Values/2016 discussion/Transcripts/T

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1 == your three values ==
3 === 1 ===
4 1: Chose the words that cast a net as wide as possible.
5 Service (to humanity, the public, community; supportive, helpfulness) - in this sense, the leadership WMF provides is not to actually set the agenda, but to work with community/chapters/user groups to support their aspirations and help shepherd them in a collaborative way
6 1: what these aspirations are and what will get priority will be the hard math.
7 Openness (begets transparency, goodwill, accountability, acceptance, inclusiveness, collaboration) - The key to evolving and including new people and initiatives is openness in ideas and direction for the mission.
8 2:
9 Steadfastness (stability, cooperation, endurance) - As volunteers and societal/industry trends come and go, the WMF's main value is the ability to survive and nurture the movement for the long haul.
10 3: We need the things to run; electricity, servers, etc. Have staff to look at the hard things (legal, servers, etc.) that volunteers can’t.
11 Adventurous (analog of being bold) <- not for WMF (haha)
12 Was one of my "movement" values, but not for WMF methinks
13 === 2 ===
14 Accessibility – being as inclusive as possible; not trying to exclude anyone
15 2: has a lot of different aspects to it. Involves making it as easy as possible for people to access knowledge (language, formats) and also for sharing knowledge (expertise, specific tools). Insuring people can collaborate in constructive ways without fear for their safety (physical, emotional). The WMF being clear and understandable in public communications. What we’re saying should be accessible. About framing and organizing public discussions to ensure wide participation.
16 Integrity – ensuring our actions are grounded in our mission and values; being truthful and confident in our communications
17 2: When we take action, it’s grounded in our values and our mission. We have reasons for doing what we do. Being honest in our communication. We can explain actions and decisions as much as possible. Leads to consistency in our actions and decisions. Because of that grounding in mission and values should be steering us on a consistent path that we should follow. Should also lead to a strong confident voice in our communications. If we’re making a decision, we should be able to explain why, tied to our mission; not having to apologize for decisions we made.
18 Flexibility – being able to take in new information and potentially change behavior based on that information
19 2: Be able and willing to take in new information and change behavior. We don’t have to have all possible information before starting to do something, ut se whould be open to listening and her new information as things go along and adapt behavior as a result. Also relates to being willing and able to change policies, procedures, beliefs, even if we’ve had them for a long time, based on new information, and how those things relate to mission and values.
20 === 3 ===
21 Accountability - being transparent about things, but also accountable
22 3: Not opposite to transparent. When you’re transparent, you’re invisible. But being accountable should mean being visible. Accountability is a better word. We know what we want to do, we can be firm about it.
23 Open-mindedness/Openness - that’s about diversity and access
24 3: Didn’t want to use diversity because it’s overused. It seems that if we’re diverse we can’t include white people. Being open is accepting everyone. Open-minded
25 Inclusiveness / Integrity - being able to accept and defend
26 3: You can open but it doesn’t mean you’re ready to integrate others in what you’re doing. Somebody can come in and go out and that’d be it. I want people not just to go through, but to contribute. We shouldn’t be dealing only with including people, but also including ideas. Everything that we’re doing should be a part of something bigger. We might be doing something today, but we might
27 === 4 ===
28 WMF:
29 Networked - to consider itself, in all its actions, not as the ‘do-er of the thing’ but the ‘facilitator of others to do the thing’. To leverage/support a ‘network’ of stakeholders to do their work better (efficient/effective/faster/smarter…) for the benefit of all. (e.g. the same as WMF doesn’t ‘write wikipedia, it helps others to do it better’ - apply that principle to all projects (e.g. education outreach, fundraising…)
30 Related to R.Semler’s ‘80% rule’.
31 4: It’s ingrained in the organization already that the foundation doesn’t write articles; it helps others to write articles. IT’s an enabler (not in the bad sense). Facilitates, supports others to do the thing better than it ever could. That’s the crucial success factor of Wikipedia: to enable others to do the thing better. That’s why wikipedia won. I’d like that value to be incorporated into all things the foundation does. Education/ glam outreach, fundraising: help others do it. Semler: laissez-faire philosophy. The more I can get other people to do things sufficiently well, I have more time and they grow. Network as in empowering others.
