Mailing List Archive

Official Positions
There have been a variety of discussions on meta about Official
Positions [OP]; some of them recent. See
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Official_position
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_agenda/Open_questions_2#Positions

This is one of the major elements of discussion at today's Board meeting.

I would like to present a somewhat contra-OP argument that the core of
WP's success has not been its exclusive delegation of responsibility
to individuals, but rather its successful empowerment of /all/ of its
users, even new ones, to jump in and do what needs to be done.
Providing Officers with unique power and authority is a two-edged
sword; it encourages those individuals to take extra responsibility,
and provides them with authority to herd other volunteers. But simply
going out and working diligently on a project provides a similar
authority, and an internal, rather than an external, sense of
responsibility.

The existence of rare, Board-sanctioned official positions in areas
where there is not already an active group of un-official Wikipedians,
can discourage the rest of the community from jumping in, and adds
heirarchy and single points of failure to what would otherwise (in the
case of a pressing event) be an open system.

I would be comfortable with the creation of special interest groups
based around the priorities of the community and the foundation,
before deciding on individuals to represent those interests. Creating
titled individuals to carve out new interest groups, as has been
suggested in the past, is certainly unwiki and probably unscalable.

--
+sj+
Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
Other hasty thoughts on a busy morning: the following are very different:
1) Entitling a point-of-contact or trusted position with authority to
make autonomous decisions without consulting [the board], while
requiring in return transparency and discussion with [the community]
beforehand
2) Entitling such a person to make decisions without consulting with
anyone, to privately filter or veto similar efforts of others, or to
force all related efforts to go through him/her.

Hopefully the official positions conceived are of the first type; the
current meta page on the subject does not quite specify.

SJ
Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
Sj wrote:
> I would like to present a somewhat contra-OP argument that the core of
> WP's success has not been its exclusive delegation of responsibility
> to individuals, but rather its successful empowerment of /all/ of its
> users, even new ones, to jump in and do what needs to be done.

Absolutely. This is key. The official positions should be thought of
as people who are co-ordinating and advising and communicating, not
people who are solely responsible for doing things, or who are the boss
of other people.

> Providing Officers with unique power and authority is a two-edged
> sword; it encourages those individuals to take extra responsibility,
> and provides them with authority to herd other volunteers. But simply
> going out and working diligently on a project provides a similar
> authority, and an internal, rather than an external, sense of
> responsibility.

This is an excellent observation.

What this should be thought of is as a formalization _only_ of something
that has gone on for a long time anyway. People take responsibility for
something, they co-ordinate it, they advise, they communicate. And
especially when it comes to interfacing with the outside world, or
interfacing with the board, it is better if we have some clarity -- this
is the primary purpose of identifying people with particular positions.

> I would be comfortable with the creation of special interest groups
> based around the priorities of the community and the foundation,
> before deciding on individuals to represent those interests. Creating
> titled individuals to carve out new interest groups, as has been
> suggested in the past, is certainly unwiki and probably unscalable.

It absolutely should not be a process of creating, but rather of
recognizing.

--Jimbo
Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
Jimmy Wales a écrit:
> Sj wrote:
>
>>I would like to present a somewhat contra-OP argument that the core of
>>WP's success has not been its exclusive delegation of responsibility
>>to individuals, but rather its successful empowerment of /all/ of its
>>users, even new ones, to jump in and do what needs to be done.
>
>
> Absolutely. This is key. The official positions should be thought of
> as people who are co-ordinating and advising and communicating, not
> people who are solely responsible for doing things, or who are the boss
> of other people.

I totally agree as well.

I also think that Angela and I were somehow this year in one of those
"official position", and though none of us is perfect (admittedly, we
fail sometimes), I believe we were more on the side of co-ordinating,
advising and communication (at least in the areas we could understand
:-)), than just deciding it all with authority without letting room for
others to jump in.

I do not see official positions as different. No official should be
expected nor encouraged to take care entirely of an issue, nor should he
try to force volunteers. I doubt that would work well :-)

This said, there is what is written about a role... and human side...

