From Strategic Planning

As a member of the Task force/Community Health, I've spent the time I've been able to contribute to this process to reading through "Proposals for editor awards or rewards" and "Proposals_for_volunteer_support" (sorry, don't know how to link to them), as these practices are what I'm most interested in and think I'm most qualified to contribute to. I've also read the discussions and offered my own Traditional Volunteer Management Rewards and Recognition.

I've picked my favorites among the proposals based on what I know about volunteer management (both traditional and online), and how best to maintain both Wikimedia content quality and the atmosphere Wikimedia currently maintains with its volunteers (allowing people to freely contribute, to "just show up" and contribute). I think these suggestions also could lead to a greater diversity among the Wikimedia contributing community. Sometimes I've picked entire proposals, and sometimes I've picked parts of proposals as favorites.

And this note: finally, people are calling Wikimedia contributors what they are: VOLUNTEERS. Nice to see that many are embracing that word. I would like to see Wikimedia do so in its own communications.


These are numbered only for clarity; these aren't in the order I like them.

1. Career Pathways

This is from the Proposal:Volunteer Management practices to Expand Participation. A lot of this proposal was jargon to me (and that's saying a lot, given my background), but I do really like the idea of the "Career Pathways." Most Wikimedia contributors/volunteers are going to be of the just-show-up-and-contribute kind, but for those who start to think about what they can do beyond that, the Career Pathways idea is a good one, and one that many other volunteer organizations use. "Career" is not a good word -- Role Pathways might be better, since "Career" implies pay. Think about volunteer fire stations: not every volunteer firefighter wants to be a career firefighter, but he or she might want to pursue more training, more experience and higher ranks.

2. Strengthen the chapters/semi-chapters network

This is from the Proposal:Community sustainability. "Strengthen the chapters/semi-chapters network and help them to hold meetups, conferences and other community strengthening activities (helping through expertise sharing, goodies, sending speakers, letters of support or even money in some cases)." This would take a lot of financial and human investment, but it would be an excellent motivator for Wikimedia contributors/volunteers, help create a greater sense of community among Wikimedia contributors/volunteers, and motivate Wikimedia contributors/volunteers to see themselves as part of a real movement.

3. Platform for integrating Wikipedia with social network services

This is from the Proposal:New marketing concept in social media in 4 phases, and the example it uses is excellent: "Practical example: Twitter: John Doe just contributed to WWI article. Facebook: 7 of your friends was recently interested in Picasso wikipedia article. MySpace: Marta have contributed to Wikipedia article on 'Rolling Stones'"

Bragging about one's Wikimedia participation is a sign that a contributor/volunteer is feeling valued. It also promotes Wikimedia not just as a resource, but as something that anyone can contribute to.

This relates somewhat to Proposal:User_pages_should_work_more_like_social_networking_sites, and it definitely contributes to addressing the problem identified in Proposal:Help_people_understand_the_variety_of_ways_in_which_the_may_contribute

4. Traditional Volunteer Management Rewards and Recognition

Yes, I do like my own ideas -- I admit it! This proposal defines Wikipedia contributors as online volunteers. This is a list that explores traditional volunteer recognition, formal and informal, and ways they might be adapted for Wikipedia contributors who have assumed high-responsibility roles or contributed a certain number of hours. And as I hope others will see from the references, its based on practices by various nonprofit organizations. I think many of these suggestions could be done with no costs other than human investment. My chief worry is that someone has to make sure the process is transparent and that rewards and recognition are happening timely and appropriately, and that takes time and expertise.

5. Proposal:Volunteer Toolkit

This may be my favorite proposal. Creating such a toolkit is a form of volunteer recognition: an organizations demonstrating that it values its volunteers so much that its willing to invest the time, money and other resources to develop the tools they need to feel supported. It also acknowledges that volunteers are never free; involving and supporting volunteers takes time, resources and expertise, and those can't always be donated. As I said on the talk page for this proposal, Why is it that we wouldn't blink at the idea of such a price tag for supporting paid staff members, under the banner "Human Resources", for a global company, excluding the salaries of those who are being managed, yet when we're talking about unpaid staff -- gadzooks, why should we spend money!

What I'll Do Next

As a member of the Task force/Community Health, I'll continue to read through new "Proposals for editor awards or rewards" and "Proposals_for_volunteer_support" (sorry, don't know how to link to them) and comment on such, and participate in Task Force discussions as much as my time allows. But I don't have as much time as other members of the Task Force; my contributions will tend to be in one-two day spurts, then a week of silence.


I'm still very unclear about this process. Will proposals be implemented based on the amount of buzz they get? I think some things should be decided by popularity but others need to be chosen by someone with an appropriate background/expertise, who can truly define the feasibility and appropriateness of proposals. No, this isn't a pitch to hire me.

I'm also concerned that this process is going to have an end date and some suggestions will never be realized. I think there needs to be a way for this strategic planning process needs to be open-ended, so that great ideas aren't lost because they didn't come in during a specific time period. That's also a form of volunteer recognition!

Hi, I'm not the best person to answer all of that. But I can tell you that the WMF board will be delivered the recommendations the Task Forces come up with and they will have meetings to discuss them. I'm assuming that their tech guys, money-men and everyone else will be present and can speak to feasibility. The subject of open-endedness or otherwise has been raised before but I can't recall what was said. I'm sure User:Philippe and/or User:Eekim can fill you in on that subject if you drop them a line on their talk page. From my personal point of view I would really like to follow-up on editor rewards (about which you have made such a great proposal), so I will be eagerly following developments, offering help to make it happen and prodding people (if necessary) about it for long after any official deadlines pertaining to work on this wiki. --Bodnotbod 02:57, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
The current process has a fixed budget and timeline; it will be concluded when the deliverables are approved by the Board. Our hope, though, is that it will serve as an impetus to the projects to continue planning and find ways to implement those proposals that make sense. -- Philippe 07:05, 25 November 2009 (UTC)