[Foundation-l] More on Wikimedia strategic planning

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Sat May 2 17:04:19 UTC 2009

Thomas Dalton wrote:
> 2009/5/1 phoebe ayers:
>> On Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 10:24 PM, Thomas Dalton wrote:
>>> 2009/5/1 Samuel Klein:
>>>> On Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 6:23 PM, Thomas Dalton wrote:
>>>>> 2009/4/30 Samuel Klein:
>>>>>> I'd like to see Wikimedia as a community take some 300-year stances on
>>>>>> knowledge dissemination,
>>>>> Did you mean 300 years?
>>>> Yes.  Considering the stakes and our capacity for history, this seems
>>>> to me appropriate and possible.
>>> It is impossible to predict what humanity will be like in 300 years,
>>> if it even still exists, so it is completely impossible to predict
>>> what Wikimedia will be like or what challenges it will need to face.
>> Can we perhaps split the difference between you two and say: 30 years?
> I think we would be missing an opportunity if we didn't at least
> outline some rough ideas for a 30-year timeframe, but much more than
> that involves far too much guesswork to be worthwhile.
I'm very sympathetic to SJ's 300 year plan.  Plans for 3, 30 and 300 
years require different kinds of thinking, but all are equally 
important. They can be best appreciated by looking back for 
corresponding amounts of time.

Three-year plans are almost too short to be called strategic.  Members 
of the US House of Representatives are all subject to re-election every 
two years, and in such an environment the tactics of making sure that 
one is re-elected take on an undue importance.  Accomplishments need a 
high level of immediacy.  The focus needs to be on action, and anyone 
who introduces ideas with a longer-range impact that jeopardizes 
immediate accomplishments does so at his own political peril. Success 
depends on being able to show what you have accomplished.

Thirty-year plans can be completed within one's own lifetime.  
Alternatively we inherit them from the previous generation or pass them 
on to the next.  They need to be sufficiently concrete to allow seeing 
definite success thirty years hence, yet sufficiently realistic for us 
to imagine all the steps required to get us where we are going.  They 
require long-term commitment to a project, and an ability to keep the 
quick-fix gang and their rules at a distance.

Three hundred-year plans link us with people that none of us will never 
meet.  They have more to do with philosophical underpinnings and 
beliefs.  This year we will be celebrating(?) the 300th anniversary of 
the passage of the Statute of Anne, a document whose effects and 
consequences we continue to feel.  In relation to free access to 
knowledge such plans need to plant the viral seeds that will prevent the 
usurpation of free access by vested interests.


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