[Foundation-l] VC - alternative resolution

Birgitte SB birgitte_sb at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 5 14:13:40 UTC 2008

--- Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:

> I suppose that you are coming from a project with in
> a bigger language
> (English or German), which is visible not only by a
> lot of people who
> are talking in other languages, but by an audience
> of 100M+ (native
> and second language) speakers with a good Internet
> infrastructure.
I am most active at en.WS and despite the language
being English it does not receive the attention you
suppose.  Plus I have been there since 2005, when the
scale of activity and participation where even
> There is a huge difference between a highly visible
> project with a
> well developed community and a project visible to,
> let's say, 30M of
> speakers from which only 10 are potentially
> interested in
> participation.

There is a difference but not the one you are
describing below.  I have been in a community of ten
or at the least 15.  It is quite easy to deal with
differences of opinions and disagreement within the
group so long as everyone is participating in good
faith. It is the extremely large communities which
deadlock over internal disagreements.

> We are approaching our human resources limits. There
> are a number of
> projects which reached its contemporary maximums and
> their further
> development is closely related to the development of
> high technology
> and its adoption.

There is no deadline.

> A very good example are Slovenian projects. It is a
> highly developed
> country with 2 millions of inhabitants, which
> approximates the number
> of speakers of Slovenian (at the most, there are 3-5
> millions of
> speakers all over the world). Slovenian Wikipedia is
> well developed.
> Maybe the project still has the best
> speakers/articles ratio out of
> conlangs (at least, they had it a year or two ago).
> More people on
> Slovenian Wikipedia is now related only to better
> adoption of the
> Internet, not to the Internet accessibility. In
> brief, the best path
> which one set of language projects (which covers
> around 2 millions of
> speakers) may pass is the Slovenian path.
> Slovenian Wikipedia is, also, a good Wikipedia. They
> have less
> Wikipedian problems than a number of projects which
> languages are
> based in the same area.
> However, they have their own problems (as I heard
> that some much
> bigger projects have their own, similar problems).
> Some of their
> contributors are talking about their problems, but
> there are some
> limits of where and how you may criticize your own
> project. I am very
> well introduced in those limits. If you are even a
> close to those
> limits, the community around the project will be
> hostile toward you.
> Talking directly about those problems at the public
> list is the best
> way how to pass those limits. Talking at non-public
> list is a good way
> how to <irony>test the limits</irony>.
> According to the present situation, the only other
> option is not to
> talk at all (except in private conversations).

You are still talking of extreme cases. What about the
problems the communities agree exist, but do not know
how to handle?  What about all the communities that
have come here asking for someone to look over their
EDP?  I believe there has been consensus for years
that RfA is broken at en.WP, but no one has a
solution.  No one at the Wikisources have gotten a
straight answer about text that is PD in the US and
copyrighted in countries where the targeted readership
is, or any other question about the DFC that are
dependent on jurisdiction. There is also an
acknowledged problem on en.WP of how to balance
anonymity with NPOV when people with suspected
personal and financial interests in an article start
editing it.  There are plenty of problems that don't
need to whispered in secret that the communities are
struggling with every day. I don't know why you are
stuck on the idea the existence of a problem has to be
controversial to be a significant problem. 

> One of the most important jobs of VC, as I see, will
> be to support
> such people. Usually, support shouldn't be a
> "support by the
> authority". It should be support by analyzing
> problems (maybe even not
> public) and finding a possible ways how to solve
> them. Usually, a
> public support from "the global community" is
> valuable enough to solve
> a problem inside of one community.

The VC should not be focused on getting in involved in
a single wiki.  It's limited abilities (as in nothing
is unlimited) would best directed to problems which
are faced by the largest number of communities, so
that it will bring the biggest benefit.  I will play
Cassandra now, and tell if you go the first route 80%
of the effort will be directed to en.WP.

> However, deep problems exist all over the Wikimedian
> projects, too.
> Some community may be deeply POV or even worst. And
> of course that we
> won't get an ask to solve POV on some project by POV
> pushers. And we
> need a mechanism how to heal such project and such
> community. Of
> course, it shouldn't be by using oppressive methods.
> We need to find a
> way how to do that at as less painful as possible
> method, if not
> painful at all.

The first step is education.  If a the Florin project
is deeply NPOV against their historical enemy Guilder,
then you do not approach the problem by implementing a
new NPOV policy for them and enforcing it.  You first
translate a bunch of guidelines on the theroy and
practice of NPOV.  Then if you do a workshop on issue
focusing on the political division in Florin on
whether the public should continue to pay for the
hereditary Arch-Duke to live like royalty even though
he only a ceremonial role in government.  Once you
have taught several people within the community how to
edit with a NPOV approach on issues where the
community is divided itself, only then do work on
getting them to tackle the issues like Guilder where
the community is united in its POV.  Hopefully they
will do this out of the strong belief in NPOV that has
been nurtured by earlier workshops.  If they refuse
then you start helping them fork.  It is not
sustainable to have outsiders actually clean-up any
problems on a wiki, they will just learn to hide the
problem better.  And this will quickly become a comedy
of errors with 20KB argument on the translation of
Foo, and if it is a neutral or derogatory term in

> But, before we are able to think about solving
> problems, we have to
> find a tool how to find them. And for finding
> problems we need to have
> someone who would think about that. It is not a task
> for Meta ArbCom.
> It is a task for a dedicated group of volunteers,
> possibly one of the
> working groups of VC.

