to WMF should remain nonpublic unless the user gives consent to the
contrary. The policy states that "We may share your information for a
particular purpose, if you agree." Otherwise emails are considered
personal information and their redistribution is restricted. See
So, please do not take the view that "Otherwise, we will consider them
public" if you do not hear back from someone who has contacted you.
The general practice in the community is that emails are considered private
"Private" doesn't mean absolutely private, for example it's common for
members of certain committees to circulate emails among themselves,
but those emails don't usually get forwarded outside of the group or
republished without opt-in permission from the sender. Similarly, WMF
may circulate emails internally.
User privacy is a big deal in this community. Perhaps you know more
announced plans are inconsistent with the current and draft policies.
Fortunately, that is easy to fix in this situation.
I am glad you have taken an interest in the experiences of new editors. (:
Date: Thu, 29 May 2014 11:22:21 -0800
From: Lila Tretikov <lila(a)wikimedia.org>
To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Edit #1 and Challenge #1
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
It'd be wonderful to be able to share these stories publicly in the future.
I'm going to reach out to those who have already shared their experiences
with me to confirm they're comfortable with sharing. If you're not
comfortable with sharing your story, or want to withhold your name, please
let me know in your email. Otherwise, we will consider them public, so we
can build on your experiences and share them widely!
Hi, Wil (and greetings to all my Wikimedian friends here!).
I've been catching up on the Wikimedia-L threads, and of course I've
come across your many postings and your engagement, sometimes tense,
with other posters here. I have some sympathy for your reactions and
questions: I've had some similar experiences myself, dating in
particular from the first year I served on WMF's staff as general
counsel. My own experience was colored by the fact that I knew my
intentions were good, I was reasonably certain I was a smart, even
sociable guy, and so why was it that some significant portion of what
I posted generated friction on what was supposed to be an inclusive,
Assume-Good-Faith mailing list?
I think I realized reasonably quickly that, precisely because I
assumed my own good faith, I wasn't always alert to my cultural
missteps, even though I knew at an intellectual level that this
mailing list, unlike some others, is a community. For a community,
when a new individual appears out of "nowhere" and begins to assert
himself or herself, and launches into extended criticisms of so many
things he (or she) encounters, the natural, human reaction is not to
automatically embrace the newcomer for his or her contributions to
diversity and insight, but instead to wonder, "Hey, why hasn't he made
the effort to learn about our history and traditions and norms and
expectations?" *This phenomenon is entirely human and normal*, but it
still sometimes requires a bit of a bumpy transition, even if you know
(intellectually, at least) to expect it.
So, what I'm suggesting is, when you respond by trying to call
attention to the friction your (comparatively) abrupt dive into this
community has generated for you, what you may be calling attention to
is not something pathological about a mailing list but instead just a
part of the human condition. If you're patient, you can take a breath
or two, maybe even a short break, and come back to the list and give
as much attention to the issues and problems for the Wikimedia
movement as you like, and over time get better reactions/reception.
My own experience was that, over time, most Wikimedians had a chance
to observe my commitment as a Wikimedian, and in my role as WMF's
lawyer, to protect and advance the projects with the same fierceness
with which I sometimes, particularly early on, expressed my opinions
on the mailing lists and on the wikis. No doubt the potential is there
for you to have the same experience.
There is one important, though, between your experience and mine, and
if I were in your position I would give it some thought. Specifically,
your partner is only ever going to have one first month, and only one
first year, as the new executive director of WMF. If I were in your
position, I would give her as much breathing space and community
mindshare as I could to create her own first impressions, to find her
own themes, and to set the tone for her long-term role as executive
director. I might even take a month off with regard to participating
in public discussions -- *even though I wouldn't have to, and even
though some of the reactions to what I'd written seem unfair to me* --
just to let my partner establish her own role without any distractions
I might cause. Lila's job is tough and challenging, and she will need
all the support she can get. You may find that one way you can support
her in the very near term is to step away from tense exchanges (or
maybe all public exchanges on the lists) for a while -- even though
you may feel, with some sense of righteousness, that you shouldn't
have to do this.
