- Starting point
Bhneihouse asked Philippe and Eugene (WMF Strategy team) to clarify the scope of "Quality" for the taskforce team. She proposed a Quality taskforce for the "big picture" (quality of project) and sub-taskforces for Content quality, or else to address quality of project as the main area of focus. "If we address only content quality in a vacuum we could end up building on a faulty foundation".
She had discussed with FT2 an approach that would create a skeleton framework that would provide multiple approaches simultaneously.
Bhneihouse continued that although the data was provided, she did not feel sufficiently guided in finding it. It paralleled other assumptions, that users would figure matters out themselves and tolerate a lot in doing so. She felt accommodations she needed were not provided, and that deep assumptions were not being recognized, including assumptions that prevented people seeing important questions. If that was so here, then "how will Wikipedia respond to finer points such as how a newbie needs to be treated in order to maximize the quality of their user experience and to break the barriers to their participation and contribution...?"
- "[I]s there any way to engage in this process with a clean slate... a way to effectively include people who are new to Wikipedia, who don't know where to find information, to prepare them, give them information, guide them (while respecting their acumen), and without them feeling like they are being put through torture to get something simple done? Is there an entirely new way to work... that leaves behind old unworkable assumptions, and that accommodates not only disabilities but differing working styles so each team member is able to be as effective as they are capable of being?"
- General discussion
Woodwalker agreed that the taskforce could not self-limit by ignoring some entire aspects of quality, although focusing on aspects of content was not itself a problem: "Philippe/Eugene's answer is an extra reason to make content quality our main priority, but I believe we can't do that if we don't address the project/form/demand aspects of quality as well".
Bhneihouse stated she would review further statistical data and try to get some ideas about user expectation. She endorsed ideas by FT2 on "a choice of interfaces with a choosable level of help" that had been tentatively mentioned off-wiki.
Philippe confirmed "[the team's] mandate is to address the issue of content quality: that's the thing that the Board and our partners at Bridgespan and our internal staff have identified for this task force. You're welcome to address other issues as well, but we'd like that not to be at the expense of content quality. If you want to go in other directions, fine, but please make content quality your priority for the January deadline".
Bhneihouse stated that as "content" was not specifically stated in the original mandate, "we are free to make this task force what we feel is appropriate. Personally I am going to take advantage of the current state of anarchy to work in what I estimate is in everyone's best interest and keep the focus on big picture quality because without it, quality of content is IMPOSSIBLE. However, I am quite amenable to working side by side on content quality issues".
Philippe noted the mandate was a part of Priority 3, "Improve Quality Content", and referenced pages and data related to quality of content such as Improve quality content/Overview of Wikimedia projects and the content landscape, Improve quality content/Opportunities to improve core reference content and Improve quality content/Quality control and assurance deep dive. Content quality was a major issue and the taskforce was asked strongly ("implored") to work on that as its primary task.
Bhneihouse stated that users had been told they were "free to do as we see fit regarding quality" and asked how content could thrive in a poor general environment:
- "Some of those assumptions may be so deep that people do not even realize they have those assumptions. Try changing your thought pattern to call the color blue the word "red" and you will have an idea of what a deep assumption looks and feels like. By their nature, they are things that are taken for granted as givens."
She suggested "Perhaps it is time to stop plugging quality of content, as many comments... keep citing bad behavior as inhibiting good content", and that "bad behavior may actually be the single largest factor inhibiting or blocking quality content", because it keeps well meaning users from contributing, obscures appropriate content (in her words "the truth"), interferes with Wikipedia's mandate (and the content itself), and prevents Wikipedia being a welcoming community.
She added (later) that "being able to be effective [in these circumstances] grinds to a halt... magnify that 100 or 1,000 times for a newbie who isnt used to sorting out complexities and digesting them quickly. How do we get THAT person to (comfortably) add quality content?... What about ordinary Joe's and Jane's who have something valuable to contribute? How do they have any hope of creating quality content if it's difficult for them to express their thoughts on here? Or if their level of frustration is so high that they just choose to NOT contribute...?"
Randomran noted Philippe was not saying to ignore behavioural issues, he was saying not to lose sight of the main goal of the taskforce. The Community Health taskforce had a lot of overlap on this, but he "would hate it if there was no task force that wasn't making quality their top priority". He noted that all these aspects were interconnected, but that "the value of giving us different focuses is that we might notice different things. If we all focus on the same issues equally, we limit the value of the process".
- "While... these things are interconnected, I really want to leave community health issues, as much as possible, to the community health task force... It doesn't make sense for every task force to emerge with exactly the same set of recommendations, all centered around community health. We recognize that community health is a problem. That's why there's a task force... working on it.[...] [P]lease monitor their stuff and know that they're working on it, and drawing almost exactly the same conclusions you are. My hope is that you can feel freed of that particular aspect and move on to the other things that affect quality of content."
Yaroslav Blanter noted that content quality concerns existed more or less similarly on all projects, but other issues such as hostile behaviour varied greatly and could not be this taskforces' main focus. He suggested focusing entirely on content quality issues.
Woodwalker stated he had written something similar elsewhere.