Talk:Task force/Community Health/Recommendation evaluation
|Thread title||Replies||Last modified|
|Top areas of interest for Community Health task force recommendations||10||18:01, 7 January 2010|
|Discussion: looking at the list, which recommendation is the weakest link?||32||23:55, 23 December 2009|
|Narrowed the list of recommendations||6||23:48, 22 December 2009|
|Second question: what is Community Health anyway?||5||22:43, 16 December 2009|
|Third question: How do we get our users to form an Editor Board instead of just a forum?||2||21:31, 16 December 2009|
|First Question: Does anyone have any other areas of recommendation to pursue?||7||21:00, 15 December 2009|
Currently, the top areas of interest for Community Health task force recommendations are:
Volunteer Recognition, Research and Measures, Social Networking, Decision making: Dispute Resolution and Policy.
From looking at the decision table, and the comments on the various talk pages I see a strong interest in these areas.
The first three have concrete ideas associated with them and I think that we definitely can deliver them to the Foundation board as recommendations. The last one, Decision making: Dispute Resolution and Policy, is seen as an area of need, but I'm less sure that we have a concrete concise recommendation now.
Do we want to pursue these four recommendations? Or only the top three? Or am I totally off the mark? :-)
I agree with your post entirely. I intend to draft a recommendation on Social Networking this week. I'm struggling to get back up to speed today after the holidays but am hoping to feel a bit more inspired and energetic tomorrow. Most of the ground work is done. But where plenty of input is needed is in determining which specific features we would like to see. I think that it would be good to write up some specific features, rather than just say "WMF Board, we think you should implement some sort of social features but we don't have any ideas what they would look like."
I have some sketchy ideas of my own. But I don't use Facebook or MySpace. I have some idea of what sort of features they provide from my reading, but that's never the same as genuine experience.
Some of the ideas floating around my head are:
- Some option to subscribe to / follow other volunteers. The question then becomes what will that mean for the user in practice?
Some ideas (dependent on the idea that you will have some kind of personal 'social features page' to look at, distinct from your user page) are:
- For those people you follow, you can see what they've been editing.
- For those you follow, you can see what they're reading (which I guess might require that each article has an "I read this page" button, which would increase server loads, as would all these ideas I guess).
- And/or an '"I like this" button which could feed you data about friends liking an article and also generate "trending articles" lists where we can see what articles are currently the most popular reads.
- A faster way to message your 'friends' than navigating to talk page (though it should still be transparent and generate a publicly viewable history).
However, I do feel my ideas aren't that inspired. I sense that there are more exciting things that can be done but are currently out of my reach.
Other things to consider is "Can Social Features help WikiProjects"? Given more time I would have liked to open up a debate with some of the WikiProjects to ask them, as they would know best. It's getting rather late for that now. But we could at least state in the recommendation that such a discussion with the WikiProjects is desirable and that perhaps someone should take a lead in that area. They might benefit from some kind of modular page where they can see what fellow WProj members have been doing, improved communication facilities... all of which I guess would have to mean that joining a Wikiproject would no longer be just adding your name to a list but is somehow built into the software. The downside of this may be that setting up a new Wikiproject becomes more difficult.
Then there's portals. Could portals be more dynamic, showing a list of recent changes to articles claimed under the topic and listing potential 'friends' who identify with the topic?
Which might then lead to the question of; should we distinguish between portals and WProjects? Or could the two concepts be combined? That's only just occurred to me, so it's pure brainstorming.
I think that some of these features that you mention exist (at least in rudimentary ways) so there is a desire to use them. For example, there are special watch lists and noticeboards developed to aid in following articles related to living people. But adding these type of features requires coding and mark up that many people do not know so they are not commonly used (or used to their full potential.)
I agree that improved communication features could enhance the work of Wikiprojects and other different types of groups (such as members of Chapter members, committees, and task forces). Watch lists, notice board, Wikiproject pages, and portals are the most common ways that people communicate on site. Other people go to IRC, Skype, and mailing lists to overcome the problems that they encounter with the on site methods. But this separates those people from the other people that primary use on wiki features and communication methods. We need to encourage methods of communication that are inclusive and can be used on site. (I'm not opposed to off site communication but think that on better on site communication methods are needed, too.)
So, yes. I think that you are on the right track.
Can you teach me more about the special watchlists you mention? I'm not aware of those.
I'm not an expert about this type of stuff but I'll share what I know.
Basic inforamtion about watchlists is here. . Note that it discusses making a cross wiki watchlist.
This page discusses the BLP list that is developed from articles brought to the BLP noticeborad. 
As this page mentions, it is also possible to monitor all the pages that are brought to the BLP noticeboard. 
This is an example of a way that watchlists are used to aid in monitoring content.
Also, it is possible to use templates to make a grouping of pages that can be monitored. For example see the Wikipedia English Arbitration Committee template. 
This template is updated manually to include pages related to ArbCom. From this template a list of recent changes to all arbcom related pages is created. 
And users can subscribe to feeds that bring them updates to Wikipedia pages. I know that people can get them sent to IRC channels. I check to see if it is possible to get them sent by email, too.
People that are interested in cleaning up article have developed various tools to aid them in the work. See this page for a description of them and ways that people have grouped together to do it. 
Wikiprojects use templates, too, so it is possible to monitor a set of pages related to the project. See the Military history project related changes list that is created from their navigation template. 
Although these types of resources are available, I think that they are under used for a variety of reasons. More on that later.
Blimey! Lots for me to see there. Thank you. I'll check those out later today or early afternoon tomorrow.
I've had a look at those links now. Thanks again. I'm slightly at a loss of how to use the information you've given in the context of the draft recommendation, other than simply to draw the board's attention to them and say "can we make (some of) these a part of a Mediawiki interface, so that they're given an easily accessible front end, rather than looking like workarounds".
I'll ponder it a bit more as I work on the draft recommendation.
What needs to happen is for the features to be packaged and then offered in a way that encourages there use. But since we don't fully understand the complexity of how these all interface on w:en:MediaWiki, we can give specific details about implementation. I think that we need to go with a recommendation/proposal that backs up the need with fact, and give a general overview of what we would like to see happen.
I wouldn't say those are the top four. There are really six items on the shortlist, including new organizational roles and structures, and interface design. The ratings were just a proxy, based on what we knew at the time. And the numbers were still too close to say anything conclusive.
At this point, I would drop the research and measures thing as not providing much impact. Its impact is very long term, and probably will only confirm what we've gathered on our own: that editors are leaving, that conflict is increasing, and that many volunteers find their work difficult (and eventually unrewarding). I think there is value here, but not in our top four.
