Values/2016 discussion/Transcripts/A

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1 == 1 ==
2 # Independence
3 ## It will never be possible to write an entirely neutral encyclopedia; as many have said, history has bias. But protecting our content from explicitly biased interests is tantamount to realizing a project that is globally representative.
4 ## Protecting our fiscal independence, ideas behind our content is the only way to realize our vision
5 # Inclusiveness
6 ## Diversity and openness in hiring and communications with one another
7 ## Bring our community in, so they have a seat at the table
8 ## Communicating frequently, being participatory
9 # Freedom
10 ## Important to our movement in general
11 ## We’re not the ones creating the content, so we don’t have any particular ownership over it
12 **I believe Transparency is hugely important so I’m unsure if I should list it as my 3rd Value, but under these definitions, it seems more like a Guiding Principle.
13 == 2 ==
14 * === Commitment to openness and diversity ===
15 ** Alternate: Commitment to openness and diversity and inclusiveness
16 ** Why: I actually want stronger working here but I’m having trouble wording it. I think we should always be proactively looking to promote openness and diversity and inclusiveness. I also want to add some mechanism that makes individuals act like good neighbors and partners to other WMF staff. Also WMF staff should be held to a higher standard of conduct than the average person in the movement.
17 * === Freedom (changed from transparency halfway through meeting) ===
18 * === Our communities are our biggest asset ===
19 ** Alternate: Commitment to serve and support our communities
20 ** Why: the original wording makes it sound like we are a foundation with a movement and we keep saying it’s the other way around. I think this flips the relationship to how we want it.  Sounds like capitalist view, desks are an asset, our communities aren’t. Our actionswork for them. They’re not a battery that we draw from, a resource that we use
21 Extra notes:
22 We have principles and values in several places. Someone might need to go through all our wikis and double check locations (and maybe condense things). I know of these:
26 == 3 ==
27 # Freedom: It is the value upon which we have built our projects from the beginning and inherent in free knowledge, free culture, and free software.
28 ## When I joined WP in the early years, it was the driving force. It still is for most of the activities.
29 # Transparency: It is the core value through and with which we operate.
30 ## At the principle level, but also at the operational level (participation, legitimacy)
31 # Professionalism: It is the value why we did set up organizations in the first place.
32 ## What we wanted out of Wikimedia organizations
33 == 4 ==
34 # Pluralism
35 # Independence
36 # Commitment
37 == go around ==
38 === 1 ===
39 * Entire neutrality is not going to be possible. Protecting fiscal independence and ideas behind the content is the only way to realize our mission.
40 * Inclusive with how we communicate, but also allowing diverse voices to engage with us.
41 * Using tools that represent our values. Wikipedia to remain free and open, collective ownership and the value of using oen source software
42 === 2 ===
43 * Commitment to openness.
44 * “Communities are our biggest assets” is a problematic wording. In the connotation that communities are an “asset”. This definition transpires makes them sound like a resource, not the end user. We serve communities.
45 === 3 ===
46 * Freedom. When I joined Wikipedia in early 2004, in the early stages, the value of freedom was the strongest one. What does Freedom mean on a practical organization level means something different: giving everyone their own little hub.
47 * Transparency. Generates acceptability.
48 * Professionalism. What the community wants out of the organization, and why it was set up (alongside having an inbox for the server).
49 === 4 ===
50 * Pluralism. Maybe not the right word. It is an interesting concept to think about. Not only do we want to make space for diverse voices, but by design, we need a space for people from diverse backgrounds. This means we have to work extra hard, being an org based in SF. By design: recruiting practices, who we partner with in the community.
51 * Independence. Changed in the last minute from collaboration. It is similar to freedom. We are not tied to commercial interest, and this allows us to serve the communities and protecting the projects and our vision.
52 * Commitment. To our community, values, to what we were created to do. We have a commitment that isn’t about the bottom line it’s more values-driven
53 == why are those good things? ==
54 === freedom ===
55 It’s a foundation principle, where we started. That in itself has value. It g
56 It is one that constantly gives us something to shoot for: it will be hard to attain fully. It touches all different layers of the work: the way we work, the content that we serve, it enhances participation.