To my opinion, what might limit the most people from "jumping in" is a
mixture of miscommunication or lack of communication or restricted
information. If one does not say what is going on, the new comer does
not have any grip.

However, if we try to communicate the best we can (through Quarto, the
irc channel, various mailing lists, the wmf website), there will always
be some issues which will be privately discussed (and which will have to
be privately discussed).

At this point, it is at the same time to role of the newbie to be bold,
and the role of some involved persons to take care of babysitting the
newcomer to get him involved.

It may sounds weird to say... but I think those already involved have
little to fear from the multiplication of official positions. They are
already part of the team anyway.

What there is to fear is that
* some editors leave, so should be replaced
* there is more and more work to do, so more help would be good
* some projects and some languages are badly represented. We should
focus on these ones to get them involved.

Ant
Official Positions [ In reply to ]
Although many people do wonderful for Wikimedia and its projects, I
would like to formally recognize a few of those people today. Daniel
Mayer has had the title of Chief Financial Officer for the last year,
and has done some amazing work in this role, often despite being in
the difficult situation of not having access to the Foundation's bank
account. I would like to invite him to continue in this role for the
following year, with the promise of getting him better access to the
data, by changing banks if necessary. (Don't get me started about
stupid online banking systems!)

In addition, there are a number of positions where it would be
extremely useful to the Foundation to have a key person the Board can
maintain contact with, and as such, I would like to appoint the
following people, subject to them being happy with these positions:

Chief Technical Officer (servers and development): Brion Vibber
Hardware Officer: Domas Mituzas
Developer Liaison: Jens Frank
Chief Research Officer: Erik Möller
Grants Coordinator: Danny Wool
Press Officer: Elian
Lead Legal co-ordination: Jean-Baptiste Soufron

Angela has written some brief descriptions of these roles at
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Official_position#New_positions_proposed
but the exact tasks are not yet defined, and will more likely become
apparent as each of these people makes the role their own.

I would encourage these people to work closely with, and even help to
formulate committees within Wikimedia. Sj has made a very good
suggestion at
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Official_position#Special_Interest_Groups
for a number of Special Interest Groups. These appointed positions do
not have any special power within any of those groups, but serve as a
point of contact to the Board, and to the community, to ensure that
information is flowing between all concerned parties within their own
fields of expertise. The appointment is a reflection of the work these
people are already doing in these areas, and should not be seen as a
disincentive to others to become involved. (To the contrary, I hope
that formal recognition and appreciation can serve as a further
incentive, not that we really need a lot of that since everyone is
working so hard already!)

-- Jimbo
Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
These official positions are intended for assisting external
collaboration, and for honour and recognition, is that correct? Rather
than authority and leadership? Also, people will be allowed to deal with
external organisations without an official title, on the same terms that
they do now, won't they? That is to say, although certain official
positions may carry the power to speak "on behalf of the foundation",
that won't inhibit other people from doing various external activities
in aid of the foundation, such as Thomas Koll's WikiReader publication,
or Erik's collaboration with Kennisnet?

-- Tim Starling
Re: Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
Tim Starling wrote:
> These official positions are intended for assisting external
> collaboration, and for honour and recognition, is that correct? Rather
> than authority and leadership? Also, people will be allowed to deal with
> external organisations without an official title, on the same terms that
> they do now, won't they? That is to say, although certain official
> positions may carry the power to speak "on behalf of the foundation",
> that won't inhibit other people from doing various external activities
> in aid of the foundation, such as Thomas Koll's WikiReader publication,
> or Erik's collaboration with Kennisnet?

wikimedia is a community project - and as such I see these people's
roles mostly in coordinating work in one field. It should of course not
limit anyone from undertaking anything, it should rather give them
someone to speak to (the past has shown that the three people on the
board doing the work were often a bit overwhelmed with questions, offers
for help/cooperations/approval of such things as the wikireaders etc.).