32 Effective - Get Shit Done. Doesn’t have to be fast (consultation and consensus-building is an inefficient process), but the results have to be useful - the org shouldn’t exist or be doing things for its own sake/self-perpetuation
33 4: Not existing for its own sake; in many nonprofits they exist in perpetuity because they exist, and they have a big budget because they have a big budget, etc. There needs to be a focus on the goal, on implementable outcomes. Not necessarily the same as efficiency.
34 Global - WMF is not an organisation that is ‘in San Francisco’ but all over the world in terms of staff and its daily impact on the lives of people in the movement. Ask: how would this conversation be different if we were sitting in Reykjavik right now?
35 4: It’s important the foundation considers itself location neutral. SF is an artifact of history. Has changed the way the movement revolves around the foundation. If Jimmy hadn’t been American and living in the US, we may be in Reykjavik right now. Whatever the foundation does shouldn’t be considered the USA organization, and other people in other places can look after themselves (not).
36 [Movement:
37 Global
38 Neutral
39 Free]
40 === 5 ===
41 5: I’m very mission focused and that sometimes colors the way I look at things.
42 Supportive - providing the physical, technical and emotional support to those who are working on the mission.
43 5: includes community support, being able to reach out to each other. Remember that the mission is really big, and includes readers, people who reuse pictures from Commons.
44 Disciplined - ensuring that the mission-centric objectives are given priority over “new-shiny”, utilizing resources effectively (including human resources).
45 5: Maybe a more direct word, parallel to being focused on the mission, we’re not spending a lot of time doing things that we can’t directly connect to our mission. We have a lot of limitations to our resources so we need to make sure we’re using them well. Also includes stopping doing things that aren’t working well. Especially difficult for organizations and the foundation in particular.
46 Innovative - willing and able to experiment with different ways of accomplishing (parts of) the mission.
47 5: Willing to experiment, try new things, and explore the lessons we learn from that. Example: Wikidata: great leap of faith. We bought into a vision brought to us by members of our community. “If it doesn’t work, we have a way out, but if it does work, we have something exciting”. And it really did work into something exciting. A way of reassuring us that we’re willing to try new things as long as we know there’s a point where we evaluate and consider what to do after that. We’re probably innovative in many ways that we don’t recognize (e.g. FDC). Decision making is at the very grassroots. We have other people looking at this and finding it cool. Not many grantmaking organizations where this kind of structure exists. We decided to turn it into something more valuable than just handling money.
48 As a note, I view the mission very broadly so there is a wide range of activities that fit into “mission” that starts at reading or otherwise using the product.
49 === 6 ===
50 Pluralism - pluralism is not diversity alone, but the energetic engagement with diversity. Pluralism describes difference as the necessary pre-condition, but then also represents how we actually come together to respect and worth together through that difference
51 6: Maybe different words for the same themes. Diversity is indeed overused token word. It’s easy to talk about being global, needed different perspectives at the table, but you need to go beyond that. Need to figure out how to work together through these differences. To me that’s where it gets really important.
52 Collaboration - working together in order to achieve more than we ever could alone (requires transparency, openness, accountability, integrity, etc as pre-conditions).
53 Empowerment (empowering others, note that self-empowerment can easily read as entitlement so that’s not what I mean here) - supporting and sharing knowledge and power with others is why we’re here
54 6: About empowering others. Maybe “support”? It’s the most important word in the foundation’s mission. Often glossed over, lost behind. We’re here to support and share knowledge, and shared power is one of the ways we get there. Really important way of how the foundation can operate within the movement.
55 == why are those good things? do they enable other good things? are they intrinsically good? ==
56 F: Some of the statements you shared were similar; some used different words for similar concepts.
57 [Openness]
58 3: Without being open, we wouldn’t able to reach the mission. We can’t even have the vision about every human being if we’re not open.
59 F: Openness enables inclusivity?
60 3: Maybe a principle?
61 1: It’s not just a good idea, it’s essential to what we do. What we include into Wikipedia, but not just: who we get to get involved. There’s no way our mission can succeed if we’re not open. Otherwise we make an inferior product. If you’re not open, you get a project or a movement that doesn’t represent the breadth of human knowledge.
