and has absolute authority. There have been laundry lists of abuses of power committed by Admins, Arbs and functionaries but there is zero oversight of those groups. They know that and take full advantage of it. The only way to get rid of an abusive admin or functionary is to take it to Arbcom, if they accept it at all they will hold a hearing which takes a month or more and almost always results with no action on the part of the admin. Many admins get away with murder for years and I know you have seen it too without ever being taken to Arbcom because everyone knows its a kangaroo court and a waste of time. Its a fake process for the sake of saying we have a process and there have been many problems stemming from their decisions. Many of which should have been addressed b the WMF (such as the recent Chase me ladies case). Most users who are familiar with it have no respect for it at all and know its a joke. Unfortunately the WMF has no interest in dealing with the Arbcom problems so the community is stuck with it. And Yes, I believe that the community would generally be better off without the Arbcom. Reguyla (talk) 20:04, 22 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I remember seeing VE become opt in rather than opt out which was more or less in line with community consensus. The question is who speaks for the community? If you can get consensus to end arbcom than the WMF would likely end arbcom. I agree that no software should be forced. The community elects arbcom and thus we should oversee them IMO. Not the WMF. I have been take through the arbcom process a number of times. Have learned some from the process each time. Agree it does not always work but it is up to us to decide if we can figure out something better. We do not want the WMF ruling the community and I fear some of what you write above suggests that. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 20:21, 22 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Doc James, the history on Visual Editor and other projects is perhaps less collaborative, and more of a conventional top-down authority model, than you'd expect from a foundation in the midst of the Wiki community.
Visual Editor: Here's a news story on it: Revolting peasants force Wikipedia to cut'n'paste Visual Editor into the bin. There was a huge RFC, Visual Editor was causing so much damage that there were an overwhelming 472 supporting opt-in. Experienced editors could at least fix the errors when VE damaged a page they were editing, but inexperienced editors were helplessly leaving damaged pages everywhere. The WMF dismissed the damage and the RfC result, the WMF refused to consider anything except opt-out. The community eventually had to develop an edit for the javascript page, went through another RfC, established a new Consensus to implement that edit, and an admin carried out Community Consensus. The Community javascript was live for about an hour, then the WMF finally set VE opt-in on their end.
Media Viewer: The WMF set Media Viewer default-on, the WMF has absolutely refused to discuss the matter at all, and it is still default-on. Five RFC's across EnWiki, German Wiki, and Commons all went strongly against the default-on Media Viewer setting. The WMF also preformed a survey asking random readers about Media Viewer. The English and German survey results went particularly heavy against Media Viewer, and considering all surveyed languages a majority of global readership found Media Viewer "Not useful for viewing images". The WMF ignored their own data. German Wiki developed a javascript edit, just as we did with Visual Editor. German Wiki established a new consensus to implement that edit. The WMF developed a buggy rush hackjob Superprotect to combat consensus. They forgot that administrators have every right to delete pages. The freshly recreated page is born with no protection at all, and admins could apply the edit to the recreated page. Superprotect didn't actually work. The WMF actually used a threat of at-will admin revocation to enforce the Media Viewer setting. The WMF then proceeded to make bad relations even worse by running an "Media Viewer Community Consultation", doubling-down on their complete disregard for Community and Consensus. For starters, the "Media Viewer Community Consultation" declared the Media Viewer setting to be "Out Of Scope'" for discussion. Facebook management decided Media Viewer was mandatory, and Facebook users have no place thinking they get to discuss the subject. The "Media Viewer Community Consultation" then proceeded to do absolutely nothing different from what they were doing before. The "Media Viewer Community Consultation" was just but a fancy sign hung over their bug-report and feature suggestion box. It was an utter rejection of Community and Consensus.... mere individuals could toss random feature ideas in the suggestion box, and staff could pick up any ideas that caught their fancy. It's the Facebook model of Community Engagement. The Consultation only made people even more upset. Then it gets even more ugly... the WMF established a page for Community_Engagement_(Product)/Process_ideas to improve WMF-Community relations, to try to avoid a repeat of the Superprotect incident. I participated in that page - up until the point where the WMF renewed the threat of using "actions against the communities, like de-sysopping admins or superprotecting" whenever the WMF dislikes consensus. (Quoted from Requested Changes section.) Media Viewer is still set to opt-out because, after turning Superprotect off, the WMF left a lingering threat of revoking admins and reapplying Superprotect. Doc, as a Board Member, I'd be interested to hear any comments you might have for Lila regarding those standing threats.
