On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 3:00 PM, Kaarel Vaidla <kvaidla(a)wikimedia.org>
Dear Pine and Lodewijk,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feedback. I would like to comment
on some of your concerns in my role as the Process Architect.
The scope for all groups has been defined in quite a broad way, mainly to
keep the level of conversations high and mitigate the risk of too much time
being spent on details and tactical issues. For the Technology & Product
group for example, we think that there are more benefits in connecting them
than separating people with expertise and connections within both areas.
I concede that I know much less about MediaWiki than some of the engineers
who have been here for years, but I think that I know enough to say that
the scope of work for the Product and Technology group looks ambitious and
could be segmented into two or more WGs with more specific scopes that
could coordinate their work when necessary. Perhaps you could share, here
or on the talk page
your analysis that led you to conclude that a single working group is the
best way to go for the Product & Technology group. Also, please explain how
you anticipate that the group will sync its efforts with TechCom and the
Platform Evolution initiative, so as to avoid confusion and duplication of
effort. If someone like Victoria would like to comment here or on the talk
page, I'd be glad to hear their perspective. I think that it would be good
to get clarity on these issues early in the process.
We are indeed looking for high commitment in the Working Groups as we would
like the participants to be well informed and effective in the
conversations. Working Group members will not only be participating in
discussion meetings, but reading through existing materials, research and
preparing for the meetings. In addition to that, we expect some time to go
to contextualizing these materials and carrying the conversations from the
Working Groups into their “home” groups and communities – and vice versa.
This takes time and we want to be clear about it, as to avoid Working Group
dropout, burnout and ensure the presence of the diverse perspectives
throughout the process.
I am glad that you are being clear about your goals. However, I think that
they will limit the diversity of participants to people who think that they
will have lots of available volunteer time for nine months and/or are
willing to divert 5+ hours per week from other valuable volunteer
activities. I think that this goal is inadvisable for the sake of the
diversity of the WGs and also because of the potential diversion of
significant volunteer hours from other valuable activities.
For both volunteers and staff members it will mean prioritizing. That is
the reason we are encouraging discussions inside your communities, groups,
collaboratives and organizations to decide who are the best representatives
of your perspectives and expertise. For many organizations and groups, the
coming year will be a transition year, with time set aside for strategic
planning and a redistribution of responsibilities within the organization
or group. As to individuals - it is of course up to them to decide what
they can manage and not and what are the priorities in their contributions.
Unfortunately, at this point, I am not going to recommend that most people
participate in these WGs because I feel that the time commitment that you
are requesting is excessive. Of course, volunteers are free to make their
own choices, but volunteering for WGs is not a course of action that I am
likely to recommend to most people. I am not trying to undermine your good
intentions, but I think that you are requesting far too much and that you
would be more successful in encouraging diverse participation if your
requests for volunteers' time was more modest.
Thank you so much for the feedback targeted towards ensuring clarity around
the process and some of the specific points regarding participation in the
Again, I appreciate your clarifying your expectations, although I would
encourage you to revise them.
Also, please respond to my question about the budget for this phase of the
strategy process that I made in my previous email. I would hope that WMF
made a detailed budget for this phase of the strategy, and as with other
strategy documents I would hope that it would be published.