Pascale: you are the best :) Let us by all means take inspiration from
math and art.
Erik notes, about UX testing:
it's also possible to provide volunteers with the
resources to do it.
Yes, our ability to let people run A/B/Z tests, is extremely powerful. We
should make more use of this, and teach more people to use it :
particularly the editors already spending long hours fine-tuning designs.
Mostly agree with SJ here, with one exception: I do
think that some
standing committee to rule on conduct issues is necessary
Yes, elected conduct-decision bodies make sense. I'm suggesting we use a
simpler process, not be too particular about it, and iterate. The more
drawn-out and elaborate a selection, the more we filter out people who
would prefer to be doing non-bureaucratic work.
Let's combine a slate of elections into *one annual election process*.
Make the range of elections intriguing rather than daunting.
Also, as Steven notes, we need to rebuild norms for leadership /
stewardship of individual projects + decisions. Whoever is planning and
leading an initiative -- be bold and humble, responsive and iterative,
empowering others to fix what's broken.
On Thu, May 19, 2022 at 7:34 PM Nathan <nawrich(a)gmail.com> wrote:
On Thu, May 19, 2022 at 5:38 PM Steven Walling <steven.walling(a)gmail.com>
On Thu, May 19, 2022 at 10:27 AM Evelin Heidel <scannopolis(a)gmail.com>
+1 to this, my perception is that we're
wasting a lot of volunteer's +
staff time + resources into complex governance processes without clear
results. In theory, the reason why you want this much transparency &
process is to make sure decision making (and in turn resources) are
allocated fairly, but in practice so much bureaucracy makes it very hard
for people to participate, leading to even more inequality.
It's a complex balance to strike but definitely the current initiatives
are not even a good aim to begin with.
The intentions behind the complex governance processes are good in that
they intend to increase inclusivity. But it’s easy to forget the most
limited resource we have is the attention of volunteers. The groups we
include the least today have the least free time and money. Longer,
multi-step processes to form and elect committees to set up committees to
review processes to inform a decision then has exactly the opposite of the
intended effect because it reduces participation to the slim group of
people who have the time and patience for such a process. The CIA wrote a
manual about how to sabotage organizations, and it’s like they wrote a
perfect description of exactly how things operate right now: "When
possible, refer all matters to committees for further study and
consideration. Attempt to make the committee as large as possible–never
less than five."
The other reason we ended up in this situation is simply a lack of strong
leadership. People feel like they don't have the permission or safety to do
things unless they've done the maximum amount of consultations possible.
This is why decisions flounder in limbo for a long time, with no one really
knowing if they are happening or not happening. We're stuck because we're
trying to reset our governance to solve the problem where it's unclear who
is able to decide what and when... but we're trying to solve that by
perpetually punting a decision to some other committee or council of
people. It's turtles all the way down.
I think that means we need to acknowledge some culpability for this
phenomena - in environments like this list, folks learn that no decision is
too benign to spark controversy and any actually controversial decision is
guaranteed to garner a vitriolic backlash.
Combine that with the normal tendencies of bureaucracies, magnified by the
special nature of the WMF, and the result is explosive growth in
distributed decision-making organs.
Accurate insights from SJ and others, if not necessarily new, but unlikely
to lead to change because all the incentives that led to this place remain.
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Samuel Klein @metasj w:user:sj +1 617 529 4266