Values/2016 discussion/Transcripts/U

Browse transcripts: A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z
1 == your three values ==
2 === 1 ===
3 Freedom - Refers to the autonomy of the organization (independent funding, apolitical…) and the results of our work (distributed freely and free to be redistributed, copied, modified, forked...)
4 Diversity - A project "for everyone" must be formed by a representation of everyone in as many aspects as possible.
5 Decentralization - It all started with a wiki, which is a tool designed to collaborate in a decentralized way. This type of collaboration is what made Wikipedia unique and what brought us where we are.
6 === 2 ===
7 Civility - I think this important for solving problems when communications get difficult.  It is not about deference but about listening, being open and receptive to new, different and contrary perspectives.  I think civility is also important when guiding principles such as freedom and independence are used in a radical way that leads to toxic communication.  It requires people to have a sense of accountability for the things they say and the manner in which they say them.
8 Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion - In an organization that has a mission to bring free knowledge to the world, it is important for the organization to have people from diverse backgrounds doing the work and advancing the mission.  I think it is critical to the sustainability and longevity of the projects to reflect diverse cultures, backgrounds, experiences, etc in order to provide the possibility for greatest innovation and accessibility.  The organization must also be committed to inclusion in terms of fostering the kind of environment where the people who are brought in will feel welcome and stay.
9 Collaboration - this is fundamental to bringing out the best in everyone.  When people feel they have a voice and are involved this will foster more engagement, openness and productivity.  It requires everyone to come to the table to do the work.  Free riding is not allowed.
10 === 3 ===
11 Acknowledging reality
12 There is a narrative for everything. That narrative does not always reflect accurately what is really happening. For me, it’s important to measure things, yes, and also acknowledge that not all things are measurable. This is more about accepting where we are at so that we can know where we are going.
13 Transparency/access to information
14 I’m not a big fan of secrets. Secrets can breed resentment and mistrust, and enhance a volatile political environment. Having access to information also allows people to feel equal, and when people feel equal they feel less compromised. When people feel less compromised, they are more inclined to collaborate.
15 Equality of participation
16 This overlaps some with the other two values. Are there things that are making it hard for people to feel heard or participate? Are those things political mechanisms? Other people? Policies? Personality clash? This is an acknowledgement that we’re all here for a reason, and bring something to the table, and each of us deserves to be heard.
17 === 4 ===
18 Openness - Kind of like how “free” does double duty in English, to me this is broader way to cover both transparency and open-mindedness. Being “open” means listening and being accepting of difference, whether thats different people, opinions, motivations, skill levels, and also accepting of difference over time.
19 Reliability - As the paid employees of the movement we have a duty to deliver on our plans and promises. This will increase trust, making it possible to collaborate more effectively and understand what donor money and contributor edits are actually going towards. This is a bit of a correction to historical over-promises to community and leadership failures to follow-through on plans and ambitions.
20 Professionalism - Again, as the paid employees of the movement we must be able to set personal agendas and feelings aside and accept the constraints placed on us by our unique and diverse contribution mechanisms. We need to get past everyone thinking they’re own individual choice of how to support the mission is what matters and be willing to work on common priorities. This also covers ensuring a civil and inclusive work environment, diminishing the role of interpersonal politics in our decision making. We have to get over the idea that non-profits are a “mess” or that it is okay to accept less than excellent work. Our contributors and the wonder they have created deserve it, and working at the WMF should always feel like a privilege that should be repaid with responsible effort.
21 === 5 ===
22 Diversity
23 We can't be everything, we can't do everything, we can't understand everything and we want to. In order to be able to do so we need to be as diverse as possible whether that be by language, by race, by sexuality, by country, by thoughts or by something else. Some of those are harder them others but all of them are possible.
24 This also means that we need help, not only should our staff ånd projects be diverse but even more important is that we welcome the diversity of opinions and engagement from the community. No matter how large the staff gets it will never be at the diversity of our community or the public at large and so even more important than staff diversity (not that it isn't important) is the ability to engage and ask for help and support both directly (asking) and indirectly (by sharing out both actively and passively and welcoming others to find flaws or ways to improve).
25 Humility
26 We are from the community and of the community and here as servants of them specifically and the public as a whole generally. We will often have more expertise, more knowledge or more skills but will also be blinded and out of touch. These are all consequences of being at our size and level and so to be watched but not necessarily seen as evil. We just have to remember why we're here and that we don't have all the answers even when we feel like we do.
