Katherine needs an assistant

Katherine just got a chief of staff, Ryan Merkley, but now Merkley is tweeting for another new hire, this one for the Washington DC office. I guess it’s a little lonely to be a chief of staff if there’s no staff to be chief of.

The announcement is here.
The devil as usual is in the details:

Office management and leadership

Take a strategic view to ensure a high-functioning office, where requests are dealt with swiftly, responses are timely, and teams work effectively together
Worry about the small details, and always remember how they connect to the big picture
Take and share notes for key meetings, including weekly executive meetings, and prepare summaries to share with staff
Manage expense reports and reimbursements for ED and Chief of Staff
Support onboarding of new executive staff
Plan and manage logistics for quarterly exec retreats, including venues, catering, celebrations, travel, and audio-visual needs
Manage inboxes for ED to ensure most important things get to the top; flag priority emails and communications; work with CoS to triage inbound general requests to appropriate staff or board; follow up to ensure things don’t get dropped

So I guess this means the days of sending Katherine an email and getting a personal response are over.

The other question, if Katherine still needs an assistant, exactly what does Merkley do?  It’s a great idea of course, just asking.

In other news, Ryan’s wife Kelsey just ran a marathon against her “imposter syndrome” and won.  Not sure what that is, and there are no further details, but apparently the correct response to this is to post photos of puppies in congratulation.

This is why I love Twitter so much. Ordinarily these people would be completely inaccessible, but though the miracle of technology we are able to see their thought processes in excruciating detail.

New fundraiser

If you have donated to the WMF in the past, check your inbox and check your spam, because rumor has it there is a new fundraiser for a remote brick-and-mortar WMF satellite office going around.  Yes, they are finally starting to act like a real non-profit.

Better act quickly though, because according to rumor, the $100 tickets are already sold out and they only have $250 tickets left.

Lomax v. WMF: Abd names names

No real surprises here.

Via reddit.

Abd has updated his pro se defamation lawsuit against the WMF to add names.

The TLDR: Abd’s website, where he posts all the court documents, is here.   The amended court case, naming names is item #16, in other words this document here.

Abd says the WMF does not have the right to publish his name in connection with a global ban.

Oddly enough, the global ban policy was just mentioned a few hours ago in a new Buzzfeed piece by Joseph Bernstein:

Though the foundation does not disclose the nature of the offenses it investigates, it is widely held among Wikipedians that “office actions” apply only to extreme cases: child pornography, pedophilia advocacy, terrorism, realistic threats.

Could the Golden Age of Wikipedia hagiography created by the Women In Red project’s PR now be drawing to a close?

There is now a “Go fund me” page for the lawsuit.  Abd says that at this point he is out of pocket $400, which someone has already reimbursed him for, so will not need funds unless the case goes forward.  and he now needs about $100 per person to serve the defendants.  I count 10 defendants, as Abd says he got the Wikimedia foundation and James Alexander on the same line by mistake, plus a new filing fee of $400, so that is around $1400.

In typical Abd style, there is also a link on his website for those who wish to donate to the WMF instead.

So now we wait to see if the case is dismissed.

Note: See previous piece about this: “Abd files a lawsuit”.

Another note: Mr. Lomax provides updates at https://np.reddit.com/r/Lomax_v_WMF/

T&S flowchart

Here is the flowchart the Trust and Safety says they use to determine office actions.

Looks like they forgot to add a few sections, though.

For instance “Does the person being harassed have a penis?” (Oh come on, you knew I was going to say that.)

Harassed person has penis?
No ======> take no action
Yes ======> go to next step

I think they are also leaving out how many times they actually do secretly go to arbcom and arbcom turns them down.

Harassed person has penis?
No ====> humbly ask arbcom to do something, arbcom will automatically refuse, unless penis
Arbcom refuses to take any action ====> WMF explains to harassed person, and surrounding persons who have witnessed the harassment, that they can not do anything about it, because arbcom

Yeah, that’s more like how it really is.

(And that’s why it can’t be Laura Hale, they just threw her to the wolves as a red herring. Have they not already said they would not identify the person(s) making the report?  Obviously she is just one of the previous things Fram was warned about. And what has happened to her as a result of this office action is the poster child case for keeping these things private.)

Global Wikimedia survey: penguins

The WMF doesn’t have harassment surveys anymore, it has Community Engagement Insights.

Penguin (left) and Edward Galvez WMF

I almost missed this on the mailing list because it looked like yet another are-we-having-fun yet research video.

So how about them there penguins.

