Values/2016 discussion/Transcripts/D

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1 == preliminaries ==
2 3: Because we are a community oriented organization, we know that providing transparency can bring comfort and accountability that we serve.
3 1: Notion of having nothing to hide. We uphold high values and we want to achieve this amazing vision, and we want to achieve that without compromises. We don’t advertise, we don’t sell out, we aren’t partial. In order to do that we can’t hide anything.
4 F: Purity of what we stand for?
5 1: nod
6 == your three values ==
7 === 1 ===
8 Community
9 This is the foundation of our movement. The collective, the people who donate themselves, their time and intellect to make sure other have access to knowledge and information. This means we believe that the collective is richer and more powerful than individuals. This honors humanity and the value we give to all human beings.
10 1: It’s why we’re here, but also who we are.  When people are together, it’s more powerful and richer than what people do by themselves.
11 F: I was struck with the contrast between this and the part about inclusiveness.
12 Justice
13 The world is unfair, full of inequalities and ignorance. Knowledge and information can bring clarity, collaboration, the sense of community and common goals. It can level the playing field and foster the dialogue we need to make the world better. Ignorance has always been used to manipulate and dominate people. Knowledge and information can be freeing and empowering; therefore, they can increase our chances to live in a just world.
14 1: Honesty, integrity are feeding into this one for me. Justice as a bigger umbrella. World is unfair, full of inequality and ignorance. Ignorance has always been used to manipulate and dominate people. Knowledge can be freeing. More justice than we have right now.
15 3: Those arguments are refreshing for me.
16 2: agree. This is important.
17 Inclusiveness
18 In our vision we say we want all humans to share in the sum of all knowledge but we are leaving a lot of people behind. We need to bring them in and have an environment that is safe, welcoming and respectful to have them stay. This inclusiveness is not only geographical but also includes race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, disabilities, etc and all non-dominant groups of our societies.
19 1: Really failing to incorporate. We say we want every single human being to be part of this, but we’re leaving a lot of people behind. Not just geography, but all backgrounds that are “non-dominant” in our society. Their knowledge and heritage isn’t represented in our projects.
20 1: It’s not enough just to be the biggest encyclopedia. I believe we’re more than that. We have this unique place in the world to build community around knowledge. That should be a global community with all the voices represented. Right now we don’t have all the voices represented. It’s not as global, as inclusive as we want it to be. We can’t achieve our mission and realize our vision if we’re not including all the voices.
21 F: Can’t capture the sum of all human knowledge if we’re not including everyone.
22 1: agree. Humanity isn’t only one group. We’re equals but different as the same time. Having only the vision of one group is how civilization works: one group that has the means dominates the other. That’s not okay.
23 F: Also relates to justice? And making the world a better place.
24 1: Agree. Especially now. What’s happening now in the US is happening in other countries around the world. Ignorance and misinformation is at the core of it. If you don’t have information and knowledge, you can’t change your life. People are fated to the same destiny. Even if you have an education it’s not guaranteed that you can change your life, but I can’t see any other solution than people being informed, and being able to discern what they’re seeing and where it’s coming from.
25 F: You really see knowledge (and access to it) as a means to that change.
26 1: When we say that our work empowers people, that’s my life trajectory. Knowledge and access to knowledge can be the key to changing someone’s life.
27 2: Comment about inclusiveness. At the moment we have 10 Wikimedia projects, and I’m not sure that all 10 are exhaustive. Is it possible to share every kind of knowledge through our current projects? E.g. it’s very difficult for some people to contribute to the wiki because of their culture, or how people share knowledge in their culture/civilization. Do we have the right places to welcome all kinds of knowledge?
28 1: Thank you for bringing up that aspect. Those voices have not been part of the discussion. E.g. if people from oral cultures had been involved 15 years ago, maybe those cultures would be included today.
29 === 2 ===
30 Community: we are a community of people dedicated to share knowledge. That community is part of a bigger one. We work together, we discuss together, we decide together, we act together. WMF exists because there is a community to assist.
31 2: It’s not possible to imagine the WMF existing without the community. We try to work, discuss, decide together. I say “try” because not everyone tries very hard. In my daily work I see people who consider the WMF is the enemy, and not part of the community, as someone who’s trying to force a certain POV.
