Thanks for your observations.
Andreas - I really wish these were my personal observations and reality is better. It is not.
Many (if not majority) of HR Wikipedia editors who look at this have noticed that we were not approached in any way ahead, during or after the research (literally we do not know if anyone was interviewed by the researcher as claimed, as not one person confirmed this still). This is fairly disappointing and hard to imagine why.
Whoever thinks that fixing content of smaller Wikipedias is enough, without fixing the relations, resources and establishing good practices of community, is likely just focused on dodging bad PR and would not care for the Wikimedia as a whole in its full complexity.
How do you feel things are developing in the Croatian Wikipedia now?
I think very very slowly moving forward. Considering the burnouts in the past decade, exhausting work in 2020, distrust atmosphere among current contributors and lack of capacities in the community, I am not too surprised. Year ago I had a short chat with Asaf about possibilities for capacity development in HR and sadly WMF just opted then for a more specialized online training courses as a focus, so I do not expect this will change much or quickly on WMF side...
My hopes and focus is now with CEE HUB, individual and informal efforts, but it is an uphill (technocratic) struggle to get support for too many things.
What has (or hasn't) happened since the report was published?
There was no quality discussion of collaborating across projects.
There was no influx of new users to HR. Few of us make very strong efforts right now.
There was also no return of expert users that burned out in the past decade. Maybe they await an official apology or something more specific from Wikimedia as a reassurance that this will not happen again and technocratic excuses for passivity will never be the norm? I was not part of this generation - just guessing.
There was no follow up step by WMF to explain what, why and how to maybe act in future in regards to HR.
Maybe we really were just a case study of 'capture' situation...lets see if the new CEO is more eager to de-center focus and hopefully resources, as well as to work with and for new generations (and other axes of difference) of potential Wikimedia contributors.
Best, Z. Blace
On Wed, Sep 15, 2021 at 11:26 AM Željko Blaće <email@example.com
Community “capture” is a real and present threat. For years, the movement has been widely aware of challenges in the Croatian Wikipedia, with documentation going back nearly a decade. The Foundation recently set up a disinformation team, which is still finding its footing and assessing the problem, but which began by contracting an external researcher to review that project and the challenges and help us understand potential causes and solutions for such situations.
Dear Maggie - thank you for writing this, but I fear it can be wrongly interpreted *(already did to a few people who got in touch) as it was worded in a non/explicit way. I would like to point that:
#1 both WMF and Wikimedians were aware of issues with HR Wikipedia and nothing has been done for a decade, aside from handful last year to remove 4 of right-wing admins*(Wiktionary and Wikisource, are still with rightwing admin control)...
WMF actions are sadly post-festum and with a very limited scope.
#2 HR was not abducted by some well organized and resourced entity, but by handful of extreme rightwingers (one unmerried couple + their closest neo-nazi friend and 3 submissive mediocrats...including 40+ proven but likely 60+ sock puppets) with silent and passive conservative 'center' majority of woters.
#3 an external researcher contractor was not really reviewing the full project, but mainly content *(very little on social dynamics and capacities) and in doing so failed to understand the challenges of under-resourced and asocial 'community'... This is why solutions suggested in findings included impossible language and project merges, rather than anything that would enable self-governance, expansion of the pool of contributors and sustainable and ambitious work *(like in Serbia for example).
Hope with these distinctions it is more obvious the difference between the two and if /how/when/where the learning is applicable or not...
Thank you for your professional work.
Best Z. Blace
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