I'm also nervous about social networking features. For a lot of reasons, but I'd sum it up as abuse. There is already evidence that conflict and hostility are hurting community health, and I'd venture to say it's the biggest threat. When we make it easier for users to interact, we don't get to decide whether those interactions will be positive or negative. We'll get more of both. I'm not comfortable putting this in the top four unless we have a plan to control the negatives.
I'm going to get to work on all of them. I'll check in again at the end of the day.
PS: things are coming right down to the wire, so I'm going to be moving pretty quickly. Let me apologize in advance if I step on any toes. Please push back on me politely, if I become too bold.
Not all recommendations are created equal. We can even try to measure that.
- Impact: Some recommendations tackle a root problem and cause a chain reaction. Some just nibble away at symptoms.
- Feasibility: Some recommendations are very realistic. Others are riskier, and may be impossible in practice.
- Desirability: Some recommendations would go over very well with the community. Others would face serious objections, both fair and unfair.
- Priority: Some recommendations are just more important than others.
I'm curious what other people think. I know the recommendations are still in a preliminary form. But with some discussion and some imagination, we can probably recognize that one recommendation is just not going to achieve as much as the others. (And if we don't, then we'll have some great reasons to support why we kept a certain recommendation.)
If you had to cut one recommendation, which one would you say is the weakest link?
In case anyone is having some trouble, let me suggest what I think is the weakest link:
- Help and Tutorials
Experts in ergonomics and human factors believe that "help and documentation" is your last resort. Ideally, you want to design a system that can be understood without documentation. Because of that, "Help" will always be a weaker solution than "Good Interface". (Which isn't to say Good Interface will be in the top four, but it's better than "Help" by leaps and bounds.)
Keep in mind that help files will do nothing to address core user burnout. They understand Wikipedia, but something caused them to leave. We're now focusing exclusively on half the problem: new editors leaving in their first two weeks.
And I don't think new editors will benefit that much from help files. How many people read instruction manuals? Only if they spent $2000 on something and need to make it work. When a new user encounters a problem on Wikipedia, they're more likely to just leave than read help files. In fact, we arguably already provide LOTS of documentation to new users. "RTFM!!". But new users don't want to read all that crap, and I don't blame them.
We'd help new users a lot more if the interface were more clear. Design these little windows so that it's easier to get things done, and harder to get into trouble in your first two weeks.
I'd rank this recommendation very low. Low priority and impact (compared to improving Wikipedia's interface). Feasible, but not highly desired either.
I hate to sound too direct about this but we don't HAVE a long list of recommendations. What we have is some headings that haven't been written up or explored. At my last look we have:
Task_force/Recommendations/Community_health_1 - aka "volunteer recognition"
We then have:
Task_force/Recommendations/Community_health_2 - aka "vision, direction, cooperation"
...which I am not, I'm afraid, very keen on. The reason being that it talks about vision. Wikipedia already has a vision: "to bring the sum of all human knowledge, for free, to the world". Also the recommendation has facts that are not referenced. It seems to be in a bubble all its own; it doesn't link to a single thing outside of its own page. I challenge anyone to read it and put themselves in the shoes of a WMF board member and then come up with something that you could act upon. It is, in short, something that strategy could have aspired - at best - to address three or four months ago. I would be against putting this before the WMF because it isn't "something to be done" it is "something to think about". I'm not saying it can't be rescued. But it needs to talk about actionable behaviours. Things that the WMF or volunteers can do. Not philosophy.
So, Random, when you say cut some recommendations... I realise that you're talking about our list of nine areas on the table. But I'm left thinking "well, sure let's throw those 5 or 6 overboard because... um... well, because the headings don't mean anything tangible to me; nobody's presented me with an argument."
Now, ideally, I would be part of the solution. I would love to fill out those headings with a recommendation each and have us all vote on them. But I'm simply not able to. I don't have the knowledge or even the research skills to provide the arguments, background and everything that's required because those headings don't give me a path to follow and they're not something I'm comfortable in addressing. If I tried to write those up it would be like me wearing a little moustache and claiming to be Charlie Chaplin. They would be nothing more than dressing, because I don't have any passion, knowledge or belief in them.
All that said; Random, I would support you in ditching 'help and tutorials' because The Bookshelf Project is going to be generating materials to help newbies... they have a whole budget for it and designated staff - I spoke to them earlier today. They are looking at mainly paper materials but the materials surely will be available online too. So I would say ditch that as being taken care of by others.
Ah, I've just caught up with Random's draft at Policy_and_community_health. Good work, I have responded on the talk page. So perhaps we can drop any attempt to fiddle with policy too, which would give us less to think about.
You're right that we're sorely lacking on details. There are details scattered throughout the wiki, but we haven't done a good job of bringing them together. I have a decent idea of where to find details for nearly everything in the list though. So I'm confident we'll be able to get to work, if we could just focus our efforts on a smaller number of good recommendations.
I know the lack of detail makes it hard to evaluate them at this stage. But you'll see that some of them, just from the heading, appear to be problematic.
We should definitely discuss chopping "vision and goals". I agree with you that it might not be the best area to focus on. It's hard for a task force of 5 people to set vision for millions. And if we just say "well, think about your vision and clarify your goals", then we've given out nothing actionable. You can see that's kind of the same problem we have for recommending concrete policy changes.
I'm glad that the bookshelf project is working on things from an outreach perspective. I think "educational material" can be really effective to get new volunteers, and I'm glad that another team is working on it. Our task force focus is a little different. We're trying to improve editor retention once people have already tried Wikipedia, rather than outreach. I don't think help files help much with retention, for the reasons I stated.
We're already making big progress on the recommendations.
We just listed three recommendations that look like they'll produce fewer results than the others. I know we're just getting started. But it would be fantastic if we all agreed those three were lower value than the other six. That would let us focus on the remaining six for the next month, and I'm confident we could have four of them in great shape by the mid January deadline.
Between the two of us, we've flagged three proposals as having less impact than the others:
- Help and Tutorials: Users already have lots of reading material. We need to find other ways to improve their experience. (Also, a project is already creating videos for outreach.)
- Policy changes: Doesn't look like we have the power to decide policy for the entire community. (And even then, it's not clear which policies have hurt the community.)
- Vision and Goals: Our task force probably can't decide goals on behalf of the community either. (And WMF already has goals. What they need now is an action to achieve them.)
I know these three are not bad recommendations. But compared to the other recommendations on the list, these three are weaker (in terms of impact and feasibility). I think it is highly unlikely that these would end up in our "top four" (a limit set by the Wikimedia Foundation).