The video is here, thirty-eight minutes and ten seconds.  I have embeded it at the end of the post.

The report is at Community Engagement Insights/2018 Report.  And yes, this is the survey that has all the gender statistics.  I have barely skimmed it and am still looking at the penguins; hopefully me or someone else will get around to reading and reflecting on the meaning of the survey. The Commons category is more fun: Category:Community Engagement Insights 2018. This is where you can find all the colorful charts with the circles and arrows.

Here are a few offhand observations.

Perceptions of leadership decreased 5.5% in the last year. (Did they read Kudpung’s hit piece in the Signpost?)  And Dutch Wikipedia was so bad that it was singled out for special mention in 5 different categories. And this after we’ve been led to believe by the “criticism” sites that Holland was a hippie utopia.

Harassment has not gone down. They don’t know if it went up, because they asked different questions this year. We do know that “22% felt unsafe or uncomfortable” in the last 12 months and that “71% reported being bullied or harassed”in the last 12 months.  This in spite of all the “Community Health” new hires and special grants.

What does this mean in terms of numbers?

“4,000 participants … answered 170 survey questions.”

So this means 880 felt unsafe and 2840 were harassed? No, it means 78% of 251 respondents never felt unsafe.  Therefore 55 of the 251 who answered the question did feel unsafe.  But it looks like there were 280 responses to the harassment question. So 71% of 280, or 198.8 people were harassed.

It is a complicated survey.  They have a special page to explain it.

Oh look over there!  Penguins!!!1!

This next one should be obvious. Ask Micheal Hardy.

54% of Wikimedians on the projects agree they are “freely able to express my thoughts without being attacked on Wikipedia”, women reported statistically significant lower scores than men.

It doesn’t give the breakdown between men and women.  Is there a reason for that?  It could be 100% of women and 8% of men.  It doesn’t say.

No raw numbers. At least I don’t see any, but I will keep looking.  The report is spread out over a dozen main pages and “team” subpages, so that’s some clicking.

Also, it’s only a summary. It doesn’t look like an entire report is available. There is a “CE Insights full survey 2018” file on Commons, but it is a list of survey questions for the translators.  Usually there is a PDF file of the powerpoint presentation on Commons, so you know that the presenter has released the slides under CC by-SA license.  The main project page says the data analysis is “pending” — last updated in March, so maybe they have more to do.

So do you like the penguins?


Community Health group releases ANI survey

Back in February, WMF employee Caroline Sinders posted to the community health noticeboard that “We are super keen to release our findings” on the ANI (Administrators’ Noticeboard/Incident) survey. This is the same Caroline Sinders whose recent conference presentation featured the “c-bomb” on a powerpoint slide.  Yup, that’s who the WMF has got working on “community health”.

The result were due March 1, but where were they? The survey was included in the annual plan, “Objective 1:…survey the participants at the Administrator’s Noticeboard for Incidents on their experience”, and there was even a signup page; …ah, there it is, a list of links intuitively placed on the talk page of the signup page.  And the results are here:

What about gender?

Almost 80% of participants identify as male.

So first things first, what about gender data? Here are the participants in the survey:

1 – Male (79.41%)
2 – Female (11.76%)
3 – Non-binary / third gender (0.74%)
4 – Prefer not to say (8.09%)

And that’s the last gender data you’re going to get out of them.  Do women think ANI  less fair than men do?  Are women less likely to get a fair response from the process than men?

Crickets.  You know they have the data.  They’re just not going to give it out. So what is new with the WMF.


So here are some other conclusions from the survey.

From the summary statement:

  • Only 27% of respondents indicated they were satisfied with the way that AN/I cases are handled.
  • 52.99% have specifically avoided making a report on ANI because they were afraid it would not be handled appropriately.

From the full survey data:

  • Almost 90% of survey participants have not been admonished or sanctioned as a result of being involved in an incident that was reported to AN/I in the last 12 months.
  • Almost half of respondents said that discussions on AN/I are “almost never” or “rarely” focused and neutral.
  • Almost half of respondents believe that AN/I reports of personal attacks are handled poorly. Less than 10% of respondents felt they are handled very well.
  • Almost two-fifths of participants reported they had avoided reporting an incident or taking part in a discussion on AN/I in the last 12 months, because they were afraid of retributions of any kind.
Have you avoided reporting one or more incidents to AN/I in the last 12 months, because you did not think it would be handled appropriately there?

