On Tue, Jun 8, 2010 at 6:55 PM, Aryeh Gregor
2) Make sure that every paid developer spends time
dealing with the
community. This can include giving support to end users, discussing
things with volunteers, reviewing patches, etc. They should be doing
this on paid time, and they should be discussing their personal
opinions without consulting with anyone else (i.e., not summarizing
official positions). Paid developers and volunteers have to get to
know each other and have to be able to discuss MediaWiki together.
The basic attitude has to be that paid developers are treated
identically to volunteers, except that you can tell the former what to
do and expect them to put in more time. There should not be
communication between paid developers and the community, paid
developers should be an integral *part* of the community rather than a
separate group of people.
I really agree with this sentiment, but it seems difficult to get staff to
really be part of the community unless they're _from_ the community. The
developers I've seen discuss their personal opinions on public fora
(especially in ways that are accepted in an open community but not in a
business environment—one example would be criticizing their co-workers) have
been those who were recruited from the community. There's nothing wrong
with having outsiders as employees, but communication is rather different in
the outside world, and I get the sense that a lot of the people hired from
elsewhere aren't necessarily familiar with the Wikimedia Way™ of discussing
things—and even if they understand that it's there, I'm not sure they always
understand that they're supposed to join in.
I recall someone once suggesting that all employees be required to choose a
Wikimedia project and get involved in it. I haven't thought through the
practical implications, but it always seemed like a cute idea, at least.