I agree that in an ideal world you shouldn't have to. But in the human
world we live in, if I were in your position, I'd give this approach a
month or so, just as an exercise, and as a way of showing support for
my partner's taking the reins of an unusually difficult, but also
culturally unique enterprise.
You haven't solicited my advice on any of this, of course. But I hope
you appreciate that you're hearing it from someone who himself has
been outspoken on the lists, who is sometimes critical of community
responses and norms, who has been publicly criticized from time to
time, but who also has found that it's really helpful, especially in
the earliest days of engagement with a new community, to listen as
much as talk. I think of myself as a Wikimedian, and my ongoing
engagement with the movement and the community is one of general
respect and regard, even when I disagree with their consensus, as I
I hope this note is taken in the spirit in which it is written.
Thanks for your attention.
Senior Legal Advisor, Global Internet Policy Project, Internews
General Counsel, Wikimedia Foundation, 2007-2010
thats great to read about the impact of the project. the idiegogo link
says it raised 3'370 out of 232'000, the wmf grant link states it
raised 3'000. why there is a difference?
i was also wondering that in the report your partner states: 20-30% of
the wikireaders could not hold any charge so 600 usd where used to
mail them back to the vendor. while the amazon site for selling the
devices says: the batteries last for a couple of months then need to
On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 5:49 PM, Victor Grigas <vgrigas(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
> My significant other applied for a grant and got 500 Wikireaders
> distributed to 3 schools:
> On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 10:31 AM, Fæ <faewik(a)gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 28 May 2014 15:04, Marc A. Pelletier <marc(a)uberbox.org> wrote:
>> > So that Wil's interest manifested around the time Lila was announced as
>> > the next ED seems to me to be perfectly natural, even if I have
>> > expressed serious concerns about *how* that interest was expressed.
>> > -- Marc
>> There is a big difference between your partner having an interest in
>> your organization, and going on to publish public complaints about the
>> staff that you have complete authority and responsibility for
>> I may be wrong, perhaps someone has some examples of where this worked
>> out well? The only examples from history and the political world I can
>> recall, did not.
>> faewik(a)gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> *Victor Grigas*
> Storyteller <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Knv6D6Thi0>
> Wikimedia Foundation
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=unsubscribe>
[Chaging subject line as (1) topic has moved on (2) need to ensure
visibility by rising above the Lila/ Wil never ending story frenzy.]
Do we have any figures on retention of new editors? How long does the
average new editor stay? What percentage of new editors stays on for 6
months; one year; two years? Do we have these figures for all languages?
New editors should be allowed space to grow. Wikipedia is so rich in
developing all kinds of scripts, templates etc, that it would be easy to
create something to inform others that someone is a new editor. Pages by
new editors should be left alone for a day or two. There is nothing more
disheartening than getting all excited about contributing only to find that
someone comes along and either deletes your first attempt or nominates it
for deletion. I've have seen this happen WITHIN MINUTES of the seminal
version being posted, followed up by 'warnings' on the editor's talk page.
I've seen edits reverted because the formatting of the source was wrong. It
should be a basic pillar that before reverting, we see if we can improve/
fix the problem. Undoing a newcomer's work and leaving something like
WP:MOS as an edit summary is not helpful - if you are going to cite a WP
policy, then do so by pointing directly to the specific page where the new
editor can read about it. I know it is time-consuming to fill in edit
summaries, especially if one is doing a series of identical edits to a
whole lot of pages. But we can use technology to speed this up - on a blank
edit summary, a prompt will suggest earlier text and you can select an
applicable one. On an edit summary with a reference to the section of the
page this does not work - so we need to find a way around this, like
splitting the field.
No amount of ink about how welcoming WP is to new editors, IT IS NOT. For
reference, this section has some interesting facts,
We are also losing established editors, mostly because of edit warring.
There are blocks coalescing around all kinds of themes and issues and these
defend their turf.
