[Foundation-l] Communication

Bod Notbod bodnotbod at gmail.com
Fri Jun 4 16:11:02 UTC 2010

On Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 12:23 AM, Noein <pronoein at gmail.com> wrote:

> I've been watching the dialogues between the WMF and this mailing list
> for a while now and most of the conflicts are the same: bad
> communication. This is apparently not due to individuals but institutional.

I think you're wrong.

Try to get any sense out of the upper echelons of your phone company,
your gas providers, whoever gives you your electricity.

The Wikimedia community is huge. The staff relatively small. It's
unthinkable you'd write to AT&T and get a response from the CEO.
Looked at in that light, the WMF is very transparent. The WMF office
would be incapable of turning over every query the wider public has.
We're a community and we should be supporting the office folk in their
roles. They do not have a call centre and nor should they.

However, should you have a question that needs to be looked at by
someone high up, my best recommendation is to be a good community
member. If you have a rep for doing lots of good work on the projects
you will come to the attention of WMF staff and they will communicate
with you because they have to come to know and respect you.

To illustrate; I worked on the Wikimedia Strategy website for two or
three months. During that time I had a few exchanges with Philippe who
is now full-time (he was a contractor, I believe, when I was
interacting with him)... and I just know that if I have any
deep-seated problem, something I think is important *that the
community can't answer for* I can go to him. And I can say to him
"Hey, here's this thing. Who would you recommend I contact on this

However, that's on the trust that I won't pester him on any old thing
that crosses my mind. It would have to be something big. And for the
most part I would go to the community first, and if I felt there were
a groundswell of opinion behind me I'd write to someone in the WMF and
say "hey, look, there's a couple hundred people here taking one side
on this issue and I think someone at WMF should take a look".

We cannot expect such a tiny staff to be open to all of us. You have
to build out from your own opinion/idea, nurture and grow it and if it
gains ground then go to the WMF.


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