[Wikimedia-l] ombudsmen commission

Mike Christie coldchrist at gmail.com
Mon Apr 23 13:13:11 UTC 2012

On Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 8:23 AM, Craig Franklin <craig at halo-17.net> wrote:
> I thought Thomas's requests and suggestions in this case were quite valid
> and reasonable, and they did not deserve such a condescending and
> passive-aggressive response.
> I'm sure you're all very busy but that's no excuse for not continually
> striving for a higher standard of transparency and accountability (within
> the obvious restrictions that your work imposes).
> Regards,
> Craig Franklin

This might be a digression, but I'm fairly new to this list and would
like a clarification.  What's the decision-making process within the
WMF on issues such as this (a request from the community to document a
WMF process)?  I understand how processes are implemented (or not),
and how tasks are done (or not) on en.wikipedia, but I don't yet
understand the relationship between community requests (or requests
from individuals in the community) and WMF processes and tasks.  What
are the expectations for WMF employees' response to a request such as
this -- presumably they can assess it and say no if they feel that's
appropriate?  Is it part of their job description to communicate via
lists such as this, and justify their decisions?

I don't have a strong opinion on this particular request -- I spent
years as a corporate ombudsman and so I understand the concerns about
privacy and confidentiality, but the request seems reasonable.
However, if Thomas feels that it's not as important as other tasks
that he has been given to do, what's the expectation -- that he should
post an explanation, but is not obliged to do the task?

I suppose this is a special case of a general question: presumably WMF
employees have two masters -- the decisions of the board, which should
trickle down into directives to each group and employee, and
prevailing consensus in the communities, which may occasionally
conflict with those directives, or which may lead to vocal minority
dissent.  I have seen a couple of examples of this in practice but I
don't have a clear idea of how those conflicts ought to be resolved.


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