That's at least how I define my role in this: not writing all press
releases myself, but helping to establish press teams in the projects,
ensure that they are in contact with each other, that they get the
necessary tools for their work, that people get help when they want to
organize a wikipedia presentation at their university etc.

greetings,
elian
Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
Jimbo,

I accept the appointment as Chief Research Officer, and thank you for
your trust, and for this recognition. Given Anthere's posting here on
positions that were appointed by you before the Board was created:

http://mail.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2005-April/002998.html

.. I would briefly like to ask the rest of the Board to comment on
whether they consider these new official positions to be fully valid,
i.e. "official" official positions that will be listed on the Foundation
website etc. It is my understanding that this appointment reflects an
internal agreement of the Board, but it would be nice to have a
confirmation of that belief.

As for what exactly Chief Research Officer means, I am working on a more
comprehensive proposal for an open (!) Wikimedia Research Team that I
will put on Meta later today, and which includes a definition of this
role. (The Board is familiar with this proposal.) I will state here in
advance that I consider it to be a role that exists *alongside*
development and is in no way intended to interfere with the existing
software development processes.

As Tim correctly notes, it's important that we're not introducing a new
element of authority here, but primarily first points of contact for
certain issues. Beyond that, I think the holders of these official
positions should take a basic *organizational* role in the fields they
are working in, e.g., propose meetings and agendas, though that is
certainly also an open process. I also see it as my role to write
regular reports, and to build bridges between the Board, other
researchers, and the community.

Regarding Sj's earlier arguments, I believe it *is* important that we
have titles like these. Giving people a title is free, and it's a nice
way to show appreciation, especially when we only have 2 elected members
of the community on the Board. It would not be fair to have these two
titles, "Vice President of Wikimedia" (Anthere) and "Executive Secretary
of Wikimedia" (Angela), while delegating all other users to be mere
members of vague "Special Interest Groups" -- this only creates jealousy
and friction, not to mention that it overloads these two members of the
community. More on this in my Research Team proposal.

All that being said, with the exception of Brion and Chad, Wikimedia is
still just a hobby for all of us, including even the trustees. I
therefore hope it goes without saying that any time commitments I can
give to this may change based on real life requirements. However, I
consider this role more important than anything else I've done within
Wikimedia, and will shift most of my activities towards it.

I personally consider Wikimedia and the principles for which it stands
to be of historical significance. There's more than just the much-cited
peer review issues (which I definitely want to work on), and Wikimedia
is not just Wikipedia. One of my key goals, in fact, is to help these
other ideas to really take off:
* to create and distribute free and reliable learning resources on any
topic (Wikibooks)
* to build a neutral and open news source with citizen reporters around
the planet (Wikinews)
* to digitize and translate source texts into as many languages as
possible (Wikisource)
* to define every word in every language (including sign languages) and
to make these free dictionaries easy to search, download, use and
interface with (Wiktionary)
* to build the world's largest repository of useful and free media
content, to harness the creative energy of millions to create original
videos, photos and artwork for our projects, and to make the whole thing
easy to search and use (Wikimedia Commons)
* to open up the gigantic field of structured databases to the wiki
model, from databases of scientific articles to catalogs of movies and
books, from chemical structures to biological taxonomies (Wikidata)
* to establish a free, world-wide institution of learning,
certification, research and publication that allows anyone to
participate (what I call Wikisophia).

Take all this, and everything else we're doing and will be doing, and
imagine we succeed in only half of the goals we set for ourselves, and
you get an idea how important the whole thing is. It's a massive
challenge, but it would be a grave error in judgment not to undertake it.

As Jimmy said in a recent radio interview, "There's no going back." The
collaborative model is here to stay. We have the chance to lay the
groundwork for the knowldege society of tomorrow. In many ways, we have
already done it, but Wikipedia today is merely scratching the surface of
what is possible.

I'm too much of a futurist to imagine Wikimedia's technology in 10 or 20
years as recognizable from our perspective today, but the content we are
creating, the global community we are building, and the basic
organizational framework: these things will continue to exist. I cannot
imagine being part of a single more interesting project in the world today.

