I was really surprised this morning by the fact that during the recent
days internal-l has beaten foundation-l by activity; which means that
I didn't have enough time to read everything.
Because of that, I would appreciate (as many others, I suppose) a
little digest about the present conflict.
On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 07:12, Lodewijk <lodewijk(a)effeietsanders.org> wrote:
(after a bit of thinking, I'll post this to
foundation-l after all. As a bit
of context, the whole fundraiser discussion continued on internal-l and a
discussion emerged about disconnect between the board of the WMF and the
chapters, of which the letter would be an example. Based on that discussion,
I wrote the email below. As far as I am aware, it contains no confidential
information, so after consideration, this would be a better place actually)
I think we should be honest with ourselves here: yes there is disconnect -
but it is not /just/ about the foundation. It is a wider problem than that -
but I agree with Dan that this *is* a typical example. Not because of the
direction of the decision even (which I totally disagree with as it is
explained by Sue, but agree with as it is explained privately by some board
members, like noted before) but how it is taken.
I could not have imagined the board changing its bylaws without consulting
the community (not asking approval, but consulting) a few years ago. I could
not have imagined these important decisions to be taken without serious
discussions with those involved. And that someone then notes "we could have
discussed it but honestly they wouldn't have changed their mind anyway" (my
interpretation) is the most striking for where we are today. Small groups of
people sitting in their ivory towers taking decisions. Sure they do their
best to come out and talk with people, but it too often fails.
I have seen it too many times. I know of several chapters too, which are
malfunctioning because they are not able to connect to the editing community
any longer - Wikimedia Nederland has been there too (I hope I'm correct to
speak in the past sense). Listening is hard, involving is even harder. I see
it with the board even stronger - some individuals are still working hard to
engage in conversations, but it is no longer default procedure. Another
striking example is that we had to learn about this discussion from Stu's
blog - and nobody bothered to involve others in that discussion by sending
an email to internal or foundation-l.
It is happening in chapcoms, it is happening in staff (I cannot count
anymore how often I got into the position that I have to defend what Sue and
several other people in the foundation are doing and the saleries they are
alledgedly getting for that) - we all seem to do an extremely bad job in
communicating /with/ the community - not /to/ the community. I have been
saying this a lot of times during the chapters meeting - but I know there
were no foundation people there unfortunately (another example?) so let me
repeat it just once more: talking to people will not suffice, will not
involve them. We are no priests or teachers that will tell them what to do,
but we can motivate them and cooperate with them and be part of it by
talking with them, involving them in conversations.
I know it is very hard to actually accomplish it - and I know it is easy to
say that you're trying and will try even harder - but that won't be good
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dan Rosenthal <swatjester(a)gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Internal-l] Board letter about fundraising and chapters
To: "Local Chapters, board and officers coordination (closed subscription)"
Well, I think this entire debate over the fundraising letter is a great
example. The board and office seriously miscalculated how strongly the
chapters would feel about such a drastic change. I think, frankly, you still
do. The "us vs. them" tone of these discussions, especially from some of
Erik and Jan Bart's emails, appears to me to be causing people to become
defensive and entrenched in their beliefs.
The fact that this is all being done last minute when many these issues were
known back as of the 2010 fundraiser* sends the message to me that nobody
adequately expressed to the chapters what frustrations the WMF was facing,
at least not in any sort of way that would have prompted a thoughtful series
of responses like we have seen here.
Then we see things like Jimmy saying "WMF owns Wikipedia" -- something that
I believe we have always shied away from saying on ComCom due to the various
interpretations of "what does own mean?"; the side dispute with Thomas
blaming his chapter for not living up to certain standards that they may or
may not have been actually obligated to do….
I should have probably said "In my view, this is an example of a growing
disconnect…" because I certainly can't speak for others. But I think broadly
looking at this whole debacle, it's hard to see anything BUT a disconnect.**
*(such as the inadequacy of the fundraising agreement; as well I vaguely
remember there being several chapters that were not in compliance at some
point and we had discussions about it, but it was so long ago and I don't
have access to any notes at the time I couldn't say for sure)
*notwithstanding recent alternative proposals and attempts to bridge the
gap, of course.
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