27 Independence
28 We want to try new things, be able to explore and experiment and always be challenging ourselves while keeping in mind other values/goals.
29 We aren't part of a government, we fight back when we need to, we stand for freedom of speech and expression no matter where you are and are willing to fight to keep that. We don't let funders or governments control our goals or desires and we don't roll over when we get push back from them.
30 We strive for neutral content, that doesn't mean we (as an organization) our neutral. The core of our identity, Free, accessible, verifiable knowledge, is a political statement it's in own right and brings us (and our community) into direct conflict with the many in the world who would wish to limit that.
31 Notes:
32 Freedom - freedom is an essential component to what we are doing. Our capacity to act freely, independent funding, not partisan. And to what we produce. It must be free. Free to copy, modify, fork.
33 Diversity - our mission says we want to provide free knowledge to everyone. Everyone means everyone. In order to serve this diverse world, we need to be diverse ourselves. Each of us may think we are open minded and informed. But that doesn’t cut it. We need actual diversity, language, race, geography, sex….
34 Decentralization - a tool that embodied the paradigm. It’s not Britanica. This should be part of our DNA. The more we run away from decentralization the more we lose that core part of our identity. Orgs have forces for centralization, including the foundation, we need to resist that. It’s hard to have freedom and diversity if you are all concentrated in one place.
35 Is this a mechanism for longevity? There is a connection between values and faith, and I have faith in these values, but I have not thought all of this through, but yes.
36 I see it as a value for me, for the foundation, and the movement. Keep our budget flat and trusting more chapters. Struggling with legal problems, spread around the world. Ok to hire someone in Australia because it is good for the movement.
37 Let’s hire executives that are facilitators that let things happen around them.
39 Civility - I tried to think about the current values and guiding principles that play out in a radical way and it can create a toxic communication environment. It is normally about politeness, but I see it as being open to different perspectives, ones that are different than your own. It requires people to have a sense of the accountability for the impact for the things you say. Understanding the impact.
40 Diversity and Inclusion - the vision requires bringing in people to do the work with very different backgrounds. So it is embedded in the work. Different worldviews, different cultural perspectives, different devices. Yes you can bring different perspectives to the table, but people have to feel welcome when they get here. Sustainability, it’s a mission that doesn’t sit still. It’s about bringing more people to the table.
41 Collaboration - really having had a chance to communicate with a lot of people about how works get done. The nature of the projects requires people to collaborate. When people have a voice, they will be more engaged, they will be more productive. A passive observer about how things get done, is not really done here. Collaborating brings people together. If people start from that perspective, from working together.
42 Diversity is not just about now, but how we will keep the projects going. A resilience angle. The foundation needs to be able to adjust to new needs of new users. We need new life experiences.
43 Civility and openness? Assume good faith, the sense of not going on the defensive. It can take some time. It has to be practiced. It requires everyone to come to the table together. It’s not about deference or respect. It’s about being able to have that conversation rationally. I want to find a word that is neutral. So that it doesn’t presuppose deference. Like respect, you might not respect their position, but you have to be open to hearing the other side. It requires patience. Finding a sense of calmness and mindful. Recognizing hostile situations and people being committed to de-escalating situations.
44 What about the Foundation level? Are we civil or uncivil in the movement? It plays out on multiple levels: interpersonal, as an org, the relationships with the communities, creating space for open dialogue.
45 Civilness to partners. We have a track record for being stand-offish to other tech firms. We have been rude and have been uncivil. We had to rebuild. When some values or guiding principles can be used in radical ways. Patience, it’s going to take some time.
46 Mindfulness describes a lot of this to me. Inside the way you describe this requires a high level of awareness. When people feel threatened, need to create a proactive state, let’s step back. We all want to have positive communication. We have a value to lean on here. Are we feeling threatened? If there is an opening here. Listen to learn. Without feeling that you need to fundamentally change. Trying to discover and learn more.
48 The reason people want to measure is cause they are trying to figure out what the reality is. Sometimes they get in their own way. They think they measure and they think they know reality. Measurement for it’s own sake.
49 What is the measurement? Who decides what should be measured and why it matters? How do we decide the value of something? Who decides what matters. What does it really mean in the long run?
50 Is that why transparent was linked to this? Yes. Is honesty involved? Previously we’ve made assumptions, but we were not honest that we made those assumptions. Not honest with ourselves. We need to be honest with our assumptions. It goes back to some of the diversity issues. The risk of unconscious bias. If you are in a room with diverse people you can see it from so many different angles.
51 Equality, is there some of that in this “acknowledging reality”? It’s about acknowledging the plurality of objectivity.
