Values/2016 discussion/Transcripts/O

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1 == preliminaries ==
2 5: gives everyone the opportunity to know what’s happening, which then informs us individually and allows us to get involved in the process.
3 1: Very related to the kind of knowledge that we produce. Not necessarily an absolute value in all contexts, but given the way we produce knowledge, we need to be transparent. One of the things I value related to transparency is privacy. Transparency is also used as an excuse. I want to be understanding of where privacy fit when we talk about transparency.
4 F: Just to clarify: Transparency is a guiding principle, not a value. So we’re trying to find the underlying reasons (values) why transparency is important as a guiding principle.
5 3: Practical things we get from transparency. Trust: no authority behind the content we produce, so transparency enables people to see how it was produced. See how it gets done. But also transparency gets us a very valuable way to learn from mistakes. Open discussions, making big decisions: if they end up being bad, we can go back and look at the reasoning that led to those decisions (and others can too).
6 == your three values ==
7 === 1 ===
8 Freedom - Now the hard part. Why? You can’t produce any knowledge, free or otherwise, without freedom. Freedom to think. Freedom to question, including questioning received wisdom, information, why something is considered knowledge. Freedom to challenge other perspectives. Freedom to speak. We produce knowledge in a sense by speaking to each other while we produce knowledge. Freedom to decide what is knowledge and what is not. Intellectual freedom.
9 1: Unless you can think freely, it’s hard to use any kind of knowledge. Freedom to think, to question. Freedom really underlies this, it’s a precondition. Not everyone experiences this freedom. Relates to what 4 was saying about women not feeling this freedom. Freedom is speech is something that some people enjoy, and sometimes when they exercise that right, other people’s freedom is infringed on (?). Freedom of speech shouldn’t depend on how powerful you are.
10 4: Big +1. I hate it when people use “free speech” as a way to justify hate speech.
11 1: We really have to think about the freedom that the least powerful can experience. Free speech turning to hate speech, and to silencing others.
12 “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high...where knowledge is free” Rabindranath Tagore, Indian poet and novelist who won the Nobel Prize (I think)
13 Community - We are a community of knowledge seekers and producers, not in a narrow sense. We don’t create knowledge in isolation, but co-create knowledge together, with each other, in community. Through back and forths, reason and emotion, discussions, debates and arguments. Consensus. This is the core of who we are (sounding corny!). The current wording “our community is our biggest asset” makes us sound like we are separate from community. We belong to, are in and part of a bigger community.
14 1: Community is one of my three values as well. I think for me us as a community of knowledge seekers and producers. And the way we produce knowledge isn’t in isolation. All of us, whether we’re foundation, affiliates, individuals, we’re part of this bigger movement. In a sense it’s unfortunate that the conversation sometimes becomes us vs. the community (?).
15 1: “Community as an asset”: phrasing makes it sound like the foundation is separate from the community. So we should just use the word “community”. When I think of community as a value, we sometimes think of the community as one big artifact, but frankly I’ve been part of many movements and many communities, and I don’t know any community where everyone wants to be part of a big family. All are fragmented, have internal disagreements. The thing that happens, the whole being more than the sum of its parts, people coming together. When I was new Wikipedian, I felt I needed to pass some test; rite of passage to be allowed to be part of the community. Hopefully that sense of belonging is what matters.
16 4: Agree. The challenge in adding as many voices as possible to the discussion. It worries me when we have a discussion on meta or wikimedia-l and we say this is a discussion with “the community”.
17 Openness - Open knowledge, open source, open minds. Openness goes beyond open source to other modes and paradigms of openness for me.
18 1: open minds, open thoughts, openness related to inclusion, openness to difference. I’d like to think of openness as a value if it wasn’t just about open software.
19 F: I was moved by what you said about freedom, especially the freedom of the least powerful. Juxtaposition between freedom and the fact that all people should be able to exercise that freedom. Notion of freedom reflected when you talked about openness, and being open to difference, open minds. And then also the feeling of belonging that you mentioned when discussing the value of community.
20 1: Agree. Also, people who are part of other language versions of Wikipedia don’t always feel that they can speak in discussions dominated by people from the “big” Wikipedias. Different communities enable the feeling of belonging in different spaces.
21 === 2 ===
22 Inclusivity & diversity : Open and empathetic way of doing our work. Always caring for how everyone can be onboarded, feel welcome and be part of the movement, but also that we provide people with the right medium (format, way of access, language level,...) to learn.
23 2: We are not one community, but several communities working towards the same goal. Using the word “community” erases our differences. Inclusivity is both about onboarding people and … . Belonging: exactly that. I belong with the crowd even if I don’t know them. The way we’re doing things is working for many (i.e. access to knowledge through the internet) but maybe that doesn’t work for cultures based on oral knowledge, etc.
24 Global collaboration : I cheat here, I would like to have four so I merged two. But to me one of our key value is that we approach our challenges from a collaborative perspective (like ants/hive mind) and that is also why we could be globally successful as the core of what we do is the same but it can be approached in thousand of ways. It is key that we can gather people that love harnessing knowledge, other that codes, other that organize projects, other that takes picture and crazy ones that love staying in the background doing call late at night on how we can make all of those persons “work” easier. And we can do that from a global standpoint. Which should allow us to serve the same mission but adapted to local culture/needs/habits.
