Sigh. This is a difficult situation. I don't think anyone has suggested that firing Gayle or Philippe should happen. However, I have concerns about keeping Gayle in the Chief Talent and Culture Officer position. I directed that concern to her and I want to hear what she thinks. There may be good reasons to keep her in that position, on the other hand it might be better if she had some time to learn in a WMF position for which she's a better fit at the moment. At a top 5 website I think the performance expectations for C-level positions are high with good reason. I have significant concerns when someone with many years of leadership development experience makes the kind of mistakes that she appears to have made, especially when that person is the C-level officer that is supposed to be the subject matter expert in that area for all of WMF and that person is heavily involved in selecting the next ED. My experiences with Gayle prior to this one were positive and I've heard good things about her from others, but this situation should be examined with great care.
I currently hope that Gayle stays with WMF, but perhaps in a different position for awhile with the option of returning to the C-level some distance in the future. I want to hear what Gayle thinks. My views at this point are based on the incomplete information that's publicly available, and there are important unanswered questions in this situation. I hope we learn more from Gayle.
I know that the easy thing to do is to drop this issue and move on to the next problem, but I agree with Thomasz that easy thing to do isn't necessarily the best thing to do. Sometimes the best things and the right things involve asking hard questions and having difficult conversations.
I think it's probably tough on a lot of us to
read and participate in this discussion. On-wiki discussions about whether people should be de-adminned or blocked
are often public, and while I think it's appropriate that we have this
difficult conversation in public since the actions that started this
situation were public, this is an awfully difficult situation and I'm sorry that we're all in it. We need to deal with it as best we can. I wish it was easy.
> Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 20:33:57 +0200
> From: "Federico Leva (Nemo)" <nemowiki(a)gmail.com>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
> Cc: Gayle Karen Young <gyoung(a)wikimedia.org>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Thoughts on Admin Rights on WMF Wiki (and
> other things)
> Message-ID: <519E6115.401(a)gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed
> Just in case someone wonders,
> Gayle Karen Young, 23/05/2013 06:22:
> > [...] goal was to ensure that the function of a wiki
> > adminstrator, which is often identified with community self-governance, is
> > clearly mapped against the governance model of the site: [...] [...]
> doesn't answers the questions on the table at all. Especially as "the
> governance model of the site" doesn't exist at all and nobody has any
> idea of who is going to take care of it.
> Or in other words:
> Tomasz W. Kozlowski, 13/05/2013 02:04:
> > Gayle Karen Young wrote:
> >> Hello folks,
> > [...]
> >> Gayle
> > So what did you want to say? I haven't been able to find any answers to
> > any questions that have been asked by so many people in this thread.
> So, to quote yourself, you committed criticism and now you're insisting
> with stonewalling, with a flavour of defensiveness. I admit that my
> knowledge of Gottman is limited to a recent magazine article I read by
> chance a few days ago, so I may be wrong, but it seems to me that
> there's little room to do worse in this relationship.
Nemo, I think someone posted a list of good questions in this thread awhile
back. I tried to find them but I gave up after ten minutes. If you can find them
would you please repost them? If you can't find them either then I'd ask you
to repeat the questions that you remember and think are most important.
Gayle, I am going to be frank. I think I know a little more about you and
your work than the average member of this list does. I appreciate your
explanations and apologies, but I'm continuing to have a hard time with
this situation. With your many years of leadership experience, and in your
position as Chief Culture and Talent Officer, it's shocking that you would
implement such a significant change in the unprofessional way that you did,
and of all people I would have expected you and Philippe (Director of
Community Advocacy) to be acutely aware of our consensus-based culture
and how to implement changes in a diplomatic and professional way. This
situation has been a disaster for WMF-Community relations, and I'm sorry
to say that my feeling is that the credibility of you and Philippe has been
harmed beyond repair. Do you think you should continue to be WMF's
Chief Culture and Talent Officer? I have a hard time believing that you
should continue in that role after this disaster, but I want to hear your
point of view.
Kul Wadhwa wrote:
> Microsoft with other partners has also been working on bringing broadband
> to Kenya (and ultimately other African countries) via white spaces....
> However, every party has their own agenda so hopefully competition lowers
> prices and gives people more choices. And having many entities working to
> get people internet access (esp those that really need it) is what we need
> to see more of...
Kul, the FCC has been performing successful IEEE 802.16 WiMAX/MeFi
whitespaces tests in at least three metropolitan areas since 2006. However,
these pilots are actively opposed by carriers who lobby the FCC, states and
municipalities, the FTC, and even hardware manufactures trying to stave off
adoption because as soon as the correct approvals get rubber stamped,
municipalities will be able to offer telephony services in competition with
the mobile carriers.
Would you please create an advocacy RFC about this?
Perhaps of interest to many Wikimedians: the Endangered Languages project
recently launched a new layout, making it easier to find and submit
information on languages that are in the "catalog of endangered languages"
that they are building. Worth a look.
* I use this address for lists; send personal messages to phoebe.ayers <at>
Please join me in welcoming our new Wikimedia-l list
administrator/moderator, Richard Ames. Richard is a retired electronics
technician and computer scientist living in Sydney, Australia. He started
using the 'Internet' in 1981 to read USENET FAQs and communicate by email.
He has been a Wikipedia editor since 2004 as User:Ariconte. He is a member
of the FDC advisory group.
I will remain on as administrator/moderator for a short transition period.
What: Internationalization bug triage
Date: May 29, 2013
Time: 1700-1800 UTC, 1000-1100 PDT (Timezone conversion: http://hexm.de/r0)
Channel: #mediawiki-i18n (Freenode)
Questions can be sent to: runa at wikimedia dot org
The Language Engineering team would like to invite everyone for the
upcoming bug triage session on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 1700 UTC
(1000 PDT). During this 1 hour session we will be using the etherpad
listed above to collaborate. We have already listed some bugs, but
please feel free to add more bugs, comments and any other related
issues that you’d like to see addressed during the session. You can
send questions directly to me on email or IRC (nick: arrbee). Please
see above for event details.