> If you did not select “no” above, why did you think those incidents would not be handled appropriately?
participants (n) = 62
response buckets[a] = 83

74 participants (54.41%) did not enter a response for this question

1 – Avoiding drama (8.06%)
2 – Complex issues (12.90%)
3 – Toxicity (12.90%)
4 – Civility issues / threats (6.45%)
5 – Biased participants (9.68%)
6 – Defensive cliques (19.35%)
7 – Admin confidence (3.23%)
8 – Certain users protected (4.84%)
9 – Boomerang effect (12.90%)
10 – Easier to ignore the problem (8.06%)
11 – Ineffective / inconsistent (8.06%)
12 – No chance of action (8.06%)
13 – Bad past experience (6.45%)
14 – Too difficult / too much scrutiny (3.23%)
15 – Better options (6.45%)
16 – Other / meta (3.23%)

Well, that was depressing. What about the quantitative data analysis page?

  • Admins: in the last year there have been 322 unique admins involved in the ANI cases.
  • Boomerang: out of a total 3,083 cases, the reporter was blocked in 483 cases.
  • Newbies beware: 1,256 users have reported cases, the average age of their accounts is 6.29 years

Sumana re-boots

Sumana Harihareswara 2014Sumana Harihareswara, who delivered the keynote address at the 2014 Wikiconference USA, has announced her resignation from WMF effective Sept 30.
From the keynote speech, titled “Hospitality, Jerks, and What I Learned” :

Different people really learn incredibly differently. For instance, the Felder-Silverman Engineering Learning Styles suggest four main axes that different people vary on. Either way is good, but if you’re just going to be tailoring something for someone, they’ll learn even better.

Some people are more active learners: they want to bump into things and make mistakes, and that’s how they learn. Some people are more reflective learners: they prefer to look at a map first. Some people are more sensing learners: they prefer concrete examples. Some people are more intuitive learners, and they like to look at patterns and think about how things connect together. Visual versus verbal: do people want to make diagrams, or read or listen to words? …

I have changed the way that I teach and the way that I mentor and the way that I even ask little questions – answer little questions in IRC – based on knowing this…. Interpersonal conflict actually goes a lot smoother, because sussing out how other people are learning, and how they’re listening to me, and maybe what their mental model is that’s different from mine, makes a massive difference. It decreases friction and increases the productivity of that encounter.

The Felder-Silverman Engineering Learning Styles are named after Richard Felder and Barbara A. Soloman. Three guesses which Wikipedia article is a red link. More about the Index of Learning Styles here.

Harihareswara will remain on the board of directors at the Ada Initiative. On her personal blog, Harihaeswara talk about leaving the WMF:

I want to redefine myself and grow in new directions, … to have more of a blank slate and perhaps less of a public spotlight, to work face-to-face with a team here in New York City, and to exclude destructive communication from my life (yes, there’s some amount of burnout on toxic people and entitlement). One of the things I admire about Wikimedia’s best institutions is our willingness to reflect and reinvent when things are not working. I need to emulate that.

Music for the blog entry: “You Can’t Be Too Careful” by Moxy Früvous; “Level Up” by Vienna Teng; “Do It Anyway” by Ben Folds Five; “Teenagers, Kick Our Butts” by Dar Williams.  Imbedded:  “Level Up” by Vienna Tang and “Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine.


Level Up

so come out.
you have been waiting long enough.
you’re done with all the talk talk talk with nothing on the table.
it’s time to come on out.
there will be no sign from above.
you’ll only hear the knock knock knock of your own heart as signal.

if you are afraid, come out.
if you are awake, come out.
come out and level up.

begin again.
dynamite the dam on the flow.
your body feels the tock tock tock of time as it hammers.
lord we are all cinders
from a fire burning long ago,
but here it is the knock knock knock of your own heart that matters.

if you are afraid, come forth.
if you are alone, come forth now.
everybody here has loved and lost,
so level up and love again.

call it any name you need.
call it your 2.0, your rebirth, whatever –
so long as you can feel it all,
so long as all your doors are flung wide.
call it your day #1 in the rest of forever.

if you are afraid, give more.
if you are alive, give more now.
everybody here has seams and scars.
so what. level up.

let your faith die.
bring your wonder.
yes, you are only one.
no, it is not enough
but if you lift your eyes, I am your brother.
and this is all we need.
and this is where we start.
this is the day we greet.
this is the day, no other.

“Shake It Out”

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to playAnd every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawnAnd I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse aroundOur love is pastured, such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it’s always darkest before the dawnShake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoaAnd I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
‘Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a fine romance but it’s left me so undone
It’s always darkest before the dawn

Oh whoa, oh whoa…

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat
‘Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me, yeah

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa