[Wikimedia-l] Board vote on narrowing focus

Lodewijk lodewijk at effeietsanders.org
Fri Nov 2 18:05:55 UTC 2012

Hi Sam,

some people have excellently answered as well - I especially agree with
what Bence and Matthew wrote. I will answer some things myself as well

2012/11/2 Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com>

> Hello Lodewijk,
> These are good questions.  I expect effort will be required in the short
> term to delegate effectively and help move to a narrower focus.   A few
> clarifying questions for you in return:
> On Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 7:47 AM, Lodewijk <lodewijk at effeietsanders.org
> >wrote:
> >
> > * PR support by WMF PR staff when writing press releases for an
> > international audience
> >
> Do you have an example in mind of a recent press release that took
> advantage of this support?
> How useful to you find ComCom, as a list and network, compared to direct
> personal facilitation by WMF staff?
I have two very specific occasions which I recall - but please forgive me
if I forgot several. In 2011 I had quite some interaction with Moka, who
advised me on how to run an international press release. This was the first
time we were running Wiki Loves Monuments in multiple countries, and none
of the chapters participating had any experience in international press
releases. The results of this were very thin - mostly because of language
issues (national releases work better, that was a valuable lesson) but the
help was great and helpful. This year I had quite some interaction with
Matthew who did a lot of help on drafting a good template release that
could be used by multiple countries and attractive blog posts. I honestly
don't know where his job stopped and his free time started - but what
counts to me most is that his skills were very valuable.

To some extent ComCom is helpful - but to be honest comcom has degraded
into not much more than a mailing list and a helpful place to shout for
help. It is not a great place to transfer skills or get help in
confidential stuff (such as the Guinness World Record press release).

Maybe this specific set of facilitation could move to the WCA - but at the
short term this is unlikely to happen.

> > * Networking support by Asaf (who to approach), specifically for "global
> > south" countries and chapters to be.
> >
> Do you think the WMF should be the arbiter of who to approach to connect
> with chapters-to-be?  It seems to me that this level of support and
> connection could be provided well and in a variety of languages by a
> support network (or a community body such as AffCom or the WCA), even
> today.

No, in an ideal world I would prefer the WMF not to be necessary for this.
However, unfortunately this ideal world doesn't exist. Again the WCA could
become helpful - but that is midlong term thinking. Dropping these
functions /right now/ would hurt the movement - I prefer a transition

> > * Tech support for initiatives
> >
> * Layout/design support for education related activities
> >
> How do you feel the above worked for WLM this year, as an example?
> What tech and design support was needed, and where did it come from?
I think the tech support for Wiki Loves Monuments was very helpful (both
the upload wizard in 2011 (Jeroen!) and 2012 as the mobile app). I think
the current setup of the Toolserver and Labs is quite open for improvement
though - especially when it comes to access and reliability. i'm not a very
technical person though, so I suggest you ask some other people if you want
details. Thing is, sometimes volunteers need some last minute flexible
support to make a project work. To make their efforts effective.

Design work I mostly remember from the education program - I haven't been
much directly involved, so probably others can speak better for it.

> > * Institutional support for the GLAM related activities in the US (until
> > the US Federation is fully functional, if ever)
> >
> I agree there is room for a global GLAM support for regions that don't have
> local [chapter] organization.  Why do you feel this is a special problem
> for the US, compared to other archive-rich parts of the world - given the
> two regional chapters and numerous present and past Wikipedians in
> residence?

I think Sarah answered this very well in the mean time. The US is a big
country, and currently mostly not covered by any kind of chapter. If the
WMF doesn't support it at this point, there will not be any organizational
support. Grant making is not enough - skill transfer and some basic
backbone support is simply necessary to make volunteers do what they are
best at. This is also why GLAM seems to be most successful in countries
with chapters.

I do feel that the WMF isn't best placed in the longer term to support
this. I think that the US federation idea that is currently being
considered might be a good step in the direction of organizational support
- and a US chapter might even be better. The GLAM-Wiki consortium might be
a great step. But again: a transition process is imho necessary and
invaluable. If you drop it now, there is a risk of loosing important
momentum. Give other organizations that are still growing some time to
develop and come to a point where they can take over these

Best regards,

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