All best,

Erik
official positions [ In reply to ]
>Jimbo,>I accept the appointment as Chief Research Officer, and thank you for >your trust, and for this recognition. Given Anthere's posting here on >positions that were appointed by you before the Board was created:>http://mail.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2005-April/002998.html>.. I would briefly like to ask the rest of the Board to comment on >whether they consider these new official positions to be fully valid, >i.e. "official" official positions that will be listed on the Foundation >website etc. It is my understanding that this appointment reflects an >internal agreement of the Board, but it would be nice to have a >confirmation of that belief.

Hello

Yes, the appointments reflect an internal agreement of the board.
However, since it was highly official decision, we considered it appropriate that Jimbo announced it,
which is his role as the president of Wikimedia Foundation.


As previously indicated, the board does not take decisions by vote, but by consensus.
This means all positions given received opinions between strong support to neutral opinion.



They will be officially listed on the Foundation website. Titles may be used for any communication, such as in email signature or business cards.



A year ago, as a candidate to the board, I made this proposal of official positions to be set up.
I am glad that these aquire more reality today.



As you mention it, titles are nice. But this in itself is not enough to warantee the creation of them :-)



Titles help making contact outside, as they allow a person to be recognised as one trusted.

However, titles can only be given to a limited number of people, while dozen are interested by working with the "outside".

One thing I hope is that the officers we name try to gather around them more people to create a team,

and that all members of a team will be recognised as such.
For example, I hope that the press department is able on time to gather a team of local press contact in every part of the world.
I also hope that the legal department is able to gather members from many countries, so that we can benefit of a coverage of legal issues by the most informed people.

I could foresee that the grant department is proposing some large divisions, such as the Asian team, the European team and so on.



What I expect from officers is not to keep proudly their title, but to try to organise and foster cooperation, between projects, between languages, thanks to the participation of a whole team.







This won't happen in 3 months. It will build over time. Let's avoid hurrying, but plant the seeds so that it happens.







One point I want to make clear is that we do not want to introduce an element of authority here.
Officers are free to resign any time for whatever reason they consider important (or to refuse nomination...)
They are free to try to do their best. They have no special authority on any of the volunteers work.
I think they should have no special authority on Wikimedia employees either, aside from making recommandations to the board or to Jimbo
(this point is my opinion, and need input from Jimbo and Angela).
Similarly, I think employees should feel free to object an order given by an officer (this point is my opinion, and need input from Jimbo and Angela).
And volunteers most definitly stay free to participate to any of these issues concerned by an official title, whether within the official team or not.





Officers should be good stewards of their title and position.
It would be best that they are careful not to overstep. For example sending a press release which is not approved by the community is not okay.
Agreeing to a partnership without any previous discussion is not okay. But I believe officers are reasonable people and will avoid such traps which might result in an uproar :-)





Another point to clarify. For most parts, the positions given reflect the reality of what is currently happening.
For example, Danny has been leading most of the past year efforts toward grants.
So, an official position is not going to change much, except for helping him to contact external people with more authority,
and being an incentive to him to feel free to take the leadership on this topic.
As an example, in hope it would foster ideas and directions of development, I organised a meetup on grants a few months ago.
I believe Danny could be the organiser of such meetups.

Another example is the legal department. A lot of it was fostered by Aurevilly. In hope to get it move forward, I suggested the creation
of the juriwiki-l, which is meant to gather legal people to hack arising legal issues.
Soufron, also a member of Wikimedia France, is currently its moderator and very involved in many matters.
We believe he might be interested in trying to develop the legal department.







I think officers will help organise all Foundation issues.

This said, we are aware there are some potential drawbacks, such as editors not feeling empowered any more to do things themselves,
if there is an official person doing it. I really hope this does NOT happen in the future.
With probably the exception of finances (which is a bit different since it requires access to banking information in particular),
anyone not only should, but must feel free to do things like writing a press release, sending it, giving interview, looking for a grant,
trying to set up a partnership, send a copyright violation letter and so on.







But... what we want to make clear is this : we are now within the 50 top websites in the world (possibly english website top, but anyway, we are big).
This implies a lot of work for the board. An amount of work that board members can not assume alone. The board needs your help.

And amongst the things which could greatly help is trying to canalize information, so that board members are not constantly flooded by information.