57 Clarifies what we mean by the word “freedom”. Most people think of free as in “free of charge”. It’s not just about that. It’s about opennes to the world and empowering others.
58 Precondition for empowerment. Promoting freedom through infrastructure (software, grants, etc). We are not telling communities what to do, we are unlocking the power for them to do the work. As opposed to liberty, which is about removing barriers but without empowering.
59 === transparency ===
60 Wording. Would like to add “with common sense”. There are legal reasons not to share certain information (for example, financial, or protecting people’s identities). Transparency where it makes sense.
61 Means to an end. It feels more like a guiding principle.
62 * Difference between guiding principles and values is not crystal clear.
63 * It is more of a how. Transparency takes work. When we decide to practice transparency, we need to be deliberate about it. It’s not always transparency for transparency’s sake.
64 * Operational value. You have to be transparent about freedom. It is more of a lighthouse that shows the way.
65 === commitment ===
66 As an organization, we have standards about the work that we do, of having an impact in the work that we do.
67 Because we have this list of values, we are committed to them. It is a bit meta. It is in our vision statement, and I like that it draws a line in the sand. It is reafirming the previous sentence. It needs to refer to something to have meaning. To some, it is about commitment to freedom.
68 It feels like it is usually attached to other values.
69 === professionalism ===
70 Operational value. Alongside transparency, carries the most social capital, which builds to the public message to our 2 most important stake holders: volunteers and funders. We are legally obligated by these. It is a good reminder for our board of governance. Sets the foundation for our social contract.
71 Not in love with the word, but I see why it makes sense here. I can see why it is an operational value. Model communication that is respectful. If you are a professional, you are being accountable for your actions.
72 Underlying values: transparency and accountability.
73 It might be good include “good stewardship” in this definition. Keeping track of maintaning something, but we don’t have true ownership. We need to set this up for other people to lead later.
74 === pluralism ===
75 The word may not be the best. What I like about it is the intention of bringing as many voices as possible to the table.
76 One can be inclusive by listening, but you can also take a step forward and work actively to bring these voices into action.
77 People with privilege take more space, and as such, they have a responsibility to offer this space to other people with less or no privilege. (Sound support)
78 This is helping neutrality, in a way. It is said that “history is written by the victorious”, and this value fights against that.
79 We might have inclusivity as an umbrella, instead. Can a single value mean different things? Is it a problem to stretch a value like pluralims / inclusivity too much? One good example is when it can affect efficiency in making decisions. Having this as a value, though, means that we work towards it, we don’t fully realize it every time.
80 === independence ===
81 It is important to explicitly call out independency. If in 10 years we change our leadership, they might bring new ideas that collide, like corporate funding, which might endanger our vision.
82 It is an end in itself. It is a how and a why: we work in an independent way in order to remain independent.
83 === serving community ===
84 It brings legitimacy to our work. We don’t exist without community, so we have to enable their trust to us.
85 This is a little bit reactive. From a product manager perspective, developing a new feature should begin and end in the community, not only end (i.e., develop a feature and then seeking feedback, make features that someone likes, and then seek buy in).
86 It is an end to itself, a basic requirement to us. It is our primary structure.
87 Saying that we are a service provider falls short. We are empowering the community, by involving them in every step of the process.
88 == final ==
89 Conversation about professionalism was interesting. Thinking about values about inspiring and practical is a good take away.
90 Having in mind all the different documents that we have to have in mind while we work. A few ideas to work through this:
91 In onboarding, if there was one place to reference about values and practices. In other places, values are pasted on the wall, for example. Other examples is using these values in meetings. When we look back at how we are making decisions, do we look back on our values? If we are struggling with making a decision, thinking back to what values we have.
92 Having good documentation, and making clear how these documents interact with each other.
93 Having someone that owns the project in the mid to long term, and periodically checks that the values are being put into practice.
94 (For future reference, see also the framing we defined for these discussions, which pulls together all those documents in a coherent frame: )
95 == chat transcript ==
96 In general, a principle is by default a rule (or law) while a value is a concept shared across a set of reasonable beings.