Does anyone else agree/disagree?
I agree that these three will not end up in our top 4 in that they could be included in other recommendations by other task forces better than our own with the exception of Policy changes which I think we need to address but not necessarily in a separate recommendation.
FloNight, have you seen the work thus far at Policy and community health? I'm talking specifically about the quote from Sue Gardner, which makes a lot of sense and seems like a significant barrier. The good news is she offers a way around the barrier, so that we can attack the policy issue indirectly.
Is that what you had in mind when you said we could address policy as part of another recommendation?
I think you're probably right, although it hurts to say it. A broad mandate to curtail and rationalise the reams of policy would have major benefits but would be difficult to implement and would undoubtedly require further reams of policy to enforce. From my personal standpoint I will be sorry to kiss this one goodbye and I think that failure to rectify this will inevitably result in continuing tensions and hostility within the community, an increase in wikilawyering to a point of reductio ad absurdem, and, in my view and in the light of some interesting overtures I have seen floated in various places, a possible fork, but I can and do understand why we can't take this one on board.
Help & comprehensive documentation for noobs is less of a thorny issue. A simple "what to do" in virtually all foreseeable circumstances FAQ surely shouldn't be that difficult to organise. If it is that difficult, then it will flag up the horrific complexity of policy (see above).
Visions and Goals can go. WP has quietly abandoned all its stated visions and goals as it has progressively been systematically usurped by bureaucrats and wikilawyers over the years anyway, (excuse my cynicism). As far as I can see now, WP is about as intellectually and philosophically bankrupt as it possibly ever could have been. The only way is up or a fork. If given a choice I would at this moment in time opt for the latter.
I have my doubts about the proceedings here. As I tried to state, the original nine are recommendation fields, not recommendations. And our brainstorm hasn't got anywhere near stating clear, recommendable, concrete, sustainable recommendations backed up with research and arguments. So if we want to present four to six practical recommendations by mid January, we need better than just wipe out some fields. I've been very confused here too, and I'm sorry. But I've changed my mind. If we don't need blurred recommendation fields but clear and consistent singleminded recommendations, we'd better take a few days more for a brainstorm, clear up our minds, and take the holidays to work those recommendations out. We need an extra step here, that is first to dismiss the fields that don't need Strategy Task Force thought.
- Help and Tutorials. I agree this partition can be dismissed. Any of our wikipedias is doing the utmost to write their own tutorials, they can do that without help from above. No advice from outside would be more helpful that they can do by themselves. Therefore, no Strategy task.
- Policy changes. Some good work has been done there, but we'll agree that from a strategy point-of-view, this Task Force won't be able to add much of a clear-cut practical advice in the form of a recommendation. If some other Task Force manages to do so, we can add our backing or our expertise: not for us, not now.
- Vision and Goal setting: I hope you'll understand that I disagree with dismissing that. I feel that we're on the verge of bringing up at least one good recommendation that should attract the attention of the Board. It's just one pinch, a finger nail. But I also understand Bodnotbod's worries here. Let me say this. There was a vision needed to start the whole thing up, and that vision was presented by Jimmy Wales. But he can't hold the whole thing together on his own. We need a second fresh vision about holding it together and bringing it back alive, that's what I'm heading to. Goal setting is part of it. The other side of the medal, is that muddling on without a further vision won't work either. Muddling on while losing impetus and momentum will mean that we can forget the rest of our targets. I plead for another three to four weeks to give body to this idea.
- What about the rest of the recommendation areas? Bodnotbod is right, they're empty. Which one of them can we fill before mid January, or which one can we at least make credible by midnight?
- I hope that we agree on these very important things: momentum is dropping, people are confused about how to get on with Wikipedia, conflicts will rise without guidance, they will seek other ways to converse if we don't offer them enough and at the end, Wikipedia will be left with some police officers who think they know best and some contributors who'll defend their own island. Task Force:Community Health is about reversing those trends and the time is now.
I definitely agree that we're lacking specifics. But just as a matter of process, the best way to get to specifics is to wipe out certain fields as not worthwhile, and develop specifics in a few of these fields. Unless we do that step, we'll be spread too thin, trying to fill in the specifics for nine different areas. There's no way we can come up with specific recommendations by midnight, but it would be a huge step if we said "we know we need to do something with rewards", and "we know that we're not going to focus on creating more help files".
From what it sounds like, there's some consensus to pass over "help" and "policy". That will help us a lot as we focus over the next month.
But I'm glad you're raising some debate about vision and goal setting. I'm not sure I agree, but now is a good time to make the case for it.
- Priority - Bodnotbod raised a good point: there is already plenty of vision at Wikipedia. Start with "bringing the sum of all human knowledge, for free, to the world." On top of that, they've designed this strategy process that has a ton of goals, including international growth, an improvement in quality, and so on. In terms of community, there is another task force working on gaining new editors, while our task force has been told to reduce burnout, and reduce hostility to new users. It's hard to say "we need clearer goals" when we already have plenty of goals to pursue. Just a relay of the current strategic priorities would be a big benefit to the community.
- Feasibility/Desirabiliy - Maybe we could drill down and come up with very specific goals that will settle old conflicts about where Wikipedia should go. Heaven knows that would reduce the amount of in-fighting. But can a small unelected group of volunteers make that decision on behalf of millions? There's no way we'll be able to say "listen, we think that Wikipedia should settle the religious conflicts in this way, and settle the ethno-nationalist conflicts in that way". No matter what vision we set, there will be one half of the community who will reject it. The board isn't going to touch that with a ten foot pole.
- Impact: So we're back at a paradox for impact. If we make vague or general goal statements that everyone can agree with, there's no guarantee that it will change anything. But if we make specific goal statements that could result in meaningful change, we're more likely to face resistance from the community, and thus the board.
I think those are the problems with using up one of our "four wishes" just to set goals. Maybe those problems aren't as bad as they seem. But then we need a solid counter-argument to support that "goal setting" is a strong area to focus on. That's why we're having this discussion :)
OK, let's keep it simple. I made my case (with the right timing) and both of you put strong arguments against Vision and goal setting as a priority. If I had strong arguments right now for one kind of vision or one goal that would support our cause of Comunity Health, in short one recommendation I'd put it forth, but I haven't. It's philosophy as Bodnotbod says, and this strategy site is packed full of goals and vision, as Randomran says. We'll discard this as being a priority.
Getting back to the Emerging strategic priorities page, reading over the task force goals there, one thing strikes me immediately: "to develop a strategy for retention and good community health". To me, good community health means first of all: to contain and minimize conflicts. That's what my hearts says and with 1,5 years of AC also what my experience points towards. Now if we get back to our draft docoment of recommendations, what's lacking altogether? The field "Dispute Resolution and Decisions". Why? You could even say that recommending on this field is vision and goal setting. You could say that if Wikipedia as a whole is unable to contain in-fighting and vicious conflicts, it's doomed. So here's my argument to pick it as a top priority.
- We have the notoriously dangerous segments of religion and ethno-nationalism. Conflicts in those segments tend to be contained by falling back on basics, such as neutrality, citations and references, seperating articles to show both (or every) sides of an argument, and reinforcement by moderators and AC. We might ask ourselves if that's enough and if it's all.
- I've seen vicious conflicts on subjects that should at first sight be pretty safe. Spelling, taxonomy, genealogy, music, the titles of kings, name it. If people forget that they're in a fragile discussion-and-consensus environment, it's hard and it gets even harder if they forget that the overall environment they're working in, is Internet. It's less personal than real-life fighting and people tend to say more than they would in real life (not talking about alcohol or drugs).
- Then, there's a definite tendency of various people to take on roles that they go on to live, more or less forgetting their boundaries. Ultimately, that will lead to estranging other people - who will leave, most of them silently - and to more conflicts.
Well, putting this together, I think there's ample stuff for three recommendations. I will use the now empty Recommendations-3 space to specify (later tonight and tomorrow). There's one binding factor: diplomacy. If you are committed to this worldwide project, you have to be very aware of all those other contributors that you're working with and also be aware that a semi-anonymous username doesn't mean a freedom do be rude or do what you want. Does it sound moralistic if I put it this way? Well, diplomacy is the one way of mankind to avoid open conflict, and more optimistically, it's the best that mankind has to create understanding between very different cultures.
If the only thing that Task Force:Community Health has to say on this strategy forum is: Diplomacy is the way and now create the means to forward it, I wouldn't be ashamed of our efforts. If we could also put forward one or two suggestions that would be accepted throughout to improve our discussion and decision-making, I'd be delighted.
So here's my stand for now. Look at: 
Art Unbound, that's a very powerful argument for improving dispute resolution and decisions. I definitely think it's in the top four. You may be right that it could be our top recommendation, after we've worked out the specifics. Only because I think it's the closest to tackling the "root problem".
Diplomacy lies at the heart of it, and I think it has to be a goal. But if there's one thing I've learned from those debates, it's that diplomacy will only happen if there's an incentive to make it happen. Right now, we actually have incentives to disengage, be stubborn, and even passive aggressive. Let me explain.
Right now, we have a battleground where you can simply be the "last man standing" in a debate, and then you get your way. Or you can be sneaky and try for the "first mover advantage", and push your point of view hoping that no one else will notice it. Of course, your opponents have the same advantage too. So you have polar opposites (think ethno-national-religious conflicts) battling across a topic area, and they often meet at key articles, even follow each other around to make sure they're not up to something.
Every once in a while, a sane person in the middle (along with a few soft supporters from either side of the conflict) realize that this battleground is no way to build an encyclopedia. They're tired of fighting and re-fighting the same battles. "Let's hammer out a policy that meets halfway, and tries to address the interests of both sides."
If you're an extremist, you have no reason to support a compromise. In the battleground, you can *sometimes* get your way. But if you support a compromise, you have to accept that you *never* get your way, even if it means that your opponents never get their way. What's even worse is that the extremist has an advantage. Because of rules of consensus, they can't make changes without your support. You and a small group of friends can block the compromise, and force the battle to continue. (After all, you've already won the battle at a few articles, and hopefully you can win more.)
And that makes consensus building impossible. It would be hard if you locked 50 people in a room, and 10 of those people were extremists on the left, and 10 of those people were extremists on the right. The 30 in the middle can't move on without winning over some of the extremists. But on top of all that, the extremists don't even need to discuss. They can just draw a line in the sand. They can even leave, while people gradually make inroads, and then show up at the last second to say "my god, this is the best compromise you could come up with? Forget it!" Personal attacks and incivility may be sins on Wikipedia, but you can't punish stubbornness.
Whatever our recommendation is for decision making, it has to recognize that we need real systemic reform, not just a polite request that people cooperate. We need to reverse a system that rewards stubbornness, where the most hard-headed group will have the most power in every debate. We need to come up with new decision-making processes that empower the bridge-builders, the compromisers, the people who listen to each other and adapt. Even if these new decision-making processes were only used as a last resort, they would start to show people that you can't "win" by simply sticking your head in the sand.
This is a neat idea (from FloNight):
So is this:
These other proposals just try to give authority to people that we trust:
- Proposal:Authority over content disputes
- Proposal:Two kinds of moderator
- Proposal:Create editorial boards to oversee editing of controversial topic areas
The challenge there is finding an authority that is fair in the eyes of the community. It could work, but we'd have to be very careful about how we construct it.
Randomran, we've found each other here. What I'm worried about is that this Task Force tends to decrease. We had nine participants, then five, then three, now two. We should have nine again. We still want every discussion to be open and free to all, and next, to make sure that what we find as a neat discussion, is shared by the rest of us. I propose to share our opinions where I last left it, Task force/Recommendations/Community health 3 and its talk page. (And hoping that I didn't break the template once more).
We've done well so far, now we can go further and really consider some recommendations that we can go on to develop. Anyway, I'd like to think so.
As far as I've been able to let your stuff sink in, I would say the following:
Task Force:Community Health would do very well if they were able to recommend about only one thing, namely conflict management. If we were able to improve that to a recommendation about diplomacy, we would do extremely well. Personally, if we manage that, that would be the most I can chew for the next month. But I would be extraordinaly happy if we manage only half of that goal. Leave all the rest, and I would be happy, too.
Yeah, I'm definitely disappointed in the activity dropoff. The holidays can be a busy time for people though. I'm hoping things will pick back up, and offering people more focus will help. (I think these kinds of "what's the next step" discussions are pretty dry and boring for most people.) Once we get down to even 5 or 6 tangible recommendations, we'll be able to get more concrete feedback from others. That will let us pin down the final four.
Speaking of trying to get down to 5 or 6, did you want to take a shot at rating "Dispute Resolution and Decisions" for feasibility/desirability/impact/priority? It would just be a preliminary rating, and we would tweak it as we work on it and discuss it. But I'd like to start attaching some estimates to the different recommendation areas, just so we have something quick that shows why we focused on the recommendations that we did.
(Don't worry about breaking the table. I'll jump in if you can't get it to work.)
