Starting at the Beginning

We're one of a number of groups looking at different aspects. So we can probably limit ourselves to a simpler structure:

  • Take for granted what Wikimedia and its projects are, their goals, their audiences, etc.
  • Take for granted what quality is. We may have to prioritize some quality points over others for now, but we probably don't need to figure how to define it right now.
  • Look at the aspects of quality that we will focus on for no. These are the ones that we feel could have the most powerful effect on quality, be most sure of realizing that effect, and be most practical to focus on.
  • Look at what may most boost those (to do) and what we know most gets in the way (to figure how to reduce).
  • Look at long term structural threats to quality. For example, "political" type editors, who know the ropes, get a following, dont much care for some kinds of norm, aren't a threat now, but allow it too much and it could be in 5 years. Ditto content arbitration or other "fixed views", what starts as dispute resolution could end up as a tool to control/censor other content viewpoints.
FT2 (Talk | email)20:49, 28 November 2009

I would also like to get away from the threads. A lot of great info and perspective is being provided, but we eventually need to get past the discussion phase and start working towards providing real deliverables. We also need to find a way to organize all this info, as well as all the other information that has been provided by others in the past. That is why I suggested we start a series of subpages under the Quality Task Force page that we can each contribute to and edit like an article. The first subpage I was suggesting is something that defines how we are going to approach the problem of quality improvement. I was thinking in terms of steps we need to take, and what order we need to do them. If we truly want to deliver some final proposals by 01/12/2010, we also need some target dates to compelte each activity or assigned task.

MissionInn.Jim21:08, 28 November 2009

I think we're doing okay on that. What we're seeing is suggesting very firm "deliverables". If we need to look at other forms of deliverable (if these are not in the right area) that's a different point. But right now the threads above are working well for actual hard discussion of deliverables.

Look on threads as each being a forum page. What I'd suggest is some threads will be used for general discussion, or for discussion on a theme. Meantime other threads will be opened for evaluation and pitching of very specific ideas and suggestions. That's how we have it so far. It seems to work.

If you have specific perspectives or ideas to consider, start a new thread for each.

FT2 (Talk | email)21:40, 28 November 2009

I don't agree about firm deliverables. I think we have ideas that have no cohesive framework.

So far, I am still not experiencing anything cohesive coming together or "working." There are fragments. There is no "thread" no backbone holding this all together, except the assumptions all of us have about Wikipedia, which may or may not be accurate or held in common. Which is why I keep going back to looking at what Wikipedia is, how it does what it does and where it is going.That is also why I suggested above a new beginning -- to take stock, create a framework and put all the "threads" inot some sort of organization.

Bhneihouse04:03, 29 November 2009

"Top down" from too abstruse a level is going to be a vast issue. I've tried to tackle a framework from a slightly different perspective. See the thread above, "Friends and enemies of quality". Any use?

FT2 (Talk | email)04:14, 29 November 2009

I'm not talking top down. I am talking about working in parallel. If you can imagine renovating a building. you have this framework there, and you have to figure out what works and what doesnt. Then you get to figure out new layouts within the defined rooms that are being kept. Like: you have this great bedroom you want to keep but the colors of the walls dont work or the bathroom has only one sink. You work in parallel with what is and how you want it to be over time. That is what I am talking about with framework -- it exists regardless, and big changes, like changing the foundation or reframing walls are big deals but changing out sinks isnt such a big deal. This isnt top down, it's sideways.

Bhneihouse05:04, 29 November 2009

FT2; I also am not talking about a top down approach, although I would not be opposed to that. I only feel we need to be more organized and methodical about how we approach this problem (i.e. the problem of how to improve quality). Discussion lists are good for discussion, but they do not provide a summarized and organized presentation of the material. We can consider each thread a "forum", but forums don't provide a good product either. Using my job as an example, if I was to turn in a threaded discussion as a final product, I would likely be fired. My boss and other stakeholders are not going to want to wade through a discussion list to understand an issue and how we reached a conclusion. The information has to be packaged. Also, the various threads are popping up arbitrarily based on whatever comes to mind of each Task Force member. It is unclear to me what our Task Force priorities are, or should be, or why I should spend my time on one particular thread versus another. I don't mean to come across as critical of what has been done. I really think that everyone is providing a lot of good input.

