I ran for the board of WMF as I am hoping to improve a number of issues. I believe that the community voted in three new trustees as they are looking for change. Below are some of my priorities. I welcome peoples feedback and criticism here.
- A useful overview of what the position entails is here
- 1 My removal
- 2 Actually elect board members
- 3 Key roles
- 4 WMF/Community relations
- 5 Undisclosed paid editing
- 6 Increasing editor numbers
- 7 Privacy
- 8 Content distribution
Actually elect board members
The Wikimedia Movement needs to actually elect board members to the WMF BoTs. This will increase the democratic nature of the foundation and movement.
From what I understand to achieve this we need to:
- Become a membership organization.
- I am looking into if membership could automatically role out to all the people listed as voting requirements in our (s)elections
This move I believe would increase accountability of board members and prevent the removal of board members "without cause".
- Determine WMF's long term strategy and goals
- Evaluate risks to WMF and its vision, mission and values
- Monitor WMF's financial performance and use of assets
- Oversee compliance with legal obligations and WMF policies
- Communicate WMF's direction and activities to the community
- Maintain the legal and ethical integrity of the organization
- 2015/2016 Annual Plan
- Draft discussion
- 2015 State of the Wikimedia Foundation
- June Metrics Meeting Strategy Preview
- Old 5 Year Plan
- New 5 Year Plan (we need one)
The most important aspect of our projects is their content. This is what we produce and why people donate money to the foundation. We thus need to make sure that those who are doing the writing / editing / curating have the tools they need to function as effectively as possible. Many of these volunteers put in thousands of hours and have developed a great deal of expertise on the writing of an open access encyclopedia. We need to harness this expertise to a greater extend. Listening to the community of volunteers is also a key aspect in keeping the community of volunteers healthy.
- The WMF needs to provide tech support for community lead ideas. They have begun doing so with the m:Community Tech project which is an important step forwards. Hopefully this team will grow
- Community members need to be given a greater roles in determining the direction the foundation is heading. We need more than representative democracy we need direct participatory democracy. For this to be effective we need transparency and open discussion.
- While ideally all staff will have direct involvement with the community (10% of their time). I realize that this is not always possible and some people while excellent in what they do are not interested in this engagement. All departments; however, must have someone directly involved with the community. And those who excel in this role should be promoted within the foundation.
IMO this was a bad idea. We need the foundation and the community working together as equals. I thus plan on proposing a statement that the use of this tool will not occur again except in very specific situations.
- RfC here
- Done While the tool has been removed it remains unclear if the sentiment behind its use still exists. And whether or not the same issue will arise simply by another means. We still need a formal statement from the WMF/Board
New software changes
Need community consultation and consensus. Language needs to reflect this reality which it did not previously here Flow will eventually replace the current Wikipedia talk page system. This has thankfully been fixed for this one specific instance but still work to do.
Wikipedians are Amazing people
And we need to be branding ourselves as such.
We have a statement from the prior chair of the board of the WMF User:Jan-Bart that in my opinion contains a fair number of falsehoods and false dichotomies. We are not being "pass[ed]... by left and right". Generating false fear in an effort to get through an agenda was not cool. Wikipedia has more or less maintained its position among the top websites over the last 5 years. In fact we have moved up a bit per Alexa.
While this is true "We have to get better at software development, roll-out, and user adoption." This does NOT mean we as a movement MUST accept roll-out of software without questioning it or that we CANNOT reject the bad bits. We need communities who reject the bad bits and we need to have our communities involvement in its development so less bad bits occur in the first place.
We all "want to attract new editors". Claims that some within the communities do not needs to stop. While people who make a couple of edits are nice they are not enough. We also need to grow and sustain our core communities of editors. These are the people who edit day in and day out and they are key to our existence. I am exceedingly proud to be among their number.