Having done some homework, I must say that any kind of quality arbitration wil get very little support, to the point that I have to oppose to it. One of the long-term conflicts is about alternative medicine and we're not going to solve that within two to five years or much longer. The only way to resolve that type of conflict is to give both of them room of their own and put a big stamp on them that we're not responsible for the consequences. But say there's a quality conflict about how to name German kings between 500 and 1850. I've been there and almost reached an agreement between contestants by agreeing on the sources to use. I don't think we could reach an agreement by planting an expert in and as it turns out, the agreement has plummeted. But in fact, those conflicts aren't the really harmful ones.
The harmful ones as you try to explain, are the ones where 'extremists' from two sides are trying to blow any compromise from the middle. If that's true, we'd better try to locate them. For then you say, the consensus-seeking middle people are always in a disadvantage while the people from both sides can just try to get an edge, losing nothing if it doesn't work.
Well, I have to say I haven't really seen those extremists at work. What I have seen is people rather fiercely taking their stand but always with some good argument at hand. One of the most difficult and complex arguments that I've been at is the Deir Yassin massacre. Your English version looks rather neat in comparison with the Dutch version, which almost split the whole wikipedia in two. But, despite some hard words that shouldn't have been said, the discussion actually was about the use of one or two crucial sources, and the dispute was about how to read some passages in them.
The consensus-seeking middle people do have one advantage, you know. If they keep cool in the midst of projectile throwing, they can bring them back to the table once the fireworks have stopped. - Art Unbound 21:05, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Only one small problem with that, Art. The middle ground have been so weeded out by the extremists on all flanks so that there are very few left to defend the middle ground. I used to be a middle ground editor on most subjects (except maybe Cornwall where I have my own little axe to grind and stay away these days in the interests of neutrality even though I can see that the article is horribly biased and non-NPOV and moreover wrong). Nothing will ever entice me back there. Relysing on the middle ground is no longer an option. There is little middle ground left.
Art Unbound, I'm curious why you think it's impossible to resolve the "pseudoscience" stuff. Don't get me wrong, I've seen those discussions, and the conflict has gone on long enough that people are visibly angry. But mediators and arbitrators have been able to resolve some incredible conflicts. Conflicts between aboriginals and colonizers. Between victims and abusers. Between unions and management. The fundamental tension never goes away. But they can agree on what needs to get done, and find a civil way to move forward. I can't imagine that it would be terrible to have an article on alternative medicine that reports both alternative and western medical practices. In fact, I think
The key is that it's not simply a matter of an arbitrator making a decision for everyone. It's about getting the community to talk to one another, instead of stubbornly posturing towards one another. Instead of "I won't tolerate the other side putting up their lies", you get them to recognize each other's interest in having their point of view represented fairly. I agree that people would oppose some kind of editorial board making decisions for everyone. But it would only be a few truly extreme people who would be against real diplomacy with one another. (And anyone against diplomacy would never admit to it, lest they prove once and for all that they were operating in bad faith, and don't belong in the community at all.)
So maybe some kind of editorial board who rules the community is a bad idea. But we could design a process that brings people to the table, lets people stay if they're operating in good faith, and basically turns a deaf ear to them if all they want to do is posture.
Even if we're wrong, and some disputes prove unresolvable... I'm confident that a few others could be resolved, if the hard-liners were forced to accept that they won't get their ideal outcome.
(... so how about rating that table?) :)
On paper Wikipedia has never seemed like a workable idea. But so far, Wikipedia is producing better encyclopedia content every year. I think that the outlook is optimistic that the trend towards higher quality content will continue.
Do you? I don't. It certainly has more links. But I look at some of the mediaeval history pages now and there are spurious citations by the score backing up some really egregious errors. Some of those pages (and I am thinking Charlemagne and Pepin) are worse than they were seven years ago.
Randomran, I could underline all of your comments line by line. I pulled out some of my own experiences when I estimated consensus on alternative medicine to take two to five years. It needn't be so; and I don't think it has to be reinforced by an authority.
On the other hand, you stressed the impact of 'extremist' users in your metaphor of the room with 50 editors in it. In your last contribution, you mentioned that "Assume Good Faith" will probably diminish those numbers to only a few.
Grossly, Wikipedia already has the basics, means and instruments to make sure that the building isn't torn apart by tribal conflicts or feuds or uncompromising stubbornness. If we need a recommendation here, it's going to be a refinement of the instrumentarium and a renewed focus on the need to cooperate.
To me, that is enough to make it a priority because:
- conflict is a major factor that drives people away;
- our "watchers" wil drive out new users by too rigidly sticking to agreements and rules that have been set;
- consensus-making doesn't always work or takes so much time that some (new or veteran) aren't prepared to waint for the outcome;
- Arbitration Committees have one serious flaw: they do not decide on strictly intrinsic matters; they go for personal conflicts, not for matters of content.
FloNight, glad you're here. You are stressing the improvement on quality. What do you think:
- do we need to have an increase of users to reach quality improvement?
- is quality improvement independent of user number, could Wikipedia actually continue to improve content with dwindling numbers - e.g. if we manage to keep our best contributors?
- what do you think of Community Health with a restricted number of users, would Wikipedia be better off with lower numbers and more dedication?
- what do you think is a no.1 priority on this Task Force?
- Volume of edits or quality of content does not strictly suffer from a decrease in the number of active editors.
- We know that some demographic groups are not well represented so we definitely need more outreach to those groups.
- I prefer to reverse trend of a stabilizing number of editors by reaching out to users in alternative ways.
- We need to recruit and match volunteers to jobs on Wikimedia projects that match the person's interest and skills.
- I don't have only one priority item because that would be too limiting for the work that the task force needs to do representing the whole Community. My focus is on 1) Organizational changes that offer a clearer "career path" for users by offering a variety of ways to contribute based on their skills and interests. Volunteer toolkit that can be offered to new users to assist them in acclimating to wikis. 2) Recognition of editors to motivate deeper participation. (This would not be a single approach because different things motive different people). 3) Improved decision making strategies from top to bottom in Wikimedia Foundation and all its wikis and chapters. (Strategic Planning is kicking off this initiative.) Training staff volunteers in conflict resolution and methods of decision making. 4) Enhanced customer service model.
Beautiful, Flonight, and thank you. I would only add one thing, as you might have heard, Dutch Wiki is in a process with Tropenmuseum Amsterdam to set up a project Maroons of Surinam. If we could interest only a few of them to contribute on Wikipedia that would be a reaching out success. We're working at it. That's it for tonight, see you all later, Maarten.