32 Equality: everyone must have access to knowledge equally. So everyone must have a chance to give access to that knowledge. I’ve written that as the best terme to group some other terms, like respect, accessibility, civility, inclusiveness, equitability and more. That’s also means transparency, accountability, openness…
33 2: As we create a community, we need to be equal, we need to have respect. We also need to be transparent to each other, open to other ways to curate and spread knowledge.
34 3: I like how this encompasses many things that are important. Seems like a fundamental value that includes many things.
35 2: One of the fundamental values of the French Republic. Just noticed it. Something we should be inspired by.
36 F: Notion of openness, curiosity, as a necessary component to equality: that was moving to me.
37 2: You need to be curious to build a community, because you need other people to build that community. You need to learn about what they believe in, compare your values with theirs. It’s a component of equality.
38 1: I’m very conflicted. One side of me really loves that equality is a big umbrella. But another part of me has seen that when we have this big umbrella of equality, with no subtext about what we mean by that equality, sometimes it’s just a beautiful term that’s not actionable. I’ve seen that happen a lot. I feel concerned; if we have those five final values without explanation, it’ll be difficult to do anything with it. Historically it’s been used as just a pretty word.
39 3: We are not going to define a word or a sentence, but a definition.
40 N: And Talent and Culture will also kick off a process next year to translate values into more actionable practices in our everyday work.
41 3: Equality is so broad, it includes to many things, I don’t necessarily think we should seek to use it as a value and redefine its meaning. If we want it to be usable in day to day work, we need to break it down further to avoid having philosophical decisions about what equality is every time we want to make a decision.
42 1: agreed.
43 2: My fear is to have something that is too detailed and too precise.
44 F: This relates to our process of getting to the why. This is in part about making knowledge accessible to everyone. Why is it so important for you to make knowledge accessible to everyone?
45 2: Like 1 said, there are many people trying to manipulate others and impose their point of view. We need to provide a place with reliable knowledge. Give resources to people so they can make their own opinion, not follow blindly or be limited to biased content. This is why I contribute to Wikimedia projects. I contribute for my own benefit (I want to reuse this information later) and for the benefit of others. Knowledge enables people’s self-determination.
46 F: Why is self-determination so important?
47 2: Following people for bad reasons will give you regrets. I need information to understand how the world is working, to trust people in power. I can decide and make informed decisions.
48 F: Relates to leaving the world a better place? Or is it more individualistic?
49 2: I hope people will make well-informed decisions in an individual way, and I hope that will include a reflection about what is best for themselves, and what is best for everyone else as well. I want people to have an opportunity to decide by themselves, and I hope that they’ll make decisions that make the world a better place.
50 F: Balance between being able to be self-determinant, and also knowing that it doesn’t happen in a vacuum; there’s a greater good.
51 2: If you don’t do that, you can’t build a community. You have the right to your own opinions, but you also need to be open to others and respect them.
52 3: Everyone has the right to self-determination, self-destiny. You can explain it with equality, but it seems to me that the reason why I share to some extent this value, I don’t know why. It feels natural.
53 Independence: we do not belong to someone else that the whole Humanity. WIkimedia projects are a common good. Anything possible must be done to avoid Wikimedia projects from becoming politically or religiously oriented, centered on one way to think, dependent of external resources. We (as a whole community) have built WIkimedia projects to become a sanctuary that can be a safe place for people seeking at knowledge.
54 2: I think some big Silicon Valley companies are threats in a way. Other threats could be states, etc. People should know that they can trust our content, that they can contribute. It must be a safe place, so we must remain independent.
55 === 3 ===
56 Serving the community
57 As WMF employees, we are here because of the community. Our existence is only meaningful due to their existence and the work they do. It’s only natural to have serving such a community as one of our basic values.
58 3: The foundation exists because of the community. Serving them needs to be a strong component of our decision making, both at my individual level and at the organization level.
59 Independence
60 We are here to serve the Wikimedia community and dependence on outside sources can (easily/quickly) become in contradiction with that value (Serving the community) as we will need to take into account the needs of these new outside sources.
61 3: Our goal as an org is to serve the community, and anything that distracts us from that … We need to serve the community, not outside sources.
