[Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF
mstislavl1 at gmail.com
Sun Oct 21 09:23:18 UTC 2012
Why when we talk about "editor engagement" we think exclusively about new
editors? How about retaining people, who already made Wikipedia (= the
product) and keep maintaining it? Wikimania and Community Fellows, and
other initiatives do exactly this, providing incentives for people to
look beyond the text and extend the Community off-line - the Movement.
Any scientist would tell you that maintaining - and returning to - the
exponential growth is unrealistic, as unrealistic to expect that new Visual
Editor will suddenly attract a wave of the new editors. The bubble burst,
the fashion to edit Wikipedia has gone where most of the personal pages,
blogs etc. gone, contributing to Wikipedia is a niche hobby, so it is
important to help people who are already engaged - including and doubly
important in the Global South.
If the management prefers to concentrate on "the product development" (very
corporate speak, a bit strange if we talking about free Encyclopaedia), it
will eventually lose the community. The product (content) is
underdeveloped - working parts, not just shiny bits and only Community can
It's as if Wikitravel story did not teach anything beyond "we win again".
On Sun, Oct 21, 2012 at 1:44 AM, Steven Walling <steven.walling at gmail.com>wrote:
> On Oct 20, 2012 6:36 PM, "Mono" <monomium at gmail.com> wrote:
> > 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
> > knows that big things need to happen.
> Well said. That is precisely why these changes are being proposed: taking
> some things off the table will help us get shit done. It's not the only
> part of being able to more rapidly ship new products, by far, but being
> clear about our scope as an organzation will go a long way.
> 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
> > > 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
> > > In what form it should communicate with highly dispersed, varied
> > > I cannot say that I completely agreed with "5 year plan", but at least
> > > have given a clear directions and even (some, not all) achievable
> > > 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
> > > (which are disappearing fast anyway). And now the management found how
> > > end all this - curtail awkward, highly demanding activities on the
> > > 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,
> > > 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
> > > 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
> > > already withdrawn support for the Chapter fundraising through the
> > > 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
> > > 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
> > > And if WMF focus on distributing grants instead of helping directly,
> > > will become incredibly difficult for people with no experience in a
> > > specific task of grant-writing (=community members) to get their
> > > initiatives off the ground, and the money will go to third parties.
> > > 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
> > > will find some other way to reduce work-related stress.
> > >
> > > Victoria
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