I think there are enough "found" problems to keep a VC
busy for the the first two years.  And hopefully
bringing people into the VC who are unfamiliar with
meta stuff will allow them to reveal the one they know
that we do not.

> And, by the way, I was talking not only about the
> problems from
> outsider's perspective. There are a lot of simple or
> complex problems
> of the local communities which are not solved only
> because there is no
> a body which job is to listen those problems. I
> listed some of them:
> You need an interwiki bot? -- Make it! -- even it is
> a routine task
> for a number of bot owners. You want to take care
> about actuality of
> the data inside of articles about countries? -- Do
> it alone! -- even
> it is much more efficient to have one bot for all
> projects who is
> doing that. You want to compile a course from de.wv
> and en.wv sources?
> -- No, you can't do that, they are using different
> licenses. You want
> to connect Spanish, Russian and Dutch biologists who
> are working on
> Wikimedian projects? -- No, you can't do that
> because there is no a
> method for doing so. Or -- do it, no one is stopping
> you! -- Any help?
> -- Help? We don't have such institution
> I am not saying that we should take base our work
> around cases like
> Russian Wikibooks or Moldovan Wikipedia are.
> However, as the Board is
> the final instance for all real-life and real-time
> issues, we need the
> final instance for community and content related
> issues. Yes, there
> are a lot of ordinary jobs to do and VC's tasks will
> be full of those
> types of jobs. But, if we are not making a general
> purpose body, then
> it is better to think about a number of working
> groups which would
> address particular issues. Making a body which would
> address
> all-but-some community/content problems seems to me
> as making new
> problems.

I never said the VC should "address all-but-some
community/content problems".  I said it should be
designed with the mundane problems in mind.  And the
the most widespread problems should receive the most
attention.  That does not mean that it should ignore
the extreme cases.  Deal with them as they become a
problem but don't focus on them. Don't build the VC
for them.

Birgitte SB

> On Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 11:45 PM, Birgitte SB
> <birgitte_sb at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> >  --- Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >  > VC shouldn't be responsible only for developing
> >  > policies, but for
> >  > their implementation, too. If VC is not able to
> find
> >  > a way how to
> >  > implement one policy, then that policy is
> useless.
> >  > And the main job of
> >  > VC is to address communities/content problems.
> So,
> >  > (one of) the first
> >  > thing(s) which it should address is to handle
> >  > no-ones-jobs; which
> >  > means to find a way how to implement the
> solution
> >  > for that problem.
> >  >
> >
> >  This is where I am feeling disagreement with you.
>  You
> >  say "the main job of VC is to address
> >  communities/content problems", but you all the
> >  examples you have given have been things that
> could be
> >  described as "outsider's problems".  By which I
> mean
> >  an outsider has a problem with Siberian WP, or
> and
> >  outsider feels X.WP is not implementing NPOV
> >  correctly.  I have never seen a community come to
> this
> >  list and ask for help on the sort of problems you
> >  describe.  And they do come here with other sorts
> of
> >  problems. I am not saying that the problem's you
> >  describe do not exist or that they are
> unimportant.
> >  But they are extraordinary problems that we
> should not
> >  be basing a large permanant organization around.
> >  Extreme cases are not the greatest need.  However
> >  slowly you feel these cases were addressed; they
> were
> >  addressed.  That cannot be said about the more
> common
> >  problems faced by communities.
> >
> >  I would much prefer an organization that is built
> >  around the mundane problems and is able to
> empower the
> >  communities to implement good policies by giving
> them
> >  boundaries within which to work out their own
> >  solutions. A group that would put together and
> >  translate a copyright FAQ would be fulfill a need
> ten
> >  times greater than one going around examining,
> and
> >  when neccesary implementing changes for, all the
> >  Wikipedias NPOV policies.  Implementing policies
> is
> >  not scalable no matter how large the VC ends up
> being.
> >  And such an effort will only stifle the ability
> of
> >  individual communities to come up with creative
> >  methods that may be shared back across other
> >  communities if successful.
> >
> >  I think everything Ec has been saying  lately has
> my
> >  strong agreement and I am glad to see he is part
> of
> >  this group.  Not just because of that, as we
> often
> >  disagree on other topics. But because he does not
> seem
> >  to be spread as thinly as the some of the other
> >  members with prior commitments. I must admit I
> prefer
> >  Nathan's alternative resolution. I like cautious
> >  approaches best. There is a reason that no
> Council has
> >  ever been created despite years of discussion.
> The
> >  reason is not because of a lack of ambition to
> >  actually do it so much as to a more widespread
> fear of
> >  the ambitious.  Caution in creating this Council
> will
> >  do a great deal to allievate those fears.
> >
> >  Birgitte SB
> >
> >
> >
> >      
> >  You rock. That's why Blockbuster's offering you
> one month of Blockbuster Total Access, No Cost.
> > 
> http://tc.deals.yahoo.com/tc/blockbuster/text5.com
> >
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