62 Integrity
63 We should always be honest. I don’t know why. :)
64 3: It’s related to transparency. Transparency is a way to show that honesty and integrity exist. This goes deeper, and is related to this axiom that human beings are equal. You need to be honest about who you are, how you think. That’s what in the long run makes the world a better place. That’s the way it should be.
65 1: This really resonated with me. I want to emphasize truth, and saying things as they are. Community and collaboration: only being truthful allows building trust. And you need trust to have a community. As an organization we have to do more and better. Otherwise we don’t have the trust we need to accomplish things together.
66 F: Sense of duty to serve. Importance of honesty that leads to trust. Integral component of that service.
67 3: Serving the community and independence are about service. Independence is here as a way to be aware that we may become dependent and that may jeopardize how we serve the community. Integrity is a little more separate. As a foundation we need to be honest, always. But sometimes we may have to balance between serving the community and being honest with a third party.
68 F: Key ingredients for making the world a better place. Is serving the community part of that as well?
69 3: Serving the community comes from the fact that… There are two parts that make me feel that serving the community is a value. One is that I’m being paid, so I need to be accountable to them. The second one is: they’re doing an amazing job, and I want to help them do more. I’m choosing this path in my life because they’re doing the right thing, not just because I’m getting a salary. Serving them indirectly helps them make the world a better place.
70 1: I’d like to explore a bit what you said about saying the truth vs. serving the community. E.g. a third party, a partner.
71 3: The examples I had in mind: as an org serving a community, we may want to keep away some information from that partner in order to arrive at a goal that better serves the community. Business negotiation: you’re not completely deceiving someone else, people expect dishonesty. But we still need to keep integrity in mind during those situations.
72 1: Touches me in a way. This relates to my work. The traditional way of people doing business is indeed based on these game rules. But in my experience you have to tell the truth; you don’t hide your agenda to get more. You are honest to build trust. It works better in the long run.
73 3: Another example: how we pay someone. Salary negotiation. This is based on the assumption that the first offer won’t be the final one, etc. that there is a process there. I think this violates integrity.
74 F: For me integrity is more about staying true to your values. Is that a definition that is shared here?
75 3: For me it’s pretty much about honesty. And our list of values needs to be honest too, and we need to take them seriously.
76 1: One more distinction: There’s a difference between lying and not disclosing all the information.
77 3: Goes to the intention level. If you’re intentionally keeping information away that could have an impact on the result, it goes against honesty.
78 1: Example about salary negotiation: distinction between lying (“this is the max”) and not disclosing the full range from the start.
79 3: Honesty is about making things simpler. E.g. this is my future manager and I want to trust that this is the best they could do. I don’t want to spend two more weeks to negotiate. And it’s also about making a fairer process for everyone. Not everyone knows they can negotiate, or how to do it. And I’m saying this as someone with training in negotiation.
80 F: Equality?
81 3: By being honest, you’re providing the information and knowledge people need to make decisions. You’re assuming that people can use that to make decisions. Level the playing field.
82 F: Notion of fairness?
83 3: Fairness may be broader than integrity. Fairness is a wider umbrella.
84 F: I like the notion of thinking of integrity as globally focused towards equality.
85 3: Even in the more individual level: this is how I want people to treat me, and this is why I treat people this way.
86 == why are those good things? do they enable other good things? are they intrinsically good? ==
87 [done during the first round]
88 == feedback on the session ==
89 What worked? What could be improved? What surprised you?
90 3: I enjoyed hearing how other people in this discussion thought about values. We know that people value these values, but it’s nice to hear it because we don’t discuss them in our day to day interactions.
91 1: Agree. I value the fact that my voice is going to be part of this process. What most surprised me is how much I enjoyed hearing the other participants talking about their thoughts. We’ve had discussions before, but this was really meaningful and deep, and it was great.
92 2: Agree. I work remotely and I don’t have a lot of opportunities to discuss with other people outside my team, especially on other topics. And also witnessing that we share values because we’re all working here.
93 1: Kudos to the facilitator and scribe, and Talent&Culture & Anna Stillwell, and anyone else involved. Initially it felt like this was at a higher level, but I feel refreshed now, especially because I’ve learned that this is the first step. Recovering from what happened at the WMF. I really like all these aspects (having many sessions, at different hours, inviting volunteers, etc), to make sure we involved and heard from many voices. It really helped.
94 2 and 3 agree.