Wikimania is well over, and now that everyone is slowly getting home, I'd
like to touch on a hallway discussion that was going on during Wikimania.
This was regarding the centralnotice banners advertizing a livestream of
Katherine's and Christophe's presentation of the draft direction for the
First a few quick facts:
The banners were on Fri 11 Aug shown for 1,5 hour in 'emergency mode' on
all English language projects (including Commons, meta) to all logged in,
anonimous and mobile visitors. The campaigns can be found here
for reference. The text in the banner was "Where will Wikipedia and
Wikimedia be in 2030? Find out LIVE from Montreal" with a link to a youtube
page with a stream <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gdr2F8aB9y0> .
I was quite taken by surprise with this, and taken aback. Here we were, the
Wikimedia community telling all these visitors of Wikipedia and other
projects that we are so important, that we should have them watch a
presentation of a first draft of a direction of a strategy that still needs
to be worked out. Not only was the text in the banner a bit misleading (I
didn't see much crystal bowl gazing - but rather a statement of where we
would like to go - but soit, I can overlook that), but it feels especially
pretentious to me. Maybe this is a cultural matter, and in other cultures
this kind of bragging (which is what it feels like to me) is normal.
I could have understood an advertizement of this and other sessions to our
logged in community members - that would actually have been a nice way of
engaging them in an expensive conference that we would like more online
audience to be part of. But only this session, and then all visitors of
Wikimedia projects? No, thanks.
Totally separate of the message displayed and whether we want to show it to
this kind of large audience, I was surprised that this link was pointing to
Youtube. This goes against our policies on Centralnotice
"Wikimedia Owned - Banners must link to Wikimedia controlled domains (owned
either by Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia affiliates or Wikimedia
Volunteers identified to the Wikimedia Foundation)." I guess there is a
very remote interpretation possible that the channel is owned by the
Wikimedia Foundation, and I did not see any indication that Youtube was
running ads on that particular channel.
I was unable to locate any community discussions or consultation about
this. Could someone at the WMF share where this was discussed prior to the
decision, and could they explain their reasoning? I'm not looking to blame
anyone for this - shit happens - but I would like to see some discussion on
what we want and dont want to do in this field, so that we can actually
learn from this exercise. I was told in (very rapid and somewhat unwilling)
hallway discussions that this was signed off by multiple layers of
management at the WMF, so I assume some documented reasoning and
consultation is available.