Pages that contain controversial details should display a specific notice -
not difficult to do, given the array of templates already in use. Some
pages are the result of a compromise reached after acrimonious debate. An
editor - old or new - who was not involved in discussions will not know
this and might make an edit that detonates the powder keg and starts the
war all over again. It would be so easy to display a notice on the EDIT
PAGE saying something like "Hi, if you were planning to edit .....[ x
detail] ... please read (link) the discussion and resolution on this. I am
pretty convinced it would work far better than having thousands of pages
locked ([semi-]protected). Some pages just require a simple message on the
EDIT PAGE such as (example) "In the English Wikipedia we use the spelling
*Braganza* and not *Bragança* when referring to the House of Braganza.
Please do not change this.". There are 1,300 pages where Braganza is
mentioned, imagine how many headaches we could spare ourselves.
Some editors seem to derive pleasure from the constant reverting/
protecting - you soon get to know who the 'group' is and can read on their
talk pages comments and jokes about a "here we go again" scenario. It is as
if they actually lie in wait for the next unwary editor to come along and
make a change.
At the same time, there are hundreds of thousands of pages that do not meet
20% of the quality criteria and nobody does anything to remedy them. Yet,
do something like move the page, change the infobox and immediately the
'owners' come out of the woodwork to revert.
Someone cited Ukranian in this thread and I would like to pick up on that.
There is a tendency at the higher levels to equate Wikipedia with the
English Wikipedia and all else are something else. This includes the level
of involvement by the Foundation etc in the non-English Wikipedias, often
with the justification (excuse?) that each is independent. And of course
each language WP will use this independence to its advantage when
convenient, as a reason why this or that is being done differently. In the
same breath, content that is specifically marked as referring to the En-WP
is then regurgitated as if it reflects the whole WP, as here, in the
Independence is well and good, but not when for example the Portuguese WP
votes/ debates/ discusses/ relaxing sourcing policies. If WP is to be
judged on its reliability then on a number of key elements it must be held
to one standard with criteria that apply across the board. We can't have
different standards on reliability of sources, notibality, etc.
To shrug it off as an issue of the Portuguese WP is to bury our heads in
the sand, to shirk responsibility, because such issues are symptomatic of
the problems facing the WP as a whole and contributing to the reasons that
make editors pack up and go.
Also from Portuguese WP, it is embarassing that since 2009 there have been
all kinds of processes to arrive at a solution for what to call pages on
animals and plants - eg: cattle/ bull/ ox/ cow/ bos ... By the looks of it,
[[Cattle]] in the English WP has been locked for years for the same reason.
This kind of thing snowballs and then other aspects come into play,
overflow and contaminate other areas of the WP as if by contagion.
James, from the link you provided, I see a reference to bias. We all have
our 'usual beats' but we all also edit anywhere where we might happen to
find something wrong. In doing that, you soon find out that just about each
page has 'owners', usually 3 or 4 and these work as a team to preserve
their way of seeing it. Very worrying is that a lot of this happens on
pages on big corporations, which raises the spectre of the possibility
(already proven) of 'editors' working for money. Equally nefarious, I have
noted a group of editos (5 or 6, plus socks [some exposed, others
suspected] and countless IP accounts) who are active on a few hundred pages
deleting/ sanitising negative references to CIA/ US (and 'allies')
involvement in right-wing coups all over the world and generally anything
unsavoury about the US in all pages on conflicts in which the US has taken
In my experience, resolution mechanims for situations such as any that fit
any of the cases above tend to favour the status quo. I have investigates
some of these cases and it is quite apparent that in many cases the 'admin'
taking a decision is also part of group that is trying to defend a certain
point of view.
Finally, I think it is time to think seriously and hard about anonymous
(IP) editing. We can all be anonymous, so with a username you are not less
so. I do believe that IPs who make a few edits here and there, often
unconstructive, would stop if they were not serious and do not want to
bother registering. Conversely, one you register, it is as if you become
officially a member. It is unlikely that one would bother registering and
then engage in vandalism and unconstructive editing.