Language Engineering - Outreach and QA Coordinator
I felt like Sue did a nice job earlier of responding in an earlier thread
but here’s my response as well. Wikimedia Foundation wiki has always been
uniquely governed among the family of Wikimedia wikis, with decision-making
authority historically placed with the WMF itself due to its purpose
(hosting of official documents like bylaws, IRS tax returns, Board
resolutions, staff listings, official WMF communications of various kinds,
etc.). While the Board was described as the decision-making authority for
content disputes before the organization had paid staff, in day-to-day
practice, staff members are now helping to maintain and post many of those
Consistent with this, my goal was to ensure that the function of a wiki
adminstrator, which is often identified with community self-governance, is
clearly mapped against the governance model of the site: the organization,
with that function delegated to staff members in day-to-day practice, is
directly responsible for making and arbitrating decisions on the Wikimedia
Foundation’s website. This does not preclude volunteers from being granted
administrative-level access where a project requires it and where we have a
good working relationship that makes this possible. However, I wanted to
create clarity as early and possible, and therefore requested that
administrator accounts initially be limited to staff. I think it's a
reasonable criteria that in addition to having a project reason, being able
to work with Foundation staff in a collaborative manner should be a part of
that - and it does take two to tango (i.e. the Foundation should be as
responsible for being collaborative).
Clearly I did this in a manner which was needlessly abrupt and didn’t
acknowledge the key role that many volunteers have played in the WMF wiki
over the years - so I’ll say that this has been a hell of a learning
experience, and one I’ve actually appreciated, as rough as it’s felt. For
this, I have apologized both on the list and to the individuals affected.
The overall change does reflect, in the Wikimedia Foundation’s view, a
necessary clarification in how the contents of the Wikimedia Foundation
site (wikimediafoundation.org) are governed and how decisions are made or
abitrated. I know this will disappoint some of you, but I also want to say
that I’m not planning to reverse this decision.
I’m also wondering what’s necessary to create better interactions and more
visibility with one another, which is one of the foundations of trust. I’m
not so active on this mailing list, so you don’t know me and I don’t know a
lot of you. My personal experience is that it helps to have a sense of who
people are to really be able to assume good intent, so I’d like to also
start a different conversation if y’all are game in the next few weeks.
(Someone wrote me recently in light of this that I must be either stupid or
malicious, which I thought was sort of funny, but it highlighted for me
that without more visibility into me and what I do, you really could think
either of me - or both.)
John Gottman <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gottman>, in his research
on healthy relationships, talks about the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse of
relationships - elements that contribute negatively to every relationship.
They are criticism, stonewalling, disdain, and contempt. These are
elements that I aspire to eliminate in my correspondence with all of you,
and that when I experience them aimed at me, erode my ability to be
collaborative with y’all and I’d like to work on that. I realize I
committed the first error in the last round, so I have some ground to cover.
Negative interactions (mine included) “weigh” more than positive
interactions. People remember them more, and are affected by them more
deeply. Gottman, in marriage relationships, says you need a 5:1 ratio of
positive to negative interactions for healthy relationships. I think that's
true in many kinds of relationships for them to be healthy, thriving
He also mentions that having a sense of what matters to other parties in a
conflict matters, so I wonder, do we have a sense of who each other is and
what we care for?
In the hope that it helps you to get to know me a little, I’d like to share
a few things about who I am and also extend the invitation that I’d love to
know these about any of you who care to respond.
Most of my early world was on-line as a really awkward geek kid. I spent
time on BBSes over modems growing up, so most of the way I knew my friends
was through text, later playing an admin role on a few MUSHes. I have a lot
of interest areas - I sing, I played LARPs, I love Star Trek and Broadway
musicals, write fanfiction, am an avid reader, and love travel. In my spare
time, I run an organization called Spark <http://www.sparksf.org>that works
on global women’s human rights issues. My core commitment is to technology
as a frontier for human rights work, because access to free knowledge is
fundamental for social change. I am in awe of what Wikipedians have built.
Last week, I was at a human rights conference. I learned things that scared
me and met a ton of people who inspired me. For instance, I talked to a
woman named Hannah Song of the organization Liberty in North Korea
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_in_North_Korea> about how to sneak
Wikipedia and other media into North Korea. The North Korean government
retaliates against three generations of a family if one person speaks out
against their government. Things like that in our world are not okay with
I’ve been doing leadership development work for 15 years, out of a
conviction that the world needs more conscious leaders. (I’m not unaware of
the irony of my own lack of consciousness over pulling the trigger on
something on my to-do list right before I went somewhere. Definitely a
comical wake-up call to re-examine my own behavior with some hubris.)
Here are a couple things that are up for me around Foundation work this
week, related to what I see as my core role of caring for people’s well
being. Yesterday, we launched the “Aliens” group here at the Foundation
last night. I’m very amused that they called themselves that. The purpose
of the group is to help people we bring in from different parts of the
world who have chosen to relocate to SF figure out how to live in the
United States, and understand the arcane systems we have like health
insurance and how credit scores in America works, and for them to share
experiences with one another. We’re deep in improving our annual review
process, so I wonder a lot about how to help people get the right feedback
to help them improve in how we do things. A big thing that I’m taking very
seriously is the ED transition - it matters to me that we have someone who
can help us be even better, who gets the movement and its values, and who
can navigate one of the most complex operating environments I’ve ever seen
in all my years of leadership.
So those are some things about me. I’d love to learn more about you.
Gayle Karen K. Young
Chief Talent and Culture Officer