[Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Mono monomium at gmail.com
Sat Oct 20 23:36:34 UTC 2012

I find this rather frightening, as it implies that the programs undertaken
by the Wikimedia Foundation recently were not successful and wasted funds.
This is open to debate, but if these programs were successful in 'editor
engagement' why would we get rid of them?

(It seems like they weren't.)

Meanwhile, the proposal shown seems to favor product development. But the
funds being spent on extremely basic improvements that other top websites
did years ago is alarming too. It seems like the WMF needs to streamline
development for rapid deployment.

Finish the visual editor, design a new interface for reading and such, and
get people editing and uploading with an awareness campaign. Google is
perfecting Wikipedia's purpose (see
https://www.google.com/?q=paul%20ryanon the right).

The WMF should spend less time thinking about what to do and more time
doing it. That means they can't do everything under the moon. But everyone
knows that big things need to happen.

On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 5:01 AM, Виктория <mstislavl1 at gmail.com> wrote:

> This proposal reminds me of "management buyout", which Wikipedia defines as
> "form of acquisition where a company's existing managers acquire a large
> part or all of the company from either the parent company or from the
> private owners".
> There always been ambiguity to the roles of WMF - does it have right to
> interfere with Community decisions, especially highly controversial ones?
> In what form it should communicate with highly dispersed, varied community.
> I cannot say that I completely agreed with "5 year plan", but at least it
> have given a clear directions and even (some, not all) achievable goals:
> attraction of new editors, including women, helping the Global South to
> access free knowledge.  Of course, not all initiatives were working, but at
> least the was movement in the right direction.
> I understand that it wasn't easy for the WMF employees, but we all hope
> that working for a non-profit organisation is not just a day, 9 to 5 job
> (which are disappearing fast anyway). And now the management found how to
> end all this - curtail awkward, highly demanding activities on the ground
> in less civilised world and concentrate on relatively easy, structured
> work, which can be done in sunny San Francisco - engineering and "grant
> making".
> I cannot say anything against engineering, this is a cornerstone, although
> I cannot see how management, Legal etc. engagement with "people on the
> ground" have interfered with programmers work and how "refocusing" will
> help to create Visual Editor. My worry is about "grant making", forgive
> me, I am not a native speaker, so I can just guess that this means "grant
> distributing".
> When the chapters started appearing, I thought  they will be local WMF,
> which will build bridges between WMF and local communities. This is not
> what happened. I don't want to go into details as to why, but Fir WMF had
> already withdrawn support for the Chapter fundraising through the banner,
> and now if I understand correctly the Chapters re supposed to fend for
> themselves completely - they want to do it anyway, but this is a different
> story.
> So WMF will collect the money and then will distribute it by the means
> unknown.  As a former member of the Grant Committee I can say that the
> current process is not very efficient and there is no alternative proposed.
>  And  if WMF focus on distributing grants instead of helping directly, it
> will become incredibly difficult for people with no experience in a highly
> specific task of grant-writing (=community members) to get their
> initiatives off the ground, and the money will go to third parties.  During
> the "restructuring time" WMF will stop supporting really working things
> such as Wikimania, leaving it to fend for itself, just like chapters.
> I wonder at what point European Chapters, lead by highly efficient German ,
> will realise that they don't need WMF, buy servers and fork.
> I can only hope that the Board will not agree with this proposal and WMF
> will find some other way to reduce work-related stress.
> Victoria
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