2014-05-29 10:06 GMT+02:00 James Salsman <jsalsman(a)gmail.com>:
> Lila Tretikov wrote:
>> > Allocation should follow strategic priorities and it
>> > is the strategy that helps answer this question.
>> On this point, it should be enormously helpful to point out that the
>> only strategic goal which the Foundation has ever failed to achieve,
>> and has consistently failed to achieve, is this one:
>> That specific strategic priority of increasing participation is the
>> focus of the sixteen proposed additional strategic goals below. Some
>> people have substantial objections to some of them, but I'm not clear
>> on the details. Nobody has suggested any reason that Foundation goals
>> would not benefit from at least an attempt at alignment to volunteer
>> contributing editor preferences on these issues.
>> But what have I forgotten? What have I left out? If I could only get
>> one suggestion for every two people who take issue with specific
>> things already on the list, I would feel a lot more comfortable and
>> confident that there isn't anything being forgotten.
>> >... On a more operational scale, resources tend go
>> > to where the users are or where the opportunity is.
>> > When they go to opportunity, it is towards verifying
>> > hypothesis that it would yield results.
>> I agree with measuring what is likely to work best, but for some of
>> these proposals, including some of the lowest hanging fruit, that is
>> very hard. So again, I recommend depending on the wisdom of
>> contributing editors. To that end, an editor survey is something which
>> really needs to be done to prep for this. I trust the Board and Staff
>> to be able to veto things which are unworkable and reach through to
>> the opportunities in an agile fashion. What I don't understand are the
>> few who suggest that the Foundation should not be more active on
>> trying to improve the lot in life of potential volunteer editors. How
>> can that possibly be part of a strategy to increase participation?
>> 1. Labor rights, e.g., linking to fixmyjob.com
>> 2. Support the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the
>> Child and its protocols without reservation
>> 3. Increase infrastructure spending
>> 4. Increase education spending
>> 5. Public school class size reduction
>> 6. College subsidy with income-based repayment terms
>> 7. More steeply progressive taxation
>> 8. Negative interest on excess reserves
>> 9. Telecommuting
>> 10. Workweek length reduction
>> 11. Single-payer health care
>> 12. Renewable power purchase
>> 13. Increased data center hardware power efficiency
>> 14. Increased security against eavesdropping
>> 15. Metropolitan broadband
>> 16. Oppose monopolization of software, communications, publishing, and
>> finance industries
>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
Advocacy, Human Rights, Media and Language Work Consultant
Bridge to Angola - Angola Liaison Consultant
Mobile Number in South Africa +27 74 425 4186
Número de Telemóvel na África do Sul +27 74 425 4186
Hello everyone (with apologies for cross-posting),
tl:dr -* Wikimedia UK <https://wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/Main_Page> and Demos
<http://www.demos.co.uk/> are encouraging Wikimedians to participate in an
attempt to crowdsource a submission to a call for evidence on digital
democracy from the Speaker of the House of Commons. You can find the
consultation page here
we look forward to hearing from you.*
The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has established a Commission
on Digital Democracy
It will report to Parliament in early 2015 with recommendations on how
Parliament can use technology to better represent and engage with the
electorate, make laws and hold the powerful to account. As part of their
work, the Commission have issued a series of calls for evidence. These are
open invitations for members of the public, either as individuals or
groups, to submit responses to a series of questions. They have attracted
responses from unions, academics, non-governmental institutions and private
individuals. The first theme was ‘making laws in a digital age’, and the
second on ‘digital scrutiny’. The Commission plans to shortly publish the
final three themes.
There is a growing sense that the growth of the Internet has not paid the
democratic dividends that it could. Turnout in formal political elections
is steadily decreasing, and trust and support in the institutions and
offices of mainstream political life are low and falling. Despite many
innovative attempts from both within and outside of Government, the daily
reality of democratic engagement for most people in the UK would be
familiar to generations of British citizens who predate Facebook or email.
