Fred Bauder | 1 Feb 02:12 2011
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Gender gap mailing list

--------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: [Internal-l] Gender gap mailing list
From:    "Erik Moeller"
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2011/1/31 Sue Gardner <sgardner <at> wikimedia.org>:
> I agree with Kat & Phoebe that there's value in a list focused on
> outreach in general, and I agree also that gender is a subset of
> outreach/welcomingness and so forth. But personally I think there's
> sufficient energy and interest in gender to dedicate a list to that
> alone. And if there isn't, the list would wither with no harm done.

Per the above, I've gone ahead and created:

https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/gendergap

I'll leave it to Sue and others to advertise it further, including on
public lists, blogs, etc. :-).

--

-- 
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Stephanie Daugherty | 1 Feb 01:07 2011
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Re: NY Times article on gender gap in Wikipedia contributors

Regarding vested contributors, they are both a good and a bad thing -
good in that retaining them means retaining experience, bad in that
some of them have a sense of entitlement and that a few attract a
"posse" that helps them to realize that entitlement.

Cabalism is an unfortunate side effect of weak governance - banding
into factions helps some to pursue their own agendas even if that is
just to derail any sort of change that would weaken their position.

Rfa reform and attempts to streamline desysopping have been largely
stonewalled by relatively few people. Thats just one area but one of
the longest running ones.

I think a good next step might be to start a public debate on the
issues we are now facing and invite the wmf trustees to participate in
and lead the discussion.

I don't think we need to rush headfirst into changes but we can't keep
letting a few particularly loud and persistant voices keep throwing us
off track for years at a time either so someone is going to have to
get the ball rolling and have enough push to keep it moving.

On 1/31/11, Risker <risker.wp <at> gmail.com> wrote:
> On 31 January 2011 14:38, David Gerard <dgerard <at> gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> On 31 January 2011 18:23, Risker <risker.wp <at> gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> > In what way, David? I'm sorry, but the Arbitration Committee isn't
>> Wikipedia
>> > Governance Central.
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Marc Riddell | 1 Feb 03:20 2011
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Re: NY Times article on gender gap in Wikipedia contributors

Truth is, I'm not even sure I want to get into this. And, for the record,
this inquiry concerns only the English Wikipedia Project. I spend 99% of the
time I have to devote to the English Wikipedia Project at editing articles;
the other 1% being spent on the Mailing Lists. So, consequently, I know very
little about the authority structure that exists in the Project. But
something that has been bothering me for some time now; something that has
been touched on very cautiously at various times on this List; and something
that I firmly believe is at the root of many of the problems that have been
discussed on this List (and elsewhere) for some time now. What is the actual
chain of authority that now exists in the Project? This I am certain of:
Sue Gardner is the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. Just like
any corporate structure, her line of authority is clear enough. The
Foundation oversees (my term) and provides the technical equipment and
funding to operate the Project. Is there a similar "structure", "line of
authority" or "buck stops here" entity within the English Wikipedia Project.
Would, could, someone please help me to see and understand it? I need some
basics here so that I can take part in any discussion.

Marc Riddell

on 1/31/11 7:07 PM, Stephanie Daugherty at sdaugherty <at> gmail.com wrote:

> Regarding vested contributors, they are both a good and a bad thing -
> good in that retaining them means retaining experience, bad in that
> some of them have a sense of entitlement and that a few attract a
> "posse" that helps them to realize that entitlement.
> 
> Cabalism is an unfortunate side effect of weak governance - banding
> into factions helps some to pursue their own agendas even if that is
> just to derail any sort of change that would weaken their position.
(Continue reading)

Fred Bauder | 1 Feb 03:28 2011
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Re: NY Times article on gender gap in Wikipedia contributors

> Truth is, I'm not even sure I want to get into this. And, for the record,
> this inquiry concerns only the English Wikipedia Project. I spend 99% of
> the
> time I have to devote to the English Wikipedia Project at editing
> articles;
> the other 1% being spent on the Mailing Lists. So, consequently, I know
> very
> little about the authority structure that exists in the Project. But
> something that has been bothering me for some time now; something that
> has
> been touched on very cautiously at various times on this List; and
> something
> that I firmly believe is at the root of many of the problems that have
> been
> discussed on this List (and elsewhere) for some time now. What is the
> actual
> chain of authority that now exists in the Project? This I am certain of:
> Sue Gardner is the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. Just
> like
> any corporate structure, her line of authority is clear enough. The
> Foundation oversees (my term) and provides the technical equipment and
> funding to operate the Project. Is there a similar "structure", "line of
> authority" or "buck stops here" entity within the English Wikipedia
> Project.
> Would, could, someone please help me to see and understand it? I need
> some
> basics here so that I can take part in any discussion.
>
> Marc Riddell

(Continue reading)

Marc Riddell | 1 Feb 03:54 2011
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Wikipedia Leadership (was NY Times article on gender gap in Wikipedia contributors}


>> Truth is, I'm not even sure I want to get into this. And, for the record,
>> this inquiry concerns only the English Wikipedia Project. I spend 99% of
>> the
>> time I have to devote to the English Wikipedia Project at editing
>> articles;
>> the other 1% being spent on the Mailing Lists. So, consequently, I know
>> very
>> little about the authority structure that exists in the Project. But
>> something that has been bothering me for some time now; something that
>> has
>> been touched on very cautiously at various times on this List; and
>> something
>> that I firmly believe is at the root of many of the problems that have
>> been
>> discussed on this List (and elsewhere) for some time now. What is the
>> actual
>> chain of authority that now exists in the Project? This I am certain of:
>> Sue Gardner is the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. Just
>> like
>> any corporate structure, her line of authority is clear enough. The
>> Foundation oversees (my term) and provides the technical equipment and
>> funding to operate the Project. Is there a similar "structure", "line of
>> authority" or "buck stops here" entity within the English Wikipedia
>> Project.
>> Would, could, someone please help me to see and understand it? I need
>> some
>> basics here so that I can take part in any discussion.
>> 
>> Marc Riddell
(Continue reading)

George Herbert | 1 Feb 04:14 2011
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Re: Wikipedia Leadership (was NY Times article on gender gap in Wikipedia contributors}

On Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 6:54 PM, Marc Riddell
<michaeldavid86 <at> comcast.net> wrote:
>
>[...]
> And if changes were proposed to this present system, who (or what entity)
> would approve and implement them?