I'm still here following the conversation. But I confess I can't think of much to add. I'm wondering whether we can drop interface/tools from the table, since the WMF already has its own usability team? Also I thought there was a task force looking at this but perhaps it was a task force that never got off the ground as appears to have happened with some of them?
I'll give my table figures here as I don't know how we'll know what the average scores are unless we just vote our own values here; the, for example, third person to edit won't know whether the figures that are already present are the average of two people's previous votes or one person's so won't know what figures rightly belong there... does that problem, as I outline it, make sense to you?
Anyway, here goes, I've left 'org structure' blank as I don't really feel any confidence giving it a rating:
|Area of Recommendation||Priority (#/5)||Impact (#/5)||Feasibility (#/5)||Desirability (#/5)||Total (#/20)|
|Decision making: Dispute Resolution and Policy.||4||4||2||5||15|
|Research and Measures||5||4||4||5||18|
Bodnotbod, this is very helpful. I could change a number here or a number there. But considering we don't have detailed recommendations yet, this is a good estimate.
Would you mind updating the page? (Or anyone who feels comfortable cutting and pasting what Bodnotbod did?)
May I suggest you, Random, Art and Flo... plus JCravens if she happens to be around, pastes their own copy of the table here on this thread and puts in their numbers? Then one of us (I'll be happy to do it) does the maths and then fills in the actual table with the average figures?
Bodnotbod, I think that's a good idea, but not now. We've already narrowed the recommendations to 6, which is very good. There is also a discussion below to fold up research into the other proposals. That would bring us down to five. At this stage, that's all we're trying to do. Distinguish the high leverage proposals from the low leverage ones. Your table helps confirm that these areas are stronger than others.
We should spend more time debating and discussing the ratings later, once we have more specifics. ("Organizational structure" remains vague to me too, but it's worth discussing). We'll need the ratings to help pick our top four. But we're better off doing that later.
Well, Sjc has come on board and made a plea for Policy somewhere upward this thread. I think we should take that in (it's still in Bodnotbod's table) and if Sjc can bring up a decent way to take it to a recommendation there's three more weeks to consider it. If I can't do it and Sjc does see a way to bring it forward, let's have it.
I have to say though Sjc, you seem to grind some bitterness over past experiences that shines through your posts. I'm trying not to be too cynical, therefore I still believe in the middle ground. If you could bring yourself to a draft recommendation about policy that rewards optimism over pessimism, we might get a strong point. Make yourself at home and draft our Recommendation 4 and we'll listen to it. - Art Unbound 20:56, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Hmm, I didn't take him to mean that. In other discussions, Sjc and I have talked about tackling policy indirectly, by improving the decision making process. That's something echoed by FloNight and Sue Gardner too. (That's why the "Decision Making" heading has been expanded to include policy making too.) I'd prefer not to re-open the door to making actual policy changes ourselves, because I don't think the community (and hence the foundation) will ever let us do that. But I don't want to steamroll over other people who have a good argument otherwise.
Well thanks god Bodnotbod you're still here and thank you for your homework. Makes sense to work from here, wouldn't it? - Art Unbound 20:38, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
Reading the thread back, I'm picking up one of Flonight's thoughts, and it's this one:
1) Organizational changes that offer a clearer "career path" for users by offering a variety of ways to contribute based on their skills and interests. Volunteer toolkit that can be offered to new users to assist them in acclimating to wikis.
It's Flo's foremost recommendation, isn't it? What can we do with it? Flo mentiones "organizational changes" that none of us really seems to be able to handle. I'll break it up into parts.
- Offer a clearer "career path" for users; by:
- offering a variety of ways to contribute based on their skills and interests;
- (Create a) Volunteer toolkit that can be offered to new users to assist them in acclimating to wikis.
- Create organizational changes to reach those.
Broken up this way, I think we need to give it another thought. (Sorry, I won't make it throught the night though, so see you tomorrow).
I narrowed the list of recommendations based on the past weeks discussion by combining policy into decision making, and removing Help and Vision.
I would like to reduce it further by eliminating Interface/Tools because I think we can include it in Organizational structure by recommending different Volunteer tool kits to be available for specific type of Foundation volunteer work. Of course some people would want to have information and tools for several different types of jobs.
Additionally, I think that Research and Measures can be included under Decision making. All good decision making processes require good information.
I'm happy to go with the flow (or the Flo!) in terms of those ideas. All I would say is that I worry that by melding topic areas together we're still moving away from the specific to the more general which I feel might bite us at this late stage in the game. I think I would prefer dropping interface/tools entirely; partly because the WMF already has a usability team working on interface and partly because I'm not sure it's a good fit for our specific task force.
I decided to include them inside another area because I think giving users the needed tools to do their particular volunteer job well is an important aspect of maintaining a thriving organization. While we may not make a specific recommendation about particular tools, I think we can support the work of other task forces that are more directly focusing on this area.
I'm not sure Research and Measures should be included with decisions making as it's not just something intern to Wikipedia meaning people outside Wikipedia may also be involved to do those researches.
Policy & Decision making have be combined because the strong dependency, we can't reform our policies if the process to discuss the reforms doesn't work or is slow to the indecisiveness.
Whatever recommendations you make in the end, i stress you to mention dependencies that may exist between the final recommendations.
I agree that all types of Research and Measures done about and by Wikimedia would not be included under Decision making. But I included Research and Measures under Decision making because good decision include the need for particular types of Research and Measures related to Community health. Such as Exit interviews of users leaving particular volunteer jobs.
I agree that policy and decision making go hand in hand. I came across another discussion today that highlights how they go together. See Proposal for new subcomittee, or maybe semi-independent body, to specifically address ArbCom's recommendations to change policies and guidelines
It seems like we're all on the same page about some of the areas we've removed at this point. But FloNight has raised two other areas that we might want to give the axe to:
- Interface and tools: I disagree with dropping this, at least until we've had a chance to work on it. Yes, other task forces are making recommendations for tools. But none of them are focused on community health. Tools to improve quality, or tools to keep pace with technology are not the same as tools to make the community more welcoming. I'm especially thinking about new users here.
- Research and measures: Research is useful, but it's not action. The foundation really wants something actionable. A decent compromise might be tying research into another area. But I don't think it necessarily fits in with decision making. Maybe what we should do for every recommendation is flag some questions for future research. e.g.: we recommend rewards, but we advise further research about what motivates our current volunteers to contribute. e.g.: we recommend social networking, but we advise further research about talk page activity and how people collaborate.
But good job all around on narrowing things down this far. We've already come a long way.