The rise of the Internet has, broadly, done little to challenge
concentrations of power or structures of unequal representation
Demos <http://www.demos.co.uk/> is one of Britain’s leading cross-party
think tank and it has an overarching mission to bring politics closer to
people. They contacted Wikimedia UK to propose an experiment: can an online
community be used to source a response to this call? Can the ethos,
community and technology like that of Wikipedia be used to engage
Wikipedians to come together and collaborate to create a reply? In
particular, Carl Miller, Research Director of the Demos Centre for the
Analysis of Social Media, wrote this piece for Wired
<http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-05/22/digital-democracy> in which
he describes Wikipedia as a masterclass in digital democracy.
This conversation has led to what is an experimental attempt to do just
that. In theory there are many lessons that any attempt to increase
engagement with digital democracy can learn from Wikimedia projects,
especially Wikipedia. These include the participatory nature of content
development and the nature of content (and policy) being arrived at by
consensus. Wikipedians are from a wide array of backgrounds and represent a
broad spectrum of views. This could lend itself to effective drafting of
the kind of evidence that the Speaker is looking for. Wikimedia UK and
Demos would like to establish whether this is indeed the case. In
particular, we are seeking answers to the following questions:
How can technology help Parliament and other agencies to scrutinise the
work of government?
How can technology help citizens scrutinise the Government and the work
What kinds of data should Parliament and Government release to the
public to make itself more open to outside scrutiny?
Everyone is encouraged to try to answer these questions collaboratively, in
much the same way Wikipedia articles are approached - using the space below
for content and talk page for discussion. Stevie Benton from Wikimedia UK
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Stevie_Benton_(WMUK)> and Carl Miller
from Demos will happily answer any questions on the talk page but are
equally happy to let the process take its course.
At this point there is no fixed deadline for evidence on the theme of
digital scrutiny. However, the Speaker’s Commission will be publishing
publishing a single call for evidence covering our last three themes (yet
to be announced). The conversation and crowdsourced evidence will be
reviewed at the end of June with a view to either continuing the process or
submitting as is. If there is appetite among the community, and if the
first attempt is successful, there may be further attempts to develop
submissions to the later three themes.
At the end of the process Demos and Wikimedia UK will prepare a report on
the process and the effectiveness of this kind of approach to crowdsourcing
policy and evidence. This paper will be released under an open licence. It
is a real opportunity for Wikimedians to influence the debate about digital
democracy and both Wikimedia UK and Demos thank you for engaging with this
You can find the consultation page here
we look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks and regards,
Head of External Relations
+44 (0) 20 7065 0993 / +44 (0) 7803 505 173
Wikimedia UK is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England
and Wales, Registered No. 6741827. Registered Charity No.1144513.
Registered Office 4th Floor, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street,
London EC2A 4LT. United Kingdom. Wikimedia UK is the UK chapter of a
global Wikimedia movement. The Wikimedia projects are run by the
Wikimedia Foundation (who operate Wikipedia, amongst other projects).
*Wikimedia UK is an independent non-profit charity with no legal
control over Wikipedia nor responsibility for its contents.*
Lila Tretikov wrote:
> Allocation should follow strategic priorities and it
> is the strategy that helps answer this question.
On this point, it should be enormously helpful to point out that the
only strategic goal which the Foundation has ever failed to achieve,
and has consistently failed to achieve, is this one:
That specific strategic priority of increasing participation is the
focus of the sixteen proposed additional strategic goals below. Some
people have substantial objections to some of them, but I'm not clear
on the details. Nobody has suggested any reason that Foundation goals
would not benefit from at least an attempt at alignment to volunteer
contributing editor preferences on these issues.
But what have I forgotten? What have I left out? If I could only get
one suggestion for every two people who take issue with specific
things already on the list, I would feel a lot more comfortable and
confident that there isn't anything being forgotten.
>... On a more operational scale, resources tend go
> to where the users are or where the opportunity is.