The community, by consensus, for approval.  Whoever chose to
participate and was allowed to do so, for implementation.

Part of the greater problem is that self-selection by interest (our
current mechanism for involvement in change and implementation) does
not select for competence or for agreement with the consensus (or with
what the consensus stands for).

We lack a functional dictator (or president) to cut the knot and enact
efficiently; Jimmy might be able to do so, but burned a lot of his
"street cred" with the community writ large with the incident that led
to reductions in founder bit authority.  I personally disagree with
that, but I see a clear problem with community accepting his fiat now.
 Facing any significant opposition his position would not be an
effective tiebreaker.

--

-- 
-george william herbert
george.herbert <at> gmail.com

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phoebe ayers | 1 Feb 04:26 2011
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Re: NY Times article on gender gap in Wikipedia contributors

On Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 2:34 PM, Risker <risker.wp <at> gmail.com> wrote:
> The only people in the WMF projects I regularly participate in who are
> formally recognized as leaders are the WMF trustees.  I would love to see
> them being more public in sharing their opinions, their observations and
> their experiences; they have the opportunity to see things from a very
> different and much broader perspective than those of us at ground level. I
> am sure that HaeB would be happy to find a place on Signpost for a monthy
> "Discussion with a Trustee" that could then be flipped over to Translatewiki
> or wherever to share with multiple other projects.

Not a bad idea, I'll mention it to the rest of the Board.

Note that I think sometimes board members hesitate to speak up on
various topics because of the danger of one's personal opinion being
taken as an Official Board Position or Official Foundation Policy.
(Even when one knows better this is an easy distinction to blur).
Opinions are as diverse and numerous among the board as they are among
any group of thoughtful and experienced Wikimedians, but when the
board has an official position on something of course we speak as a
body.

As for Marc's question about project governance, Fred has it right;
projects are run by their communities. The Wikimedia Foundation, which
provides infrastructure support to those projects, is run by Sue and
her team, with ultimate responsibility for the Foundation (legal and
fiduciary) in the hands of the WMF Board of Trustees. The board
concerns itself with Foundation-level and global questions, not with
project-level issues. However, of course there are global questions
that affect all of the projects. In practice the board only makes
official statements about a limited number of things; you can see the
(Continue reading)

Marc Riddell | 1 Feb 05:02 2011
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Re: Wikipedia Leadership (was NY Times article on gender gap in Wikipedia contributors}


> On Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 6:54 PM, Marc Riddell
> <michaeldavid86 <at> comcast.net> wrote:
>> 
>> [...]
>> And if changes were proposed to this present system, who (or what entity)
>> would approve and implement them?
> 
on 1/31/11 10:14 PM, George Herbert at george.herbert <at> gmail.com wrote:

> The community, by consensus, for approval.  Whoever chose to
> participate and was allowed to do so, for implementation.

This may have worked when the Community was the size it was in the
beginning, but how, with such a enormous Community that has evolved, do you
determine consensus?
> 
> Part of the greater problem is that self-selection by interest (our
> current mechanism for involvement in change and implementation) does
> not select for competence or for agreement with the consensus (or with
> what the consensus stands for).
> 
> We lack a functional dictator (or president) to cut the knot and enact
> efficiently; Jimmy might be able to do so, but burned a lot of his
> "street cred" with the community writ large with the incident that led
> to reductions in founder bit authority.  I personally disagree with
> that, but I see a clear problem with community accepting his fiat now.
> Facing any significant opposition his position would not be an
> effective tiebreaker.
> 
(Continue reading)

Fred Bauder | 1 Feb 05:39 2011
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Re: Wikipedia Leadership (was NY Times article on gender gap in Wikipedia contributors}


>>
>> Editing, content, and on-wiki policy is in the hands of the editing
>> community, limited by their ability to agree.
>>
>> The exception is actions which create potential liabilities.
>>
>> Heavy responsibility I know...
>>
>> Fred Bauder
>
> And if changes were proposed to this present system, who (or what entity)
> would approve and implement them?
>
> Marc

The community. The board cannot take control over content without
assuming a crushing legal liability. To say nothing of losing most of
their volunteers.

They can, as editors, take the lead in policy discussions much as members
of the arbitration committee can, but many such initiatives fail.

Fred Bauder

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Carcharoth | 1 Feb 05:43 2011

Re: Wikipedia Leadership (was NY Times article on gender gap in Wikipedia contributors}

On Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 4:02 AM, Marc Riddell <michaeldavid86 <at> comcast.net> wrote:

> It's time.

To march on Tahrir Square?

I think you will find that "Choosing a leader" only works if you have
the mechanisms in place to do so.

I'm not even sure it is *possible* to lead an entity like Wikipedia.

Horses being led to water to drink and old dogs being taught new
tricks come to mind.

Carcharoth

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