25 2: We’re not working for one country, one kind of people. We’re working for everyone; need to address different perspectives. There are many things we don’t know. We barely know anything about how to spread knowledge in Africa, in Asia. There are people in the movement who know more about this.
26 Enlightenment : No idea how to summarize that, but I believe one of our values is to allow people to be better. To better understand their world, the other people and culture that roam Earth. That we do what we do not just for the sake of harnessing knowledge but because in the end it can make the world a better place.
27 2: Guiding and spreading human knowledge: why? It’s because it makes a change in the world. I hope it’ll help people understand the world, and do better things together. It’s important to remember that we’re here to make things better, and have an impact, and make a stand when needed. Our content is neutral but we are not; we have beliefs and we have principles.
28 3: Good reminder that we’re gathering human knowledge to make a difference in human lives.
29 F: Agree; leave the world in a better place than we found it. Other values kind of seem like means to an end to making the world a better place.
30 3: Definitely.
31 F: Why do you see success hinging on bringing everyone in?
32 3: I’m super curious, but there are very topics that aren’t interesting to me. We’ve spent the last 15 years working mostly among white men from the US and Europe. The platform is super efficient for that demographic, but is it efficient for others? If we can’t bring them along, we can’t even know if it works for them or not.
33 F: Making sure that openness and inclusivity help us validate that we’re succeeding.
34 3: Even just to learn. There are going to be issues that we can’t tackle, or that we’ll have a really hard time to tackle, but at least we’ll know. About learning, and about people teaching other people. Look at the maps of knowledge, whole continents are dark on those maps, and we need that knowledge on Wikipedia, and we need to bring those people aboard to contribute.
35 1: Provide knowledge not only in the current form, but also in other forms. People should have knowledge in a form that they can use. Even the most radical encyclopedists stick to the idea of written knowledge and written encyclopedia.
36 === 3 ===
37 Openness: We need to allow everyone to see how it works and encourage them to participate. We shouldn’t present the knowledge as a finished product, but as a process that improves with each new collaborator. There is a vast amount of human knowledge that we have yet to incorporate. Not all of it belongs in Wikipedia, but we should steer contributors to the appropriate project instead of simply deleting their content and rejecting them.
38 3: It’s the only way we’re going to incorporate all this knowledge. And also openness to other forms of knowledge that may not belong in an encyclopedia. Making sure that people know about other projects e.g. Wikisource. People who are trying to contribute in the wrong space, making sure they can find the right place. And making it clearer to the world that this isn’t a finished product ready for consumption, but that they can improve it, expand it, even if they don’t become a long-term member of the community.
39 Courage: We need to stand up to governments who want to spy on our users, to powerful entities who want to manipulate their entries, and to malicious hordes that would kill the projects with a thousand cuts.
40 3: Besides the “be bold” idea, this is something that the foundation is in a place to do. Stand up to the forces that may try to subvert the projects, or go after individual contributors. Stopping censorship, standing against things like SOPA, and making sure that this is preserved for the following generations.
41 Ingenuity: We need to keep trying new ways to collaborate (even across languages), wherever the suggestions originate. We can’t calcify around a set of tools that exclude internet users who have different ways of communicating. As adversaries improve their manipulation tools, we have to respond.
42 3: We’re not going to be able to preserve this stuff and welcome new people if we just stick to the same old way of doing things. Both technologically (newer generations of internet users are used to different interfaces for communicating back and forth, or even different mediums altogether, e.g. whatsapp, facebook; can we incorporate some of that?) and governance (how do we get input from the vast number of people who may not be comfortable talking on the big wikimedia list. And if we do want o hear from 100000 people, email may not be practical. Something like representative democracy?). Keep trying new things. Not judge the idea by where it’s coming from.
43 F: I’m hearing a sense of duty, service on the part of the foundation, to help preserve knowledge, and to keep the doors open, and be protective of the stuff.
44 3: It may be necessary for the foundation to stand up to the existing community in some cases. Challenging calcified, closed-minded ideas about who’s allowed in, and what the appropriate response to newcomers
45 F:
46 === 4 ===
48 4: Reminds me of Wikipedia Zero that it went against neutrality and that it shouldn’t be used. But people from the Philippines were saying it was so important to them, and people from Germany wanting to keep the purity of the neutrality. What is morally pure on one side of the world might be different in another part.
50 4: We have an issue with diversity. Some say that diversity will make us lose quality, and I think it’s the complete opposite.
52 4: How to work with community members; we spend a lot of time devoted to the loud voices. Topic of conversation in the US these days is fake news and it’s starting to dominate conversations in Wikimedia as well. How to engage the community: members who speak English as a first language have always been dominant in conversations. Explosion of affiliates means we have more diversity in discussions. But these voices aren’t on IRC or wikimedia-l, they’re on Telegram or facebook groups etc. Not just listen to the voices that are on mailing lists.