This is first extremely tiring, as we spend a lot of time trying to understand issues, then trying to fix it ourselves or find someone to try to fix it.

If this is becoming difficult today, I expect it will be even more difficult in the future.



We believe official positions will first help us delegate some of the issues to a team.
Second, we hope that the teams themselves may over time become the recipiendaries of most of the issues,
themselves make requests to the board when (and only when) it requires the board advice, and generally try to give good overviews/reports to the board so it can make informed decisions.







Concerning the current official positions, we focused on the ones which appeared to us the most urgent ones and the most likely to benefit from contacts with the outside world.

ie, issues which most needed organisation and issues where official titles would best help.
If the nominees are not interested... well, others can candidate, or we can wait a couple of months to get more feedback before giving an official position.










>As for what exactly Chief Research Officer means, I am working on a more >comprehensive proposal for an open (!) Wikimedia Research Team that I >will put on Meta later today, and which includes a definition of this >role. (The Board is familiar with this proposal.) I will state here in >advance that I consider it to be a role that exists *alongside* >development and is in no way intended to interfere with the existing >software development processes.>As Tim correctly notes, it's important that we're not introducing a new >element of authority here, but primarily first points of contact for >certain issues. Beyond that, I think the holders of these official >positions should take a basic *organizational* role in the fields they >are working in, e.g., propose meetings and agendas, though that is >certainly also an open process. I also see it as my role to write >regular reports, and to build bridges between the Board, other >researchers, and the community.>Regarding Sj's earlier
arguments, I believe it *is* important that we >have titles like these. Giving people a title is free, and it's a nice >way to show appreciation, especially when we only have 2 elected members >of the community on the Board. It would not be fair to have these two >titles, "Vice President of Wikimedia" (Anthere) and "Executive Secretary >of Wikimedia" (Angela), while delegating all other users to be mere >members of vague "Special Interest Groups" -- this only creates jealousy >and friction, not to mention that it overloads these two members of the >community. More on this in my Research Team proposal.



But Sj is also right that giving an official title to one person only,
while in reality dozen of people are participating, may foster jealousy as well.





>All that being said, with the exception of Brion and Chad, Wikimedia is >still just a hobby for all of us, including even the trustees. I >therefore hope it goes without saying that any time commitments I can >give to this may change based on real life requirements. However, I >consider this role more important than anything else I've done within >Wikimedia, and will shift most of my activities towards it.

I agree with this.

I also considered my role as board member as more important than my professional activity :-)

Hmmm... I actually considered most of what I ever did for wikipedia
(and to a lesser extent to the other projects in which I have participated less) as more important than my professional activity :-)



And given the level of participation of many of the editors I daily work with, I guess this is true for many others.



However, since we are volunteers, it is an unfortunate fact of life that we have to do things like having a job to be able to pay for the rent, buy clothes for the kids, food...

And it is an unfortunate fact of life that having a job takes time and energy. And implies overloading board.
Officers are also an answer for this.



Officers may not be the perfect solution in a collaborative, volunteer based, hierarchy-light (if not hierarchy-free) project,
but I believe it is a step in the direction of a sustainable organisation.





I hope that all nominees accept their nominations. But if they refuse, that is okay.
If they decide more time should be given, for whatever reason, this is okay to wait and take a decision later.

And of course, I hope I will be able to go on working with them ;-)





ant







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Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
--- Jimmy Wales <jwales@wikia.com> wrote:
> Although many people do wonderful for Wikimedia and its projects, I
> would like to formally recognize a few of those people today. Daniel
> Mayer has had the title of Chief Financial Officer for the last year,
> and has done some amazing work in this role, often despite being in
> the difficult situation of not having access to the Foundation's bank
> account. I would like to invite him to continue in this role for the
> following year, with the promise of getting him better access to the
> data, by changing banks if necessary. (Don't get me started about
> stupid online banking systems!)

Thank you for the compliment and I accept your nomination. There is still so
much I would like to do in this position that is dependent on having near real
time access to the foundation’s financial data. So I very much so look forward
to getting read access to the foundation’s bank account (I will call the bank
today to get a detailed explanation on how you can set that up).