Flow: Current WMF policy is no deployments without a local consensus asking for it... because Flow is still under development. But the en:Wikipedia:Flow page still effectively says Flow will be mandatory: Flow will eventually replace the current Wikipedia talk page system. We have repeatedly tried to ask Lila about this, tried to ask if she intends "Flow will eventually replace the current Wikipedia talk page system" even if there were an established consensus against it. All we get is a non-answer that Flow is still under development, and that there will be internal evaluations of Flow. Doc, as a Board Member, would you please ask Lila about this? Maybe she'll answer you, she won't answer us.
Gather/Collections: A relatively recent project, which went over like a lead balloon when they announced it at Admin Noticeboard. It's for us to host socialnetwork style content, essentially all of which falls under our speedy deletion criteria. The WMF wants the community to maintain it and ensure WMF-legal stuff is enforced for any bad content posted there. A lot of people were particularly offended at the WMF presuming to assign unwanted work, which they expect volunteers to do for them, to support their unwanted project. The informal-consensus at Admin Noticeboard was that the WMF was welcome to keep the project ---- if the the WMF wants to take it as a strictly WMF project and PAY employees to patrol and admin it all themselves. I practically begged for a WMF-Community discussion to sort out what we (WMF&Community) want to do about it. A half dozen times I asked, and was ignored. The Community Liaison refused to acknowledge the topic. I asked the project manager for a WMF-Community discussion. He withdrew from the discussion, leaving the Community Liaison handling posts on his talk page. I came here and asked Lila for WMF-Community engagement on the subject. Lila also ignored the engagement request, with the same-old answer that the WMF will have internal discussions on the project. I considered starting a Community-only RfC on it, but I dread the prospect of more conflict if the community decides to disable it from our end. I really really want to find some way for the WMF&Community to start working together to sort things out. The current status of the project is "suspended".... meaning that the WMF left the incomplete project active, left it gathering unpatrolled content, never implemented basic necessities like logging edits in contribution-history for abuse tracking, and it's another abandoned-but-active cruft extension contributing to maintenance-hell bitrot. Alsee (talk) 10:54, 24 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You make a lot of good points here Alsee. I also agree that the "Community liaisons" don't do much for the community. Never really. They retort what the decisions are that the WMF has made without the community and argue the WMF's point to the community but I have never seen the liaisons work with the community on issues or take the communities issues seriously. They are nothing more than a section of the WMF to help force the WMF's POV and to ensure the communities compliance with the WMF's wishes. Reguyla (talk) 14:08, 8 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Alsee my thoughts on this as an individual member and not the thoughts of the board

  1. The WMF needs to come out with a statement that they will not use superprotect to force software on the communities against consensus. This "The WMF proclaims to reserve the right to refuse any requested change, and rarely (but memorably) invokes this claimed right. Their refusal may be backed up by actions against the communities, like de-sysopping admins or superprotecting pages to prevent local admins from making the community-requested changes." is not cool and needs to be changed. Please give us until the end of Nov 2015 to come up with something.
  2. This "Flow will eventually replace the current Wikipedia talk page system" also needs to change with "may" replacing "will". Flow must only be implemented if their is community consensus for it. I have asked for a briefing on Flow and it is for discussion at one of our next meetings. I have raised it here
  3. With respect to "gather" this is just a way to collect WP pages into a grouping is it not? It does not seem that different from the book extensive we already have. Sort of appears like a useful work space object / tool. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:27, 24 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Doc James, Sorry I didn't respond sooner. Regarding Gather, I wasn't really addressing the product itself. I was listing a pattern of process. I suspect you glanced at the product and concluded it's an insignificant matter. There are Policy violation issues involved, but in general Gather should be a petty matter. I'm skipping product discussion and just addressing process&outcome. The WMF so grossly mishandled Community Engagement that AdminNoticeboard informal consensus says we should not act if things like copyvio or libel are found on Gather. The WMF can either deal with it themselves or they are welcome to eat a lawsuit. Clearly this is not a viable situation. I went to the Community Liaison and begged for a WMF-Community process to properly discuss and resolve the issue - the topic was ignored. I went to the project manager and begged for a WMF-Community process to properly discuss and resolve the issue - he withdrew from his own talk page without acknowledging the subject. I came to Lila's talk page begging for a Community-WMF process to discuss and resolve the issue. She ignored the subject. The WMF won't even acknowledge the idea of WMF-Community Engagement to resolve anything. The WMF built the project with no community input, the WMF simply declared they were deploying it, the WMF blithely ordered the community to develop a policy to support it, and the WMF treated volunteers like a free labor force to do any work that the WMF assigned to us. The WMF refuses to engage in discussion of Gather itself. The WMF process was not merely bad - it's getting insulting and it's driving people to outright mutiny.
A proper Community RFC could be run to reach a saner result than what we have now, but if there is zero WMF engagement then the "saner" resolution would likely involve the Community nuking the project from our end. I would much rather avoid going down that road again. We need to find some way to talk about this kind of thing. Alsee (talk) 13:58, 7 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Gather raises an interesting process issue. (y the way, on mw:Gather it is marked suspended.) At the Community Engagement (Product)/Process ideas page there is a suggestion Define goals before you start which in a nutshell reads "Before implementation starts, the product team must define goals for the intended product and benchmarks to determine if the goal have been reached". This is one of the few ideas on that marked as resolved, and it has the annotation "Lila: Should never deploy without clear success measure", linking to WMF Metrics and activities meetings/Quarterly reviews/Editing, July 2015 where Lila stated As general rule, have clear success measure' then Should never deploy without clear success measure and, most significantly, success criteria need to be agreed on by community. I assume Lila will stand by those as a general principle -- I certainly hope she will. There is no indication those measures were ever agreed for the Gather project, which is surprising for a project started in 2015. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 15:40, 7 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you think the community overseas Arbcom or that the community has the ability to abolish it your kidding yourself. The community can't even be trusted in the eyes of the Arbcom to desysop an admin (of course they can be trusted to vote someone to be an admin). Do you really think they are going to allow the community to vote them out of existence? I also agree that the WMF shouldnt control the community but they should control and monitor the Arbcom. Reguyla (talk) 10:56, 23 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do I think the En community is interested in abolishing En arbcom? No. Has communities abolished arbcom in other languages, yes. Could the En community technically abolish en arbcom if they wanted to yes. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:38, 23 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't happen. Its obvious by the decreasing number of voters, the very limited list of people who participate at Arbcom and the shrinking support vote percentages that the community is losing patience, respect and confidence in the abilities of the Arbcom. Its not outside the realm of possibility that they simply will get to a point where not enough people get enough support votes to pass. If the Arbcom drops below X amount of people, it will basically just stop working. As it is, when it takes them 6 weeks or more just to decide if they are going to unblock someone, that is a broken process. Especially in cases like mine where the community already decided to do so and they don't do it because they disagree with the community. Reguyla (talk) 15:12, 24 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Talk page management

Recovered from the archive as it seems to be relevant. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:53, 22 July 2015 (UTC) Reply[reply]

Lila, please would you consider whether you are managing your talk page in the most effective way for engagement with people who wish to have discussions with you? I realise that you have been out of the office and perhaps found it harder than usual to find time to read and respond to everything posted here, so let me suggest that you assign the task of monitoring your page to a staff member who can at least acknowledge messages; refer as appropriate to other leaders or teams; and make sure that you have a summary of those items which need your response. In recent weeks I have attempted to draw your attention to a number of issues which are certainly well-meant and, at least in my view, both appropriate for your attention and constructive in nature. Some of these have been aged off without so much as an acknowledgement from you, or on your behalf, or by any member of WMF staff with responsibility for the issues in question. I think that's a little discourteous. If you actively do not want suggestions like these, please just say so in a large banner at the top of your talk page. Here are some issues that I feel were not handled in a satisfactory way:

We are working on a draft that we intend to publish this quarter on improvements to our software process. Engineering management has an offsite specifically focused on that at the end of August. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 01:08, 25 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I posted a response, we have created a reader group and they are building a roadmap. I expect it to focus on mobile experience as the primary interface. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 01:08, 25 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Winter -- another volunteer claims it has been discontinued, but the linked mw:Winter continues to suggest otherwise, and no response from you or any member of WMF staff
It was a prototype that has not met the productization requirements. I will ask to update the page. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 01:08, 25 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is an ongoing program. You can see some of these being developed in both CE and Engineering. Revscore is an example that came out of such an investigation. We still need a robust process that we can scale, we are only taking baby steps now. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 01:08, 25 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I will review. I may not respond there but I will see if we can incorporate additional feedback. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 01:08, 25 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes this is a known problem this year, the board and staff have responded on the AP page. The timeline was shrunk this year and this will not be happening again. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 01:08, 25 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Page Weight Matters -- a member of your staff attempts to help but admists that she does not know really where to redirect the suggestion, and there is no further action by WMF staff
I will ask our staff to review. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 01:08, 25 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Responded on another page specifically discussing this as well, we are looking at this closely and have introduced our first staff member. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 01:08, 25 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not yet fully defined (just got a manager for the team), we will update once we have a full definition. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 01:08, 25 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Flow and Flow misunderstanding -- the discrepancy between your view of what is going on and that of the community remains unresolved
This has been a long and difficult investigation. We have given an update at Wikimania and I will ask our Director of the Editing team to respond here as well.
There is a follow-up section #Flow update -- action requested below. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 15:49, 23 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you. I do have to apologize for being behind here on this page as I consider this input incredibly valuable way to connect with you. I have been traveling and meeting Wikimedians face-to-face around the world (Europe and the Middle East), literally living on the plane in the last two months. I am prioritizing focusing internally in Q1 after Wikimania and will give updates on a few of the items here and our progress before I get back on the road for Asia in the fall. Thank you for your patience and again, apologies for recent delays LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:50, 6 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for that -- your connecting with the community is much appreciated. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:09, 6 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Once again, thanks for the various responses today. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 15:54, 25 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just my opinion but it seems shortsighted to focus attention on the Mobile experience as the "primary" tool used by readers. I agree that we need to focus attention on the mobile experience, but it shouldn't be forced as the primary. A large part of our community and its readers use Laptops and desktops so we should not fall into the trap of alienating large groups of our readers just to implement trendy new technology. Windows 8 did that, now we have Windows 10 that undid a lot of that because the assumptions made were incorrect and focused too heavily on the personal preferences of a few tech savvy individuals rather than the needs of the larger population. Reguyla (talk) 14:17, 8 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Collaboration, Wiki Discussions

* Flow and Flow misunderstanding -- the discrepancy between your view of what is going on and that of the community remains unresolved
: This has been a long and difficult investigation. We have given an update at Wikimania and I will ask our Director of the Editing team to respond here as well.

Why would the Director of the Editing team discuss Flow? I thought that Flow was the domain of Danny Horn and the Collaboration team.

I have found this Mexico City presentation online:

Collaboration team (which includes Flow product) rolls up to Editing vertical. Danny is a PM that reports into that. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:16, 31 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the note User:Wbm1058, and glad you found them useful. -- Fuzheado (talk) 21:31, 12 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New changes - Endowment etc.

Hi Lila. I have been catching up on some new developments with WMF, and I just wanted to say Thank you and "Good work, it's about time :)" to some things i saw- particularly, the endowment decision. I don't know if you or anyone else has been doing their homework for you, but it was my one cause that I started out with on strategy wiki, I brought it up repeatedly and incessantly since 2009-ish. My idea wasn't really fleshed out back then but you can read about it as it evolved over the years. I had conversations about it in person with Veronique, Kul, Sue, kim, Michael snow, Stu west and just about anyone I could find over the years on the board or on staff. I had ludicrous discussions online(meta, irc) where I had to defend long term financial planning we all practice in our personal lives to apply to WMF and the need for a long term strategy instead of jimmy popping up every year with hat in hand, which invariably always puts up on slippery slope of lies about how important fundraising target is - the non core part. I fleshed out the idea further on the now defunct Internal-l and older fundraising discussion on meta, particularly separating the endowment proceeds to only cover "core" expenses (keeping the site online, mostly core tech and admin work) and keeping the fundraising going as normal annually to generate variable revenue which then define your budget plans and expenses for "non-core" stuff (community engagement, features, design, grants, leprechaun research). Besides that it's also comforting to not see any large budget increases- personally I'd have loved to have seen the budget and the staff size decrease after the large increases we saw YoY. Priorities have changed more than a few times, those older decision have to be revisited instead of constant staff reshuffling, but I digress....sorry about that. Anyway, Thanks for this decision. You might want to have someone read through my old emails on Internal (circa 2012) or skim through them yourself, there might be something useful there on this topic. Regards. Theo10011 (talk) 21:56, 1 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for the kind words Theo10011. I agree with your reasoning on long term planning completely. The Endowment is a lot of work and -- to put it in context -- a 100M endowment would only yield 2-3M/yr in operating budget -- so we have ways to go. On the overall budget: the needs of rebuilding the aged technical infrastructure of the site (which is now way past due date) and improving support for volunteers (which has all too many gaps) actually requires quite a bit of fund infusion. Building software is unfortunately quite expensive. Yet we will have to figure out how to fund rebuilding of our well-used engine. The reason we held our budget increase moderately steady this year is because we believed that we needed to improve our ability to predictably deliver results first. Year to date we are operating on a robust quarterly goals system and have shipped a few key improvements to the site. We still have ways to go, but we are building confidence in our abilities. As we look in how to do this, we are not simply looking at our capabilities at the WMF, but also those of our sister organizations and our volunteers. 05:59, 5 September 2015 (UTC) unsigned by LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) Reply[reply]
