[Foundation-l] Communication

Noein pronoein at gmail.com
Sat Jun 5 11:37:18 UTC 2010

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Thank you for your opinions. I'd like to clarify my criticism. What Mike
has done and is doing is honorable; he's dedicating efforts and patience
to the community. He has nothing to do with my questioning.

What I see is that WMF doesn't always publish the problems they're
addressing, not in time, not entirely and not in a defined and known
place. It seems that the WMF feels it is the correct way to communicate
their actions once they're done, synthesizing briefly why to a selected
(or random?) sample of the community.
Some answers here even suggest that secrecy is necessary, that informing
the community about what and why the Board is doing is not feasible or
desirable as a norm and as a duty, and that communicating about the
situation, intentions and actions of the WMF should be exceptional and
under the community pressure, pressure that should be channeled and
controlled through trusted community members.

I'm not trying to accuse but to put in relief a certain vision of WMF:
an enterprise that must survive legally and economically, like any other
enterprise. The community is some sort of public, clients and users that
one must manage through public relations at best or indifference. In
summary, this seems a vision of little accountability towards the community.

In contrast, I think the community has other expectations. They feel
they own the projects because they made them, they're making them, they
will make them. They're not consumers. They're the engine. They identify
with the project. They share (more or less) a vision and they search for
an ethic together. I think that in their minds, though they owe a lot to
the founders, they now are the main part of this adventure. The WMF is
paid by them to address what they will tell them to address. According
to this vision, the accountability towards the community is total.

My words are not good and my vision short. I beg someone with better
eloquence and diplomatic skills, with more experience and insight to
develop the idea.

What I propose is to create a public space where the WMF would announce
immediately the claims and pressures they receive, and how they will
respond. (just a copy/paste of mails for example).
People who want to follow, comment or act upon these kind of news would
subscribe to a RSS feed, maybe with a filter for chapters.

Correctly set up, this channel between the WMF and the community could
be synergetic. It could avoid triggering anger, edit wars and
demissions. It could be used as a brain tank to collect data and ideas
about the problems that the WMF is facing, even when the WMF is doomed
to act on short terms. If the WMF accepts to feed the community with its
problems and intentions and listens to the corresponding feedback, most
of the communication problems would be defused, in my opinion.

I think it is worth an experimental try at least. If it yields
positively constructive results, then maybe there should be such a page
for each big category of problems that the WMF usually deals with.

Oh well, just a (badly expressed) idea.

On 05/06/2010 11:29, Bod Notbod wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 8:04 PM, Mike Godwin <mnemonic at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I think if you look at what we did with regard to the Gallimard takedowns...
> Going back to the original issue regarding communication, the
> appearance of Mike on this thread shows me that this mailing list is
> one good way to get the Board's attention.
> If Mike hadn't been able to deal with an issue and he felt it was
> important he would just walk across to or email someone who is better
> placed to respond.
> On that basis I would say there isn't a communication issue. It might
> be hard for a newbie to know where to go, but in a way that protects
> the staff from being overwhelmed by the many millions who visit the
> site and have a query. I actually think it's a good thing to have
> barriers to communicating with WMF staff. In that way, we the
> community become sort of receptionists for them; we can either deal
> with a complaint or question ourselves or, if it so warrants, bump it
> up here or directly email the WMF.
> User:Bodnotbod
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