62 How much openness can you have when you want people to be able to toss around ideas that aren’t fully baked? The operation of the foundation means that people may be subject to heightened scrutiny.
63 F: Openness is necessary for the mission, but it’s also restricting because by opening every aspect, you may be silencing others?
64 1: Those are extreme.
65 5: Inclusiveness, pluralism, similar to openness. Wonder if that’s a value, or just a condition required for the organization to exist. Taking it past the values. Like electricity or servers.
66 6: Openness has always seemed necessary but not sufficient, much like diversity. What I mean, if we take Wikipedia as an example. Lots of open source projects where “anybody can contribute” and yet not everybody does. So that’s the insufficient piece. What do we add to it that makes it sufficient? “Open and inclusive” has a proactive component.
67 6: to 5’s point that this should be so clearly ingrained that they’re necessary preconditions: if they’re not stated as values, where do we agree that they’re important?
68 5: I don’t have a specific thought on that except to say that sometimes we just need to say that things are what they are. WMF hosts series of projects that are open. Maybe part of the mission? Not sure.
69 F: Why does diversity matter? What does it mean to you all? Hearing concern for ensuring that diversity is a priority.
70 4: I’d reframe the open/plural/diverse discussion. Talking about input (different backgrounds, ideas, contents, etc.). It’s a value because it cuts across everything in a way that is a choice. We’re choosing to also be diverse in outputs. Content can be used commercially, data mined, accessible in multiple ways, platforms, languages. Repurposable, not-closable. Some of the bug controversies in the past year revolved about closed inputs, but also closed outputs. Fixed infrastructure independent of who could benefit from it, modify it. Standalone, close output. We fought against that using a general sense of “this isn’t open/plural”.
71 4: I think the definition of a useful value is if it can go on the all of every meeting room, and any plan that comes out of a meeting, even the least powerful person in the room can point at that value on the wall and say “this plan doesn’t reflect that”. Gravitas to change decisions.
72 F: You brought up a very interesting perspective. We brought values that matter to us personally, but how do they apply in our day to day work.
73 [Integrity]
74 6: One of the important components of integrity is having words and actions match. When there’s a mismatch there, there’s an integrity gap (nods in the room).
75 4: Does integrity gap refer to the ability of the lowest power employee being able to point at the value and being ignored?
76 6: We’ll probably want to bring in accountability in the discussion at this point. If integrity is the match, then accountability is about looking back at what we said, and close the gap to be accountable.
77 F: Accountability is a way that leads to integrity.
78 1: Agree with the mismatch/gap concept. Maybe a values mismatch problem, not necessarily integrity mismatch. For higher level hires and board members, we don’t always have a great onboarding process. People without knowledge of our community: it’s hard to plug them into this environment, even if they’re open minded. There are opportunities (metrics meetings, documentation) but it’s not easy. How do we bring people into our movement if they don’t share them?
79 2: One aspect of integrity is… Actions, decisions, words should reflect the values. Part of the fabric of how things work; it should be fairly easy for people to pick up on that and absorb the values.
80 N: easier to agree on the why instead of the how. People we bring in should share the bedrock values (the why) and then we can discuss / educate on the how (the behavior, guiding principles).
81 1: In recent years, it’s been more difficult to know what’s happening in the movement (and thus see the values in practice) because there’s just so much information. Can’t keep on top of all the discussions unless someone digests them. Speaking as a long-time Wikipedian, I don’t envy someone joining today. I don’t know how new people today do it.
82 5: I wonder… old-school Wikipedian values. We’ve been around for years. I wonder if new people coming in think we have the same values as what we think are the values.
83 4: Like having a control group of newer people
84 5: Maybe? Even if we’re modeling those values, they may not be the same as the ones that newer people are bringing to the organization.
85 1: wikimedia-l mailing list. People using facebook as primary way to interact between community members. Would be unthinkable for many old timers (who’d rather use talk pages, IRC, etc.) People using facebook for getting work done and notifying people to do stuff. Values aren’t exactly the same
86 6: The only thing I would add to that is going back to pluralism. Newer people also bring good ideas. Openness would say “use mailing list”. Pluralism is about accepting that some communities use other tools or channels like facebook to communicate.