Greetings. Thanks for the response Lila. I hope you don't mind but I have a few thoughts about this as you can imagine. You'll have to forgive me, financial sustainability for WP was the issue I was most passionate about 6 years ago, and still am, and I've probably thought about this more than most people. Please don't feel obligated to engage, and feel free to peruse through at your own leisure. Now, please allow me to rant ;)
  • You are talking about an annualized yield of 2-3% which wouldn't sustain and wouldn't require much diversification beyond treasury bonds and other debt instruments. I believe your target yield is far too low, especially when you take in to account - inflation and natural capacity expansion (keeping pace with the technical evolution, projected salary growth and expenses). You'd be out of budget in 10 years or less. I'm sure you know Endowment management/investment is a very complicated and a risk averse practice but large university like Harvard and Yale consistently outperform the S&P 500 - Yale generates a yield of about 16% and Harvard about 15% (between 1985 and 2008). Of course, economies of scale and their social connection are a big factor but diversification is equally important. I believe you should start out aiming for a 5% yield, ideally from fixed income sources first. I agree 100M won't sustain and thus the endowment should remain open in perpetuity without a set target, you can set an ongoing target of 10-20% commitment from annual revenues for the near foreseen future. That should put the annual yield at the minimum of 5 million.
  • A 5 million annual yield, in my opinion should/could cover the absolute bare bone basic operational costs (hosting and admin). I'm speaking about this mostly from seeing the budget at 8 million once upon a time, and still operating at current technical levels with no large increase in bandwidth and traffic cost. 5 M could be the new benchmark to aim for to cut costs in core areas (admin expenses seem high in the budget).
  • Endowment can have gifts in kind too, I mean between the tax deductibility status, the healthy relation with large tech companies, not to mention a favorable public opinion - WMF can structure deals to receive support in kind from other organization and government entities. Things like hardware, hosting costs, bandwidth expenses or certain services could be procured on a long standing relation between benefactors.
  • There is no doubt that there is still an enormous amount of bloat in the budget. You know that so many departments were created, abandoned, and folded over the years with changing priorities - global development comes to mind, grants were also prioritized higher than it is now, not to mention a lot of C-level hires, product management grouping and the high number of contractors, most are unlisted (remote or otherwise). Personally, I think you've been given these positions and people and you are doing your best to use them the most efficiently you can but you are overlooking the central need for having them. Priorities, goals, even management style kept changing but instead of resetting and starting over, we are carrying over all the baggage from abandoned iterations that brought us here. I believe you and the HR should sit down re-evaluate the staff needs and envision things from a new perspective - I really think you can do a lot better job than your predecessors when you start from scratch and ask what we need instead of where can we fit this piece in to the puzzle.
  • The 40-45 million annual budget was the sweet spot to aim for in my opinion, looking at all the audit reports and the budget and the plan over the years. It is quite achievable and sustainable in my opinion to undertake all those developments, expand and still stay at that level indefinitely.
  • Litigation was a fear I heard a lot whenever a suggested endowment during my time. US is prone to a litigious atmosphere, and we are a constant target of bias. It was constantly suggested that having an endowment might make us a target for litigation or costly law suits with punitive damages, especially for us non-us residents this seemed like a fear. I really hope you plan for contingencies and have insurance and a protected legal status, to offer as much protection as you can to the endowment.
  • You've certainly identified the right problem areas fast - aging infrastructure and volunteer support. I don't know if the route you are taking to address these mammoth tasks is easily achievable or even verifiable. I would differ on the approach you are taking to address these issues. But it's still a welcome approach than the last data obsessed, data analytics roundabout where there was some catastrophe we needed to offset about editor retention while making the editor base more diversified and welcoming. I don't think we got anything from that last approach, I'm hopeful you can do better.
  • Engineering really needs more consideration, erik put a lot of resources in a lot of directions. It's by far the largest expense for the foundation - some sort of ROI audit or internal assessment or regrouping. Basically we aren't getting things done, and when we were they were either sub-par or inefficient or worst, irrelevant. There were a lot of things erik wanted to do, from his data intensive approach to....well everything to features that were sub par that no one wanted that were then forced on or continued out of hubris instead of abandoned to a quick death. There were a lot of small iterative improvements and feature stuff that should really have been left to the community instead of the staff. The goal you have about offsetting the infrastructure rot and focusing on software really needs a more comprehensive overhaul type approach that should be aimed for down the road. The iterative improvements should be prioritized but handed over more to the community which you should then provide support for. Engineering isn't tooled right for this approach - besides the core grouping, you can have a non-core dept but the iterative stuff really needs half community/half engineering approach between the two. Then the long term engineering goal and software improvement could be separated.
  • Communication really needs improvement. Internal communication is a big blind spot right now for WMF. I'm sure you've had to work through tedious tomes like this page and the lists - handling all of that personally for an executive is, or invariably, will get too much at some point. You should really have this delegated more and address the staff in a memo to engage more with the community on meta and the lists- to answer questions directly. You have inherited a lot of history and decisions that you probably don't even know about and if you do than I sympathize with you for having to read through and research so much. ;) Communication internally really will go a long way to improving all the projects and health of the foundation-community relation. I don't think the current communication initiatives are working and definitely need a better more direct proactive approach, or you'll be running from fire to fire trying to calm things down.
Anyway, that's about what I have for now. Sorry for being long winded and blunt in a few places. As you may know, I have seen things closer than most community members get to and I've never been shy of having an opinion either. Thanks for taking the time to read through all this. Regards. Theo10011 (talk) 23:52, 6 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
P.S. I know we have no input on any of this, and not that we should but I just wanna say I kind of miss Kul, Moka and Cary. They worked at WMF long ago and were excellent at their jobs, more importantly they were community facing members. Cary basically ran half of meta, mailing lists, wmf wiki, IRC, bugzilla, identification for election/stewards, wikimania volunteer organization, OTRS and did a lot of tedious behind the scenes admin work that really no one does now from WMF side-it smoothed a lot of things over. He was a long standing community member and an elected steward, and was generally laid back and helpful whenever anyone in the community asked him for help. Philippe wanted to change that approach, he wanted volunteers to handle all that work - it didn't work out so well as you can imagine. 5-6 people end up doing half the work one guy did that is when you could find who was in charge of what and get them to respond on time - volunteers have their own schedule. So, we had specific hires subsequently for each task - bugzilla had a go-to staff member, internal communication on wmf wiki had another, Wikimania volunteer handling had another, etc. etc. but things just didn't run as smoothly. You need a wiki specialist like him that people can just have a laid back chat with instead of making a big deal about everything - you should definitely consider the staff role if not that particular staff member - Things like superprotect, WMF wiki ban and admin removal, banner/central notice related disputes and plenty of controversies would have gone down differently, if someone was between the WMF and community relaying information on both ends - the staff has a lot of blind spots like that. Moka, was an excellent communicator and was far more responsive with queries for the community than Jay, she was always available and eager to help from my perspective. It also helped that she was always friendly and nice to just about anyone at wikimania or visiting wmf office and at other community events in person. Kul, as you may know built Wikipedia zero from ground up, it really made a huge impact in my part of the world (read developing world). He was excellent at building partnerships and relationships with companies and organizations all over the world, had a lot of contacts and useful startup experience, not to mention, great fun at Wikimania and in person. These were good people, who built a lot of goodwill, made a lot of friends in the community and their tenure ended abruptly just when they seemed to be getting their stride. You should really re-evaluate those roles - they were high impact, low resource areas that need focus. Thanks. Theo10011 (talk) 23:52, 6 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Theo10011 -- would you please email me and Lisa. I'd like to chat about some of the things you are brining up: communication and you approach to problem areas. Please put your handle in the subject line. Thank you! LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 00:12, 12 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Service: The user Theo0011 opted to allow email from the wikipedia site and even put this link on his/her user page: E-mail. ---<(kmk)>- (talk) 21:18, 14 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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