-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)


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Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
Thank you for the trust shown in me. I look forward to working closely with
everyone who is interested in this.

Danny
Re: Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
It sounds as though these positions are responsibilities to stay
informed and to be available to the Board, as much as they are for
'assisting external collaboration,' which, as Anthere noted, dozens of
community members do every month. Let's make sure that explicit
community groups form around each of these topics, so that there is
also parallel internal collaboration.

When opportunities for external collaboration arise, I hope the points
of contact continue to be distributed among those active in that area,
to further spread recognition of effort beyond these eight named
positions and to avoid overloading anyone.

By the way, we may be slowly countering our own systemic bias, but we
are still enormous geeks -- half of the positions are related to
technology! And the rest to money, glory, and the Law. Content and
usability must fit in somewhere... I suppose those are too fundamental
and important to have made the list, rather than too boring and
silent. Still, a usability group and a content quality group are much
needed; and similar officers would have work enough to stay busy.

-- SJ



On 5/25/05, Tim Starling <t.starling@physics.unimelb.edu.au> wrote:
> These official positions are intended for assisting external
> collaboration, and for honour and recognition, is that correct? Rather
> than authority and leadership? Also, people will be allowed to deal with
> external organisations without an official title, on the same terms that
> they do now, won't they? That is to say, although certain official
> positions may carry the power to speak "on behalf of the foundation",
> that won't inhibit other people from doing various external activities
> in aid of the foundation, such as Thomas Koll's WikiReader publication,
> or Erik's collaboration with Kennisnet?
>
> -- Tim Starling
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l@wikimedia.org
> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>


--
+sj+
_ _ :-------.-.--------.--.--------.-.--------.--.--------[...]
Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
Sj a écrit:
> It sounds as though these positions are responsibilities to stay
> informed and to be available to the Board, as much as they are for
> 'assisting external collaboration,' which, as Anthere noted, dozens of
> community members do every month. Let's make sure that explicit
> community groups form around each of these topics, so that there is
> also parallel internal collaboration.
>
> When opportunities for external collaboration arise, I hope the points
> of contact continue to be distributed among those active in that area,
> to further spread recognition of effort beyond these eight named
> positions and to avoid overloading anyone.
>
> By the way, we may be slowly countering our own systemic bias, but we
> are still enormous geeks -- half of the positions are related to
> technology! And the rest to money, glory, and the Law. Content and
> usability must fit in somewhere... I suppose those are too fundamental
> and important to have made the list, rather than too boring and
> silent. Still, a usability group and a content quality group are much
> needed; and similar officers would have work enough to stay busy.
>
> -- SJ


I am not very convinced. I think the positions selected really stick to
the Foundation issues. And it is not the Foundation role imho to get
involved with "content" or "quality" or "usability" directly. These are
more communities issues. Imho. Well, at least, this is my opinion right
now, I could be convinced otherwise.

Ant
Re: Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
On 5/26/05, Anthere <anthere9@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> I am not very convinced. I think the positions selected really stick to
> the Foundation issues. And it is not the Foundation role imho to get
> involved with "content" or "quality" or "usability" directly. These are
> more communities issues. Imho.

From the bylaws, as good a starting point as any :
"The goals of the foundation are to encourage the further growth
and development of open content, social sofware WikiWiki-based
projects (see http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki) and to provide the
full contents of those projects to the public free of charge."

"further growth" - why encourage 'further growth', and not just
'growth'? Growth is not merely in size. The projects should
continue to find new dimensions in which to grow; in audience and
quality and a variety of verbosity levels and more... as well as in
breadth and depth.

"and development" - it is not enough for projects to grow, they should
also develop in accordance with with other goals. improved interfaces
and improved usability, for instance, also improve the ability of the
projects to 'provide their contents to the public.'

"social sofware" - (a typo in the original pdf) the social aspects of
the project are not incidental to the foundation, but central to its
growth and success. Any collection of contact points tasked by the
Board with keeping up with developments on the projects should include
someone with a sense of how the social aspects of the existing
software are working, how users feel about it, and how this can be
improved.

