[Wikimedia-l] Go away, community (from WMF wiki at least)

Milos Rancic millosh at gmail.com
Sun May 12 01:00:44 UTC 2013

Sue (or anyone from staff who is more precisely in charge for this), may
you just revert this and open discussion to reach more sensible solution?

I understand that there could be a good reason for this action, but the way
it's been handled is not the perfect one. And at least permissions on a
wiki are not hard to revert.
 On May 11, 2013 6:48 PM, "Sue Gardner" <sgardner at wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Gayle is travelling today and not online, so I'll take a crack at
> responding to this.
> The editors are responsible for the projects: the Wikimedia Foundation
> knows that, acknowledges it, and is deeply appreciative (as are all
> readers) for the work that volunteers do in the projects. The Wikimedia
> Foundation is responsible for the Wikimedia Foundation wiki (and the blog).
> We are grateful to get community help there, and a small number of
> community members do really good work with us on both the WMF wiki and the
> blog. But ultimately that wiki, and the blog, are our responsibility, and
> we are accountable for making sure that e.g. the staff page, the Board
> bios, the resolution texts, etc., are maintained and in good shape. Most
> material on the WMF is not created via collaborative production processes
> -- it's "corporate" in nature, meaning that it is developed by the
> Wikimedia Foundation, for an audience of Wikimedia Foundation stakeholders,
> which includes community members and prospective community members, donors,
> readers of the projects, media, and others.
> My understanding is that administrator rights have been removed from a
> small number of volunteers, but that those people still have basic editing
> rights. My understanding is that the Wikimedia Foundation staff who work on
> the Foundation wiki have been grateful (and are grateful) for the help
> they've gotten from community members in maintaining the Foundation wiki,
> and that we hope they'll continue to help us. They've been great, and we're
> grateful.
> But, my understanding is also that occasionally volunteers have overridden
> decisions made by staff on the Wikimedia Foundation wiki. I don't think
> that's ever been a huge problem: I don't think we've ever had a situation
> in which extensive discussion hasn't reached an okay conclusion. But, the
> extensive discussions --which, I understand, have typically been
> one-on-one, by which I mean, not a large number of community members or a
> community consensus against something the Foundation has wanted to do, but
> rather one volunteer disagreeing with something staff have been asked to do
> as part of their job --- occasionally, those discussions have been
> extremely time-consuming. That's not good. The staff working on the
> Wikimedia Foundation wiki have jobs they've got to get done, in support of
> the entire movement. If they spend days or weeks needing to persuade a
> single community member of the merits of something they want to do on the
> Foundation wiki, or if they need to modify their plans extensively to
> accommodate the opinions of a single community member, that reduces the
> amount of time available for them to do the rest of their work. Which, I
> repeat, is in the service of the movement overall.
> So I would say this:
> This decision is not about "the community" versus "the WMF." This decision
> is about the WMF staff, and making it possible for them to do their work on
> the WMF wiki with some reasonable degree of efficiency and effectiveness.
> This decision clarifies roles-and-responsibilities. On the projects, the
> volunteers are the editorial leads, and the WMF plays a supporting role by
> creating functionality, maintaining the servers, paying the bandwidth
> bills, and so forth. On the WMF wiki, the WMF is the editorial lead, and
> volunteers can (and do) play a supporting role helping staff organize
> pages, maintain pages, and so forth. That's a reasonable division, and I
> think having clarity around it is a good thing.
> Slightly more broadly: when the Wikimedia movement was very young,
> everybody did everything and there wasn't much division of
> roles-and-responsibilities. I remember when the Wikimedia Foundation
> budgets were prepared by volunteers, when the trademarks were managed by
> volunteers, and so forth. That was appropriate for the time, and even
> though it was messy, it was kind of great. Then we all went through a
> period in which roles-and-responsibilities were utterly unclear -- it
> wasn't at all obvious who should do what, and many
> roles-and-responsibilities were hotly disputed. Personally, I feel like
> we're moving into a period now in which things are getting clearer. We
> don't pay staff to edit the projects: staff who edit do it on their own
> time, as a hobby or special personal interest. We do pay staff to do things
> that are better done by staff than by volunteers, such as managing the
> trademark portfolio. Some volunteers (such as Domas) have very special
> privileges and powers, because they've proved over time they are
> exceptionally skilled. Some volunteers support the Wikimedia Foundation
> staff in their work in a variety of ways, because they've proved their
> interest and abilities. Some work happens in close partnership between
> staff and volunteers, such as production of blog posts, speaking with the
> media, and in projects such as the Global Ed one. Sometimes organized
> groups of volunteers are created by volunteers and supported by staff (e.g.
> ArbCom or AffCom) and sometimes organized groups of volunteers are created
> by the Wikimedia Foundation and supported by the Wikimedia Foundation (such
> as the FDC). Upshot: community members and Wikimedia Foundation staff work
> together in many different coordinated fashions. The ways on which we work
> together are becoming increasingly clear, and I think that clarity is good.
> So. People can disagree with this decision, and that's okay. But
> ultimately, the Wikimedia Foundation is responsible for the Wikimedia
> Foundation wiki: it's our job to figure out how best to manage and maintain
> it. That's what we're doing here.
> Thanks,
> Sue
> On May 11, 2013 4:15 AM, "K. Peachey" <p858snake at gmail.com> wrote:
> > This is the email that got sent out to everyone,
> >
> > ---
> > Dear XXX,
> > Thank you for your work with the Foundation wiki.  At this time, we
> > are formalizing a new requirement, which is that administrator access
> > is given only to staff and board.  I am having administrator access to
> > accounts that are neither staff or board be disabled, effective
> > immediately.
> > Sincerely,
> > Gayle
> > --
> > Gayle Karen K. Young
> > Chief Talent and Culture Officer
> > Wikimedia Foundation
> > 415.310.8416
> > www.wikimediafoundation.org
> > ---
> >
> > Gayle's response (which was the first time she has edited the wiki in
> > ~5 months[2]) seems lacking[1] in general and the subsequent responses
> > about knowing what these people do on the wiki
> >
> > Another interesting fact is that Mz got desysoped first, When you
> > would expect it to be done in alphabetically order.
> >
> > "We've been discussing this for awhile, and the thought is that it's
> > ultimately the Foundation's web presence, not the community's web
> > presence. A useful parallel to consider might be how userrights are
> > given to staffers on the community wikis; they're distributed as and
> > when they're needed for a specific task."
> >
> > Um, Rights for staff on wikis are given out like candy?, although not
> > as much thee days but it still happens.
> >
> > Also, How is the foundation wiki not apart of the community? Has the
> > position of the legal department changed? or the boards? just randomly
> > changing without any imput or discussions seems utlimately strange.
> > since it is actually their wiki (just like everything else that falls
> > under the foundation)
> >
> > [1]. <
> >
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?diff=91857&oldid=91855#Users_stripped_of_rights.3F
> > >
> > [2]. <
> >
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3AContributions&target=Gyoung
> > >
> > [3]. <https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Special:Log/rights>
> >
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