> When they go to opportunity, it is towards verifying
> hypothesis that it would yield results.
I agree with measuring what is likely to work best, but for some of
these proposals, including some of the lowest hanging fruit, that is
very hard. So again, I recommend depending on the wisdom of
contributing editors. To that end, an editor survey is something which
really needs to be done to prep for this. I trust the Board and Staff
to be able to veto things which are unworkable and reach through to
the opportunities in an agile fashion. What I don't understand are the
few who suggest that the Foundation should not be more active on
trying to improve the lot in life of potential volunteer editors. How
can that possibly be part of a strategy to increase participation?
1. Labor rights, e.g., linking to fixmyjob.com
2. Support the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the
Child and its protocols without reservation
3. Increase infrastructure spending
4. Increase education spending
5. Public school class size reduction
6. College subsidy with income-based repayment terms
7. More steeply progressive taxation
8. Negative interest on excess reserves
10. Workweek length reduction
11. Single-payer health care
12. Renewable power purchase
13. Increased data center hardware power efficiency
14. Increased security against eavesdropping
15. Metropolitan broadband
16. Oppose monopolization of software, communications, publishing, and
I wanted to give you an update on my first three weeks of Wikimedia
immersion -- this will also go on the blog. As you probably noticed, my
leadership approach is rooted in observation and focused discussions --
this means I watch and listen more than I talk. But I expect that you are
probably curious about what I have observed and learned so far, and to know
a little more about who I am.
I believe the most precious commodity in life is time. I seek challenges
worthy of it. I do not work for a job, I work for impact and I chose this
role above all others because I believe this is a critical moment for the
future of our movement.
I also believe no one person can be good at everything, myself included, so
I build great teams of people with complementary strengths. This means that
I believe that best decisions come informed by a range of views, and that I
respect a wide plurality of opinions. It also means that I choose to
surround myself with people who are strong, which often requires
How have I spent my first three weeks at the WMF:
Reading and watching: wikis, lists, talk pages, annual plans, reports,
videos, emails and videos
Dozens of 1:1s with staff, board, and community members
Attending the Zurich hackathon
Participating in the recent Board meeting
Deep-dive into product roadmap and data analytics
Four days of deep-dive and knowledge transfer with Sue
IRC office hours, writing my first blog, and engaging on my talk page
Training to be an even more effective communicator for the media
Review of on-going product initiatives: mobile, Flow, and VE
What I found to be challenging:
The extensive documentation, which provides plenty of context, but makes
it hard to find distilled essences of historical decisions quickly.
The complexity of the community, roles, differences in points of view
What is coming:
A deep-dive into a few selected projects that are already in the works,
to understand where they are currently, what the expected outcomes are, and
how we measure success;
A retreat with the c-level leadership to align our work, and identify
and address immediate Foundation priorities; and
Starting the process for our next strategic planning exercise, which
will be different from last time, and focused on improving our ability to
react quickly and adjust as necessary to opportunities and challenges.
These are the things I’ve been working on -- but I know that there’s a lot
more that you as community members have to offer, and much more that I can
learn. Here’s just a few of the things I’m looking forward to from you:
Engaging with the strategic planning process;
Continuing to provide feedback and on beta features, products, and
ongoing projects and initiatives to help make them better, more useful, and
lead to more successful outcomes;
Help drive decision-making and consensus across the community through
your individual leadership;
Your recommendations on areas you see as priorities for development
(while keeping in mind that not everything can be a priority at once!); and
Your recommendations on community and WMF decision-making processes,
while keeping in mind that no process is ever perfect but there is always
room for improvement.
The past three weeks have made one thing very clear: it’s because of the
energy and labor of each of you that we’re all here. On May 1st, I said
that this was big in every way. The last three weeks have reinforced this
for me: we have a huge mission, incredible opportunity, a vast number of
users, and a strong unique community. I look forward to facing challenges
together, having honest discussions, and coming together to seize
opportunities in front of us. There will be much for us to learn from each
other as we work together, and even more to do!