As to Chris M's suggestion of an additional government-relations
focus, I agree that this subject too merits regular attention, and a
few people who attend specifically to keeping up with it. Many
governments have subsections devoted to archiving, librarianship,
promotion of free knowledge and education, and other goals closely
aligned with those of Wiki[mp]edia.

SJ
Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
Sj a écrit:
> On 5/26/05, Anthere
<anthere9@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>>I am not very convinced. I think the positions selected really stick to
>>the Foundation issues. And it is not the Foundation role imho to get
>>involved with "content" or "quality" or "usability" directly. These are
>>more communities issues. Imho.
>
>
>>From the bylaws, as good a starting point as any :
> "The goals of the foundation are to encourage the further growth
> and development of open content, social sofware WikiWiki-based
> projects (see http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki) and to provide the
> full contents of those projects to the public free of charge."
>
> "further growth" - why encourage 'further growth', and not just
> 'growth'? Growth is not merely in size. The projects should
> continue to find new dimensions in which to grow; in audience and
> quality and a variety of verbosity levels and more... as well as in
> breadth and depth.
>
> "and development" - it is not enough for projects to grow, they should
> also develop in accordance with with other goals. improved interfaces
> and improved usability, for instance, also improve the ability of the
> projects to 'provide their contents to the public.'
>
> "social sofware" - (a typo in the original pdf) the social aspects of
> the project are not incidental to the foundation, but central to its
> growth and success. Any collection of contact points tasked by the
> Board with keeping up with developments on the projects should include
> someone with a sense of how the social aspects of the existing
> software are working, how users feel about it, and how this can be
> improved.

Okay :-)

> As to Chris M's suggestion of an additional government-relations
> focus, I agree that this subject too merits regular attention, and a
> few people who attend specifically to keeping up with it. Many
> governments have subsections devoted to archiving, librarianship,
> promotion of free knowledge and education, and other goals closely
> aligned with those of Wiki[mp]edia.
>
> SJ

Hmmm, I must have been distracted and missed this. where is this
discussion ?

Ant
Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
Jimmy Wales wrote:
> In addition, there are a number of positions where it would be
> extremely useful to the Foundation to have a key person the Board can
> maintain contact with, and as such, I would like to appoint the
> following people, subject to them being happy with these positions:
>
> Chief Technical Officer (servers and development): Brion Vibber

In case anybody was wondering otherwise, I do humbly accept. :)

Right now I'm engaged primarily in cleaning up MediaWiki 1.5 and
readying it for release and use on our servers. Performance testing, bug
fixes, final schema tweaks, and of course confirming that the upgrader
system works.

Actually taking the new system live will depend on a) it being ready ;)
and b) the database servers having sufficient space to work in. Right
now our master server Ariel is running very close to full; JeLuF and
others on the team are doing excellent work on tweaking things up and
setting up the external bulk text storage so we'll have room to
manipulate the data tables.

Probably we'll take a weekend to run conversions, a week or two from
now. It's not totally clear yet whether we'll have to take everything to
read-only during conversion, or if we'll be able to do a wiki at a time
without disruption.

-- brion vibber (brion @ pobox.com)
Re: Re: Official Positions [ In reply to ]
Tim Starling wrote:
> These official positions are intended for assisting external
> collaboration, and for honour and recognition, is that correct? Rather
> than authority and leadership?

Hmm, I think that's right, although to me the word "leadership" implies
something natural and normal, not imposed, so yes I expect these people
to embody qualities of leadership.

You didn't mention "communication", which for me is quite important.
One problem we have been having more often lately is that it's hard to
know who to talk to, if we want to know what's going on in some area.
Having someone be the focal point is hopefully helpful in that regard.

> Also, people will be allowed to deal with
> external organisations without an official title, on the same terms that
> they do now, won't they? That is to say, although certain official
> positions may carry the power to speak "on behalf of the foundation",
> that won't inhibit other people from doing various external activities
> in aid of the foundation, such as Thomas Koll's WikiReader publication,
> or Erik's collaboration with Kennisnet?

Absolutely.

--Jimbo