On 2 Mar 2016, at 5:24 AM, Kevin Smith
You can tell me the scope was intended to be only
for Wikimedia projects,
but that isn't what is said in that grant application. That document as it
stands literally states that it is to be an Internet search engine. No, I
correct myself. It says it is to be THE Internet's search engine.
Clearly there are still aspirations to include non-Wikimedia projects in
the search results. I can't speak for the board, or c-levels. But I can say
that in my work with the Discovery team, we have not been asked to, and
have not had even rough plans to, search non-free information sources.
It’s not even the wrong thing to do :-) Thank you for clarifying this though.
So when you say than there is confusion between
the internal presentation
and the official external grant application, I must respectfully disagree
with you. There is no such confusion. The two parts of the application I
have quoted cover almost a third of the grant application and I'd argue are
the key parts of the application.
I would argue that the deliverables are THE key part of the application,
but I freely admit that you are correct that the other parts matter. And
are somewhat disturbing.
That’s a fair perspective for those actually doing the important work of making sure the
grant is fulfilled. The deliverables are extremely important, but from my POV, the
deliverables for the “discovery” phase inform the rest of the project, which is where the
rubber hits the road. The deliverables ask to set the core and usage and performance
metrics, which must be determined from the overall overall grant objective. User research
and testing, similarly, can’t just be executed but the study and testing has to be
designed and scoped, which again has to come from the overall grant objective, which is
what I highlighted earlier.
There has been some handwaving going on from a variety of different parties
that "oh, it's just a Grant application,
these things are very high level
and vague, it doesn't really matter what we write in it lets just put the
broadest possible objectives and vision for this thing and we'll deal the
scope later on after we've been given the grant money".
Others may not think this is not a concern. I do though, and I'm very
concerned that we are making grant applications and not really disclosing
our full intentions, and we are not making it clear what are the
corresponding scope limitations. Before someone objects, it's even worse
when I have asked about the first challenge that could threaten the project
and the response  is, in part:
Most of us on the Discovery team share your concerns about how this grant
was conceived, pitched, received, and (not) publicized. Most of the team
didn't see the grant until you did.
I feel need to tell those on the Discovery team who may think that my questions seem to be
denigrating those on the team - I’m sorry if in any way I’ve written something that could
give you a perception that I don’t believe in the worth of what you are doing. I want to
put my hand up and take responsibility for it, because it’s absolutely not the case. My
issues are literally with the Board of Trustees and the way they went about getting that
grant, and set (or rather, didn’t set) effective and clearly-communicated strategy.
Shortly after I sent that last email, I reread the Discovery FAQ again to see if I’d
missed anything. And I realised that I had missed that there was a portal and a whole
bunch of material already prepared by folks in that team. I mean, there is a gerrit
reviewer hooked into the version control system and everything, so it’s all being done in
the open, exactly in the way that I’ve been rabbiting on about in a number of emails. I
can see that Chris Koerner has attempted to ensure that all the material has been
communicated and centralised on the team’s Wiki, the team’s goals are tracking very nicely
 Oliver did a study which I was going to go back to read but for the life of me I can’t
find it… the portal is up and running  and I can see that the team have been continuing
to hold their meetings and publish their minutes in a very open and accessible manner.
So I’d like to not only apologise if I’ve offended or upset anyone in the Discovery team.
That was never my intent. Actually, now that I’ve found how to view the work you are
doing, I’m actually very impressed!
My only feedback is that information is *really* scattered. I’m finding it hard to follow
what is going on, not that this should be a concern as I’m not doing the work. It might be
nice to have a slightly reorganized page for this project so we can see what is being
done. I’d love to see blog posts from the team showing off their work. It really helps to
get to grips with what is going on.
Anyway, it’s heartening to see that the Discovery team is getting on with it, even through
all this turmoil.