I know some users who maintain that focusing on the community part of Wikipedia is actually quite dangerous (there were even some nasty discussions coming out of it). Goes to say, that "community health" isn't just about making people feel happy; it's about making them happy to contribute their best in the tradition that we like (the five pillars; consensus; free-for-all content). So we can evaluate our table-of-nine in that direction. Anyway, if we want to reduce our nine recommendation fields to four or six, it's just a matter of synthesis: put together what comes close and you're there. The actual recommendations that we end up with might be different matter: maybe we come up with 16 or 25.
We've already mentioned the fact that Wikipedia seems to be losing momentum. That may not be too bad a thing, you know. If it means that we lose people who want to chat and socialize (like in Factbook and Twitter and Hyves) and those who want to share their knowledge are staying with us, we might even profit from it, making our daily work less hard, reducing the amount of conflicts and giving all of us a comfortable feeling of working at the same goals. Point is, that it's not working quite that way. Some people seem to thrive on the battlefield while not producing much, while others are put off so much that we never find them any more. The momentum that we need is a feeling that our hard work is rewarding and does bring us somewhere - both individually and as a whole. A "Yes we can"-feeling. Well, we've had that in our stormy first years - even if I dare say that it never came without bitter conflict as well. A little less euphoria and a little less conflict would do as well, wouldn't it?
One more point: Community Health as a task force intermingles with several others, especially when I read proposals they could go well with several others of other task forces. Best we can do now is to focus on our viewpoint, get our recommendations out as best we can and let HeadQuarters do the "Hey, where have I seem that before"-work. We might tweak our proceedings a little, bundle those fields and use the next four weeks to pour out recommendations that we're confident about. If we don't have much to mention about say, "Policy", then probably another Task Force will have some ideas.
Following this train of thought, we might bundle our nine recommendation fields as follows:
- Vision and research. Includes: Vision and Goal-Setting, Research and Measures.
- Teaching and guidance. Includes: Help and Tutorials, Usability/Tools, Rewards.
- Organization and decision. Includes: Organizational Structure, Decision Processes, Policy.
- Social networking. Includes Social Networking plus anything we can think of to revert the loss of users.
This works inwards out. Vision and research will probably be the motor of the Wikipedia movement, energizing anyting that follows. Teaching and guidance will always be the way to instruct people and keep them interested. Organization and decision-making is the domain once you're more deeply involved. Social networking is the place to reach out, at different levels.
BTW, best leave the current project pages as they are; synthesis can be done later.
Good point. Let's recap what the community health task force is trying to achieve. You're right that community health has to be seen as part of the bigger picture, and having a vibrant community doesn't matter if it's ineffective. But the foundation has asked us to look at why community growth has stabilized. Which means we have to look at why editors leave Wikipedia.
Really, we're talking about two different groups. There are new users who try and "reject" Wikipedia, and there are core users who "burnout". New users and veterans. Rejects and burnouts. Some rejects and burnouts are totally inevitable. But a root assumption that guides this task force is that we can do something to reduce the number of rejects and burnouts, and increase the number of Wikipedians. If we don't accept that, we may as well pack up and go home. (Wait, we're already home.)
Re: Synthesizing together recommendations, I don't want to rule it out. But at this time, I don't think it's a good idea. Some of these recommendations have major shortcomings. (Or maybe they don't. But we need to discuss it.) When we get to the synthesis stage, I want to know that we're only putting together two strong ideas, rather than diluting a strong idea by combining it with a weak one.
I think the problem with trying to group areas together is that it is moving us towards the general and away from the focused and explicit.
It's moving in the wrong direction. We should be aiming towards providing recommendations that are actionable. Not presenting vague intentions.
We started off facing broad problems. Our remit is to suggest concrete ways in which those problems can be attacked.
I don't mind the idea of us having "16 or 25 recommendations" so long as we present, at most, four. Remember, we're not the only task force. If each task force came up with even four that would be overwhelming for the small staff of the WMF. And Philippe has explicitly asked us for no more than four. That's what our job is.
Even on a practical basis, I see far too little activity on the wiki for us to produce even five solid recommendations, so sixteen is beyond my imagining.
I agree that being specific is good. Not just because it will make it easier for the Board to understand and buy into our ideas, but because they'll probably give them something more actionable.
Let's keep trying to narrow down the list, and revisit the possibility of combining them only if we absolutely feel that it's best. We've spent a lot of time brainstorming, but not enough time actually evaluating which ideas are the best.
I'll go with you both. Brainstorming is done with - well, I thought it too useful to bring one new insight to the fore (see above) not to let it be known.
I'm going with Bodnotbod too, we're just one of a load of task forces and if we're able to produce three or four healthy recommendations that we are able to give a big boost, we've actually done quite well.
So now it's about those four recommendations that we'll bring about and give it our best shot, is it not? I'll be there through the holidays. By mid January we'll have them done.
Third question: How do we get our users to form an Editor Board instead of just a forum?
This question is not mine. It's from the "revered collegue" that I spoke about, Dutch editor Rikipedia. His worry is that Wikipedia might turn into a "empty hospital" with no patients and no staff, leaving only a bunch of bureaucrats. Of course that's a metaphor. Long-term editors might find themselves unmissible and inevitable, while putting off new users by arrogance, at the same time burning out themselves. The other part is, that the ideal situation where both new and veteran users get to form an editor's board focused on emulating content and creating a trustworthy encyclopedia, may never be reached.
Here's a (shortened) translation of what Rikipedia actually said:
"Although no one will applaud leaving the basic principles, they tend to be forgotten unconsciously; so someone should remind them now and again. Being rude to newcomers, displaying arrogant non-response to questions, paternalizing new and experienced users, happens all too often. We have not been able to forge both veteran and new users into one overall editor board; instead, discussion too often means showing off or talking for the sake of it".
"Work pressure is something that people put on themselves. Wikipedia in itself doesn't ask or push anything. You'll have to have a little confidence in the model. Anyone who believes they must protect, conserve, who thinks that without their contribution Wikipedia will fail... creates a fantasy for themselves. If they think Wikipedia is weakened without their contribution, they're wrong. A personal mission like that will work to the contrary: new users will be put off and veteran users will go away. The quality of Wikipedia in total will be weakened. So people who set their own goals, and try to push them, will ultimately do so to the detriment of Wikipedia".
"All tasks are important. However, the essence of Wikipedia will always be alertness on one's contributions. That means: listening in and co-operation. Wikipedia is everyone's encyclopedia: readers, new contributors, and veterans. The worst thing to do therefore, is to make it an incrowd. Wikipedia should be home for thousands of new readers and contributors, freely".