53 4: It’s amazing how women are underrepresented in many articles; articles written from the POV of men. We have few biographies of women. For me that’s an issue. We can’t say we’re the sum of all knowledge if we’re missing knowledge about 50% of the population. We’re missing that, and we’re missing the people who could contribute that content. We need to know why. We know we have a gender gap problem, and there are also other minorities that aren’t underrepresented in our community of editors. Many projects don’t have the attention that en.wikipedia has (from the foundation, Jimmy, etc.). Affiliates have been somewhat successful with initiatives to encourage women, scientists, etc. to contribute. But sometimes on the English Wikipedia the reaction is to curtail it, e.g. restricting rights of new users etc. Directly targets workshops, Content Translation, etc. This is so against the principles of the project. New philosophy of “this is our knowledge and we’re here to protect it, and you must prove that you’re worth contributing to it”. And that attitude is starting to spread to other wikis. Being a Wikimedian used to mean being bold and welcoming newcomers, but that’s changed.
54 F: And if we continue down that road, the quality of the projects will decline.
55 4: Content stops spreading, or loses quality, or becomes biased. People disengage. People are settling for not having huge fights. The joy of contributing is starting to go away. Harassment is a huge issue. Underneath the surface and there’s no enforcement. Sometimes even administrators are the harassers. The WMF doesn’t have the resources to address that on their own. People have varying degrees of what they define as harassment or “normal conversation”.
56 === 5 ===
57 Thank you four for all those details. We rarely get that information in my side of the foundation. All those points, I can totally see that happening. I’m glad we’re talking about this. Approached this from the values as a person, and also the values that I’d like the foundation to consider.
59 Feel that including different voices and perspectives offer a very rich environment on several levels
60 5: Piggy backs on the many voices that we have. Can resonate within the foundation internally, but also in the community. Gives everyone their share of knowledge and history.
62 Consistently expanding in knowledge and understanding helps to absorb (not sure if there’s a better word for this) the complexities of life which in turn helps in being an active and engaged person in the communities I (or anyone)  are a part of (even not a part of)
63 5: A motivator. People who use Wikipedia are inherently curious and want to know more about things they don’t know about. I love having conversations with family and friends, and having part of the conversation stem from Wikipedia.
65 Foundation to be able to do all the above and then some
66 5: Self-care and being able to have that part of you (both body and mind). Absorb and share your knowledge.
67 5: In social justice organizations, there’s this theory that you need to practice what you preach. If at the foundation we have a value of diversity etc. then we have more standing to preach for efforts e.g. within the community.
68 F: Hearing a notion of connection to oneself and to other people. Giving everyone their share of knowledge. Having everyone be able to contribute. And using the projects as a way to connect to others in conversations, to share with them.
69 5: Yes. Getting different perspectives. Especially now with what’s happening in the US with the Alt-right. Everyone can use Wikipedia as a project; what’s the fine line? But yes, we need a big community to engage that will stimulate conversations. A discovery process.
70 F: Challenge inherent in inclusiveness: people who have a different worldview.
71 5: There may be some misinformation being spread; isolationist point of view. That’s why it’s a hard thing to contend with; still wrapping my head around it. Still an ongoing conversation. It’s a challenging thing; the whole spectrum of freedom; saying yes or no.
72 === 6 ===
76 This is for all three - I am VERY concerned about the amount of false information that exists in our current media in the US.  It is our distinct responsibility as a source of open knowledge to make sure it is accurate, honest, and as unbiased as possible.
77 6: I don’t want to be north-america centric, but what’s happening here is going to impact the rest of the world. With information comes great responsibility (so cliché!) but we’re responsible for knowledge; it’s our mission to provide accurate and unbiased content online. How do we move forward with our core mission? How do we make sure it’s not false, or biased? And how are we truthful as an org? We need to lead by example, uphold these things. We have to keep our integrity and be inclusive, and at the same time how do we move forward when there’s such a probability that we may be censored, e.g. if a president elect doesn’t like the picture they have online. Trying to find a way to move forward as a community, as an org, as humans.
78 F: Focused on how to stay safe, move forward. Look a little below the how, to the why. Why is it so important that we continue to act responsibly, and with integrity.
79 6: I wouldn’t want to work with this community if this weren’t the case. If not us, then who? Somebody needs to take a stand.
80 F: Responsibility to truthfulness. Code, bedrock.
81 1: At moments like this, how is almost as important as why. In times of crisis, we need more clarity about our values.
82 F: +1. Having clarity of our values is particularly important in times of crises. Helps us remember why we’re here in the first place, helps us orient ourselves.
83 Nodding in the room.
84 == why are those good things? do they enable other good things? are they intrinsically good? ==
85 (out of time)
86 == feedback on the session ==
87 What did you like? What could be improved? What surprised you?
88 5: appreciated the nuance of the movement; with everyone’s perspective. Happy being part of this conversation
89 2: it was really great. Know what our values are so we can stand for them. I love that it’s nuanced, and yet in the end I can see the common thread in our conversation.
90 1: Agree.
91 4: We seem to be aligned, share core values, and it’s so nice. Lovely to talk about, I wish we were all in person and spend a lot more time talking about values.