[Foundation-l] Community consensus for software changes (Re: Show community consensus for Wikilove)

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Mon Oct 31 19:24:31 UTC 2011

On Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 11:08 AM, Nathan <nawrich at gmail.com> wrote:
> That's a pretty bold statement for the WMF to make - "If you don't
> trust the WMF, don't contribute to WMF projects." Are you sure that's
> what you meant?

Hi Nathan,

let me try to clarify what I mean by trust in this context. We can,
indeed must, talk very openly about what works and what doesn't, and
whether we're doing the right kinds of things. That discourse, and the
readiness to engage in it and to change course for the right reasons,
is key for a relationship based on mutual trust to work.

It's easy for us to accidentally send mixed messages, though, as this
thread has shown. Because so many things are done in response to
community consensus, there may be an expectation that this is always
the case, and that that's just how we work. Change in Wikimedia
projects has, however, always been a continuous process of give and
take, with a certain element of arbitrariness, seeking to find the
right balance between acceptance and progress, and "being bold" to try
new things. That process can be very messy, as the image filter
discussion has shown.

So, what I'm saying is that if you (generic "you") believe, for
whichever reason (lack of trust, philosophical reasons, or whatever),
that WMF shouldn't be permitted to make meaningful changes in
Wikimedia projects without obtaining upfront community consensus,
you'll probably find more satisfaction and joy in volunteering in a
different context. That's not how WMF projects operate, and they are
very unlikely to ever do so, for reasons that have been articulated
here and elsewhere. Indeed, it's part of WMF's understanding of itself
that part of its job is to continually challenge existing agreements
and practices in order to support positive change.

Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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