MissionInn.Jim06:33, 29 November 2009

The process I'm seeing is slightly more open than that. A threaded text as a final product would indeed be unwise. But consider, we have a vast and strange area of uncertain characteristics, and we need to find major orienting points quickly. Those exploring also come from very different backgrounds, philosophies, conceptual approaches, and expectations.

What I'm seeing is that the landscape itself is holographic. Wherever we explore, if we do it well, we'll probably come to the same (or similar) final conclusions.

We're starting by creating threads on a range of ideas that come to different people's minds, some looking at the structures and philosophies, some practicalities, some small items that cause known problems. What I think'll happen is some kind of common understandings intuited through these, of common themes that keep coming up in different guises. That in turn will inform an overview that maps to the issues as they are in reality (not in concept), which we can then turn around and use as a guide to check for exceptions, frame our thinking, and ask "is this what we want".

Not saying that's "how to do it", but it's what I think we're seeing, and projecting forward, what will come out of it.

FT2 (Talk | email)07:00, 29 November 2009

I second this.

I believe those micro discussions, that explore the entire minutaie (thank God for spell checker on that word) of a concept can be extremely productive in a thinktank environment, but this is not specifically a thinktank. This is a group that MUST have recommendations by a certain date that is less than 2 months away.

Yes, we need certain aspects of a thinktank here, but it can be done within a framework that will organize the thoughts and cause them to be cohesive enough to hopefully spawn recommendations.

Bhneihouse17:44, 29 November 2009

Bhneihouse; I agree we don't have any firm deliverables yet. We have not even identified what we need to deliver. I think I am in agreement with you. You are referring to a framework, and I am calling it a plan or approach. Regardless of the specifics and what we call it, we need some kind of structured approach to make sure we are focusing on the right issues and doing the right research. Unless we do that, we will just continue discussing issues endlessly. The discussion and ideas presented so far really show a lot of creativity, but we need to harness it and provide a clear direction. We also need a way to ensure that we take into account all the other ideas that have been submitted by other users throughout the Wikimedia projects.

MissionInn.Jim06:17, 29 November 2009


ditto. and discussing issues endlessly will not get us where we need to go.

"we need a way to ensure that we take into account..." that is why I am suggesting mapping out the framework, which can work as a blueprint or guide of what already exists and then we can use things like a "newbie user experience" as a litmus test for the workability of existing ideas/processes/concepts.


Bhneihouse06:22, 29 November 2009

I really don't think we can take anything for granted. The problem with taking things for granted is that each of us may understand or perceive things differently, so we are all working from a different "zero" or starting point. I also cannot take for granted what the word "quality" means for the same reasons. If I do not know what everyone else on this team experiences as quality how can I prioritize anything? and if I do not fully understand the brand of Wikipedia, which is what your point one is, then how can I focus on one part of quality over another? How do I know which part of quality is the most important or the most important now?

If I do not fully understand Wikipedia's brand in the same way as the rest of the team, then how can I understand or agree to what the structural threats to quality are? For example: if Wikipedia's brand is to include everyone, then policies that ban people only when they engage in really abusive behavior are probably appropriate, and not sanctioning them when they cross the lines of common courtesy and socially accepted behavior might be okay. However, if Wikipedia is trying to be a well vetted source of reliable, neutral information, then anyone that gets in the way of that doesnt belong in the community.

Can you see the shift?

So it's impossible to take anything for granted and get real, meaningful work done.

Bhneihouse05:17, 29 November 2009

This led me to an interesting "tipped on its head" question. See thread above: "Quality\community balance"

FT2 (Talk | email)05:50, 29 November 2009