Additionally we are generally NOT geeks or social misfits and I cring whenever people call us that. In fact when it comes, to the core medical editors, the majority are healthcare professionals. About half of us have either a PhD or MD and another third have a BSc. How do I know this? I asked them and than published the results. I image this also applies to the core communities in many other topic areas.
We do not need to move faster. Moving fast breaks stuff. We do not want or need "dogfood". We need to move slowly and carefully together. And to do so we need to listen to each other. We must never again plan major strategy in secret and without each other.
Branding for our communities
Some thoughts of words we should associated with our editing communities:
- Yes: Smart, intelligent, hardworking, curious, highly educated, professional, diligent, interesting, cool, altruistic, caring
- No: Geek, nerd, misfit, isolated, kid, amateur
Undisclosed paid editing
The community struggles with armies of undisclosed paid sock puppets. Many of these operate Wikipedia editing businesses through Fiverr and Elance among other sites. The content they produce is typically promotional in nature and of questionable notability. Clean up consumes large amount of core community effort. Additionally our TOU and many policies prohibit these activities. The content produced and the manner in which it is produced also risk our shared "good name"
- The community needs the WMF support in addressing these issues
- The websites through which this business is being carried out are generally willing to work with us. We need the WMF to at least take part in these conversations.
Proposal for a new group of functionaries
I propose the creation of a new group of 5 elected WP:Functionaries to deal with concerns regarding undisclosed paid editing. These five individuals will be elected by the editing community at large, will be required to disclose their real life identity to the WMF, and will be given the ability to use WP:Check user.
Increase requirements for creating articles
We face an issue with armies of socks creating promotional articles. We should force them to use a single account or go through AfC to decrease issues. One way to do this would be to increase the requirements before a user can create a new article.
Disallow direct paid editing in certain topic areas
In medicine direct to consumer advertising is not allowed in most of the world. We should disallow direct editing of article by reps of manufacturers and PR firms.
Increasing editor numbers
We need to grow the size of our editing communities. Many possible strategies exist. Trial and error is likely the required method of determining what works and what doesn't. We need to experiment but with clear criteria regarding what counts as success.
- One idea I support is a trial of a banner inviting people to edit as described here and here.
- Collaborations with other organizations can be beneficial but often take substantial engagement from the existing community. Thus they are not always scalable.
- With respect to recruitment, looking at who is currently contributes and why they do so might be helpful for targeting recruitment to those who are most likely to become heavily involved with only a minimum of recruitment.
Currently our global definition of "personal information" defined here  does not roll out to the CU/OS people globally. IMO they should. I would thus propose:
be it resolved that the Foundation definition of "personal information" will be incorporated into the oversight policies of all projects
While those in the developed world have traditionally used desktops to view Wikipedia content, how the world uses the Internet and digital content is changing. We need to adapt to these changes and accommodate the information gathering habits of the next few billion people coming online.
In the last couple of years we have seen a significant fall in desktop traffic on En Wikipedia in the order of 25% to 50%. This has been partly but not completely compensated by a huge increase in mobile . We however should be seeing increasing in readership not stagnating.
We also need to aggressively pursue other methods of distribution. Not everyone has reliable or inexpensive access to the Internet. In some areas large parts of the Internet get blocked on a regular basis (for example Iran and China) and data is prohibitively expensive in much of the world even by first world standards.
In collaboration with WMCH we at WPMEDF have recently come out with an offline mobile medical app in EN with other languages coming soon. We however need to get this content in front of people. Method could include having it preloaded on phones before they are shipped in partnerships with cellphone manufacturers or having it built into the OS as a native app in partnership with Google and Apple.
We had discussed collaborations with GSMA regarding preloading content and are currently in discussions with The Mother and Child Health and Education Trust which has agreements with manufacturers to preload videos. We need our content available on not only smartphones but also feature phones. We would love to see our text included in this initiative.
CC BY SA NC videos
Should we allow some CC BY SA NC videos? We currently allow music clips under fair use such as here.