"Contributing to Wikipedia is just as it is: a contribution. It's not a task, a plight, a self-imposed duty. It's not a failure if you don't do something and certainly, Wikipedia will not collapse if you make a mistake. Every user should be aware of the fact that their contribution doesn't mean the world, neither content editors, not template makers, nor file providers. If Wikipedia ever falls down, it's because of the overall construction, not because of individual contributions."
So far. I thought this would be useful for the discussion hat we're having here.
I think that's the overarching problem we're trying to solve. There are veterans burning out, there are newbies experiencing rejection, and this can sometimes be the result of veterans and newbies colliding.
I also agree with that expert: the problem is the overall construction, not the individual contributions. We can't change peoples' contributions, because they're here voluntarily. Moreover, a heroic editor can't save Wikipedia any more than a bad editor can destroy Wikipedia. (That's if you even believe in heroes and villains, and I think most Wikipedians have been both at one time or another.) It comes down to the construction. Ideally, the construction should enable and support the good, while limiting and undermining the bad. I think the construction is strong in many ways, but there are key areas where the construction is on a shaky foundation.
You'll see that all of these recommendations focus on the construction. Can we fix the construction with better reward and recognition mechanisms? Can we fix the construction with new tools for social networking and collaboration? I think both of those areas have potential. Some of the others on the list have potential too. But we don't have time to explore a huge list of recommendations in detail, and we have a deadline in a month to produce four specific actionable recommendations. (I wish it were more and longer, but alas, that's the way it goes.)
I guess the translation you provided us can give us a guide. Which recommendations on our list do the best job of tackling those problems?
My summary of this plea would be: yes, let's try to make this an editor's board working together and no, let's avoid becoming this an unstructured puzzle of people working their own ways... but that amounts to saying nothing. Who else has something to say about the subject?
These nine areas for recommendations were something myself and FloNight discussed, along with a few others in the task force (Sjc, BodNotBod, etc.) at different times.
Some of them overlap, but they all have different focuses.
Before we try to pin down the best areas to focus on... does anyone have any other areas that we should discuss?
Check in here, even just to say "that looks like pretty much everything, let's discuss them".
Well, yes, actually I have something to say. (Please don't bother about my running in, out, and in again). The one consistent thought that I have had since I joined Wikipedia is: how do you keep such a movement running once its momentum is running out? For the problem that we're discussing here, is loss of momentum. I'm not depending on scientific research here, although I have a sociology background - it's a feeling and a lot of practical experience. Been there, seen it.
Now, that thing that I wrote here is not a recommendation in the sense that this task force has discussed it and agreed upon it. I may have misunderstood the workings of this task force completely - I'm sorry. Read it as a matter of attention to you, participants of this task force. Still, I'd like you to consider these points:
- We're building the Knowledge Tower of Babel. Now what if, at the sixth floor, a constant brawl breaks out between all of the builders over the next level.
- Half of the builders decide to leave. Whenever a new shift turns up, they're told they can only join if they follow the rules.
- Some of them just start their own partition. Some of them are turned back effectually, and the part that was already there, are complaining they don't get enough support.
- Landing at the seventh floor, there's hardly any leader left, the whole thing is cracked down to seperate compartments and the ones that left behind are wailing downstairs that they haven't been understood.
- At that point, where we are now, we need a vision on how to proceed, how to fulfill the wishes of the remaining half and how to get back the other half. The idea of building the biggest tower ever is long forgotten. The idea of spreading knowledge of all things worldwide is a mere whim. The idea of free education where it's needed most is about as far off as the most distant star, and now, where has your momentum gone?
This Task Force should be about regaining momentum. How do we as Wikipedia regain momentum? That's the question to answer here I guess.
Regaining momentum is definitely the problem. I think all of these recommendations try to bring back some momentum, either by removing obstacles, or by giving Wikipedia a push.
"Finding a vision on how to proceed" is what I hoped was summed up in the recommendation "goals and target-setting". Does that make sense? I might change it to "vision and goal-setting" if that would make it more clear. Unless you meant something else.
"Vision and goal-setting" would make it perfeclty clear for me, Randomran.
Done :) It's in the list, so it will definitely get consideration when we move to the next step. First, let's wait to see if anyone has anything to add or change on the list.
I'm OK with the list. I do wonder where the work is going to come from on some of those items. Whereas I've written up some pages on three of the topics I don't feel at all capable of tackling, for example, 'policy'. If there are advocates for the list items I would encourage them to start drafting a recommendations page.
Here's one JCravens and I have been working on:
Task_force/Recommendations/Community_health_1 - 'volunteer recognition' aka 'editor awards and rewards'.
Some of Art Unbound's points are at:
The next vacant page is:
...and you just go up numerically from there.
I feel that recommendations should come out of both the submitted proposals and everything the task force has so far discussed; in short that means you should have been doing a LOT of reading the last two or three months. I don't want to see anyone who joined strategy yesterday happening on this page and then going ahead and making a recommendation. So, I'm looking to people such as Random, FloNight and Art for this really. JCravens is a marvel but I get the impression she only has a small amount of time to devote to this wiki.
I feel capable of drafting (or beginning) a social features / social networking recommendation. With that and 'volunteer recognition' I think that will keep me busy up until holiday season (along with keeping up with recent changes and chipping in to discussions such as this).
I wonder whether we can ignore 'usability' as I think there's other people on Strategy working on this?
Just to be clear; when I talk of us drafting recommendation pages, I'm not saying that I believe they are a fait accomplis. So when I draft a recommendation it's not under the assumption that those will be a recommendation we finally submit. But I think that drafting them is the best way for us to have something that we go on to decide we will either submit or will not.
And to clarify a bit further... (or perhaps confuse matters!)...
I understand the purpose of the table is to allow us to cut down the number of areas for us to focus on. But it's a bit chicken and egg for me.
For example, in order for me to know whether 'decision processes' is something we want to take further, I have to know what's being proposed, preferably from one page that sums up all the issues. If there is such a page already, then please link to it. But if there isn't, someone is going to have to focus on it and provide the Task Force with something that makes us aware of all the issues so that the Task Force can make an informed choice as to whether we focus on it further or not. Does that make sense?
In short, I think each table item should have its own page, whether that just be a vanilla page on this wiki or a draft recommendation.
I think you raise a lot of good points. I know there's not much we can do at this stage without knowing more... but even a list of 9 can turn into a list of 6 if we drop the most obvious stragglers. Some of the recommendations *could* be something great, but some of them kind of punt on the problem, when we need something that will have direct and meaningful impact.
Let's give it another day or so, and then maybe we can flag the proposals that have the most/least potential... maybe there will be some obvious items to cut from the list. At least, I hope so.