87 4: Open to new communities and platforms. …
88 2: openness maybe not a value in itself, but rather a means to an end. Clash between openness and . Can’t leave behind humans for whom open tools are too complex. As a result it harms pluralism. You’re limiting who can be involved, if you’re too strict on using an open platform. Pluralism is the value behind openness. Also other limitations around accessibility, but balancing these different things.
89 F: Extremely open would hurt inclusivity. Goes back to openness yes, but with something else (inclusive, plural).
90 [effectiveness]
91 4: Not existing for its own sake. Foundation exists to serve rather than to exist. Tied to being networked. Being effective doesn’t necessarily mean doing it fastest being you’re the best, it’s about getting the best outcome. The best we have found at writing an encyclopedia: distributed system. Extrapolate from the way we’ve learned is the most effective at writing wikipedia, means to enable others to work together to be effective all together. Controlling centrally might be more efficient but we’ve learned that doesn’t work for WP, the same is true for the organisation itself.
92 Be disciplined; serve.
93 best outcome, perhaps any outcome, and the best way we have been effective in writing an encyclopedia - is to be networked
94 3: For me, effectiveness still means that you have limited resources, and it includes my concept of accountability. You have these resources, this mission, and use the resources to get there. Try, fail, learn. In trying to understand that we have limited resources. Being accountable. Even the words we’re using for values are different but interlinked. Having common ground to talk and understand what people mean. People fight because sometimes they don’t understand they’re saying the same thing. They need meta-discourse.
95 6: It seems like we’ve got a couple of clusters around poles. Some values are around accountability, steadfastness, … and then there’s innovation and flexibility. What is the interplay if they are both core values? Discipline and innovation? Innovation on its own can be a very dangerous thing, as is only focusing on what we know we’re effective at. Thinking of values as pairs.
96 F: There may be values that could contradict each other, or oppose one another, but we can prioritize differently.
97 2: Interesting because values that seem in opposition keeps you from being too far in one direction. Keeps you from concentrating too much on safety and not being innovative, for example.
98 F: Going back to being “radically” innovative, or “radically” efficient.
99 [steadfastness]
100 5: Similar to discipline. Service work, structural support, core functions taken care of consistently. Important to our focus. We chose such different words that seem to mean the same thing.
101 1: longevity and the “long game”.
102 N: Also “perpetuity” in the mission.
103 1: Traditional definition of government. Endowment, long term planning, are really important to do with some kind of organization. Community awesome at smuchn, but not this. Volunteers struggle with the long game - endowment, servers, etc. are important to do with long term support at an organisational level, which is why it needs to be “baked in” from the values of the wmf.
104 We’re supposed to reach out to new places, new readers, but without abandoning people who are already here. No
105 I don’t like the vision statement. We are not actually trying to reach every single human being. We are not trying to build schools, we don’t even fund other people to do that. We shouldn’t try, but it is in the vision statement. We are also not trying to collect the sum of all knowledge; we are trying to collect the sum of all public, notable knowledge. What about indigenous knowledge? That is not traditionally shared. This vision is very western, very libertarian. Our vision statement is more of a practical implementation of collecting the collective knowledge
106 collating the collection of knowledge and making it available to people, not pushing aggressively to people. Love enlightenment philosophy of classification but there are flaws in it. We're not the be all and end all of human knowledge. "All the knowledge" includes facebook, SSNs.
107 5: I think sometimes we get confused. It's not the same to share information and to share educational content. We have running jokes about certain images on Commons, and at what point does it stop being educational. SSNs aren't educational content. Sometimes we fail to reinforce that part of our mission statement.
108 2: Multiple organizations can share the same vision and work toward them with different missions. Vision works well at painting an inspirational picture.
109 6: Educational content: I wonder; if we wanted to refocus on that. What kind of values would we need concretely to focus on and espouse? What would get us there?
110 5: It’s a good question.
111 6: Maybe we all need more time to think about this. For me educational content comes back to empowerment. Releasing SSNs doesn’t empower anyone.
112 == feedback on the session ==
113 How did it go? What did you like? What should be improved?
114 5: Surprises me: Didn’t look at the existing values until a minute ago. What we talked about isn’t reflected on that page. Missed some of those. Maybe it’s so fundamental to who we are that it’s just part of who we are.
115 2: question about the process, history of values.