nawrich at gmail.com
Fri Jun 4 18:01:34 UTC 2010
On Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 12:11 PM, Bod Notbod <bodnotbod at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.
It doesn't make sense to compare the WMF to AT&T. I agree that
compared with large corporations nationwide, the WMF is enormously
communicative and transparent. On the other hand, it is after all a
corporation designed to promote and preserve a set of community
developed projects; the community in this case is not a group of
passive consumers, but the most essential element of the entire
corporate mission. More importantly, criticism of communication is not
generalized pissyness - it is prompted by specific actions of the WMF
or its staff / board on the projects, and applies to imperfect or
incomplete communication around those actions. When the WMF makes a
decision to intervene in the projects, full and informative
communication isn't just a nice-if-you-can-get-it side benefit of
dealing with a small company - it's essential to maintaining the
fabric of a massively participatory and cooperative endeavor.
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