52 How do we make decisions? I don’t know that I have a pithy retort? How do make decisions without acknowledging reality?
53 Transparency and access - I don’t like secrets. I think they breed mistrust. Providing access gives an opportunity for equality and when people feel equal, they feel less compromised and more willing to collaborate. A fulcrum for equality of many other kinds. If everyone can access it and use it in the same way, or similar ways, giving them access is very important.
54 Equality of participation - making it easy for people to be heard. We’re all here for the reason, we each deserve to be heard. All the amendments that were passed after the civil war. All the rights.
56 Free - libre and no cost. We can overload the word open too. We’re open and transparent, but also being open minded. Not being fixated. Adapt and change and grow.
57 Reliability - really focused on the foundation. We should do what the community can’t do. Fill in the gaps. To me that leads to a couple of values that are foundation specific. Basically, if you say you are going to do something… deliver. Don’t over promise or make no promises at all. The place where the foundation has struggled is in reliability. We get half done. Wandered out of it. That would make me not trust. Increasing our reliability to each other and stakeholders externally would help.
58 Professionalism - we are paid employees. That comes with some cost to us. We are not people who can do whatever we think is best. Or run our own agenda. If you want to do that, be a volunteer or start another organization. Deprioritizing to our own agendas and being willing to buy into a collective agenda. Just cause we’re a non profit doesn’t mean we can be a mess. Or such a small org. We need to flip these. It’s a privilege. Our expectations of each other should be very high. These are wonders of the world. They deserve the best professional staff. I wish we would get past this and hold ourselves to a higher professional standard.
60 These values, I like them. They are not obvious, but I am thankful because these are important. We have no one controlling us but ourselves. We need these values. We should up our norms relative to each other.
61 Professional doesn’t mean corporate. We can be professional without being corporate.
62 Is there a sense of owing it to the projects and communities? Is there an element of duty and service. Even with the apps, it’s because Wikipedia deserves to have amazing apps. People have put in intense labor to write this content. We should make a great product. Duty and responsibility is big for me.
64 Like when we posted our A/B tests for fundraising. The nonprofit world was a bit shocked. That’s the transparency bit. That’s wholly under diversity. The reason we are doing it is to get more involvement. More eyes. More perspectives. Being open to diversity everywhere. We can never get to where we want to go without asking for everyone’s help.
65 Humility - we are from the community, of the community. You are now if you joined the foundation. That’s important. We are servants. To the communities and to the public. We will often have more expertise and skills but can be blinded and out of touch. That is natural, we just have to be aware of it. Everybody here is really, really good at what they do. And doing it at a scale that is kind of obscene. Sizes that eclipse our own thoughts.  We will be blinded. We must be humble enough to realize that. The community may know better sometimes. Other orgs may know better sometimes. Humble ourselves to look elsewhere and see what we are missing.
66 Independence - try new things. Explore, experiment, challenge ourselves. Includes individual staff members to be able to try new things. We are not part of a government. We have no parent company. Willing to fight back. We stand up for free speech. We stand up for knowledge. Our existence is not neutral. Open content is a political statement. It can get you killed some places. This is a political statement. Some get tortured by their government for what they edit. We have values that we do stand for. We stand for those as independents. Many come from Western ideals, but not exclusively. We need to fight for it. If it’s the right thing. Whether you like the person on the other side or not.
67 The value of humility. It’s interesting talking about how the foundation, the community came before it. What that means in terms of humility and service. Curious: what you think is part of trust and safety, harassment, those types of things from the community. How does humility play a part in that in how we defend ourselves and peers.
68 I don’t think humility means deference. The reason we set up the Trust and Safety system was precisely because the community wasn’t able to handle that.
69 I think we should be open and decentralized and that we should have the foundation. A central body with other bodies. I think we need some gravitational pull even if other are equal partners. I’m not even 100% sure that’s against decentralization. I don’t mean deference with humility. Awe can also make you humble. It doesn’t mean you have no part to play, but you are facing this awesomely large vision on a huge scale.
70 Sometimes we lose that awe. It’s not bad to get slapped back down and realize we are not invincible.
71 Service, standing up and supporting. All of these struck me in all of your values. Humility is connected with service. Also for governance. You are more powerful if you do this with humility. You achieve it not because you are telling people, because you are listening and convincing. In the past we are taking the strong arm approach which brought quick results and then long struggles. If we had taken a more humble approach to governance, the final agreement would have arrived a lot sooner without the struggle.