FANDOM


Strategy wiki

Train wreck at Montparnasse 1895

WereSpielChequers
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 06:34:51

I'm not convinced that the need to retype your password was the only or even the main reason why Strategy had relatively few participants from the community.

Using Strategy as a testbed for liquid threads was also a contributory factor, I'm sure I wasn't the only person who had problems with that. I think it would have been better to ask for one of the smaller wikis to volunteer - perhaps with a promise of extra developer resource in compensation. But using Strategy as a pilot for Liquid threads meant that for most editors the Strategy wiki was less familiar than it needed to be, and when there were glitches with Liquid threads it was all too easy to stop editing on Strategy and go back to your home wiki, that's certainly what I did.

I suspect that launching a completely new wiki where all banned users could come and troll [my bold] was slightly too brave and open a move for some editors, and that it would have been better to have run Strategy as a project within meta. In fact if we are serious about the simplification agenda then migrating the contents of Strategy to meta would be a logical step to take, perhaps also with a rename to "new ideas" as that was what it effectively became.

WereSpielChequers


Virgilio A. P. Machado <vam@fct.unl.pt>
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 21:47:59

About liquid threads. It all depends on which Wikimedia project you're editing and publishing. If you have been using liquid threads since August 2010, using them now is like a walk in the park. Aversion to change is, however, a serious question and there's always a price to pay when it is mishandled or not handled at all.

Only now did I realized that Strategy consubstantiates most of what I thought was a distant hypothesis. I wonder no more. It's right there before my own eyes and for everybody to see. Strategy is such a great project that I don't even know if it has any administrators, bureaucrats and so on. Never noticed any of them. Never felt the need to look them up for any reason whatsoever. If what was sated is correct, that Strategy is a "completely new wiki where all banned users could come and troll," I'm very sorry to be the bearer of these disappointing news: editing and discussing in Strategy is a breeze. Please bear in mind that I do not have a 100 per cent knowledge of everything that has been written in Strategy. I'm given testimony based on my own experience and observation. I can even provide some quantitative data about that experience, whose analysis is beyond the scope of this post.

A very dear friend of mine, who is a sysop, ex-bureaucrat and checkuser of the pt.wiki, who has been careful enough to publicize in 12 of 19 edits that I was either banned or blocked in the pt.wiki, while never mentioning a single accomplishment of mine on pt.wiki or any other Wikimedia project, follows me everywhere I go like a good pet. As soon as I started to participate in the ongoing Strategy discussion, at 2:19, on March 13, 2011, a little over 24 hours later, at 4:10, March 14, he started editing on the same project, allegedly "to help on vandalism combat," presumably from this vandal (add that to scourge and troll). Why does your pet dog follow you everywhere you go? Because they love you and want your company. Anyway, he has been completely out of luck.

Moving to Meta as an alternative to Strategy, would be a giant step back for Wikimedia. Meta is the worst of the worst Wikimedia projects I know. Of course, Meta Queens and Kings (no pun intended, please read Rullers) are free to run any "new ideas" page they see fit, but I wouldn't put any of my money on it. As a matter of fact I would like to see them do it, so that we could all have the benefit of the results.

Before I finish, as the runner up to Meta's undisputed leadership, let me mention the Brazilian Wikipedia, where to this day both me and my students are still the object of vandalism and abuse. It is so bad that nobody dares to do anything about it, despite my continued pleas, and I have the evidence to back every word that I'm writing here. The Bronze goes to the English Wiktionary.

On the other end of the rainbow (again, no pun intended) is a pot of gold called Portuguese Wikibooks. It has been a privilege for me and my students to work there. On every virtue, every human quality that you may think of, the guys that run that project are absolutely outstanding. I should know. I am the same person, and they handle all the grief I cause them as true civilized human beings. It has been an honor to be in such company.

Sincerely,

Virgilio A. P. Machado (Vapmachado)


Samuel Klein
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 21:52:18

On Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 2:34 AM, WereSpielChequers [...] wrote:

> project within meta. In fact if we are serious about the simplification agenda then migrating the contents of Strategy to meta would be a logical step to take, perhaps also with a rename to "new ideas" as that was what it effectively became.

That's not a bad idea. It should certainly be combined with the new projects discussions on Meta.

SJ

In reply to Virgilio's comments

Virgil Mosaic Bardo Museum Tunis 618px

Virgil between History and Tragedy

WereSpielChequers
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 10:28:47

> Message: 3
> Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2011 05:43:41
> From: "Virgilio A. P. Machado" <vam at fct.unl.pt>
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Board Resolution: Openness
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
> Message-ID: <mailman.35468.1302418463.28183.foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed

> I know that nobody has the guts to do it, but I wonder... I wonder what would happen if all administrators, bureaucrats and so on where told to take a hike. What would happen if new requirements for being administrator and so forth included assuming real identities, and a set of real world qualifications. What it would be like to grant amnesty to all that are currently banned and/or blocked. What it would be like if there was separation of powers, and secret balloting. I wonder what it would be like if Wikimedia projects would borrow a little more from democratic principles. Yes, I wonder... Scary thoughts aren't they? No surprise though, coming from someone who is the scourge of countless Wikimedia projects and a troll according to many.

> Sincerely,

> Virgilio A. P. Machado

In reply to Virgilio's comments:

1 "What would happen if all administrators, bureaucrats and so on were told to take a hike"

I don't know about other projects, but within a few days, perhaps hours the English Wikipedia would be trashed. With no admins to block vandals or delete attack pages, and no pages that were admin only for editing then not only would spammers and cyber bullies have a field day and the most common templates would be magnets for penis picture vandalism. Within a few days or at the most a week or two the foundation and all the wiki mirrors would either have to go offline or revert to the last "clean" version of the pedia in read only mode.

Then the foundation and or one or more other organisations would reopen for editing having recruited a set of moderators. I'd hope that one of the forks would be an advertising free volunteer run wiki much like Wikipedia and with many of the current administrators, I'd be surprised if at least one of the forks wasn't commercially run, advertising funded with paid moderators. Assuming there was some notice of the decision to tell the admins to "take a hike" the transition to a fork might be quite seamless, and the mirrors would probably have the sense to stop taking updates from the moment you handed Wikipedia over to the vandals.

2 What would happen if new requirements for being administrator and so forth included assuming real identities,

Even if you paid them, a lot of people would baulk at disclosing their real world identities when blocking paedophiles and the point of view warriors of every contentious issue on the planet. There are sites that went down the route of requiring all editors to identify, and providing you aren't ambitious and don't want a large community that can work. But I'm not aware of any site that has allowed anyone to edit but required those who deal with its vandals to disclose their real identity, more common I think is to allow anyone to create an account but pay moderators whose real identity is known to the office but who have role accounts for editing.

3 and a set of real world qualifications.

Interesting but what qualifications would you require? Better qualified people cost more and expect work that requires some of their expertise. For deleting spam and attack pages and blocking vandals you certainly don't need a high school diploma. IT literacy, written fluency in the relevant language and some communication skill and the ability to spot vandalism is required. I'm not aware of a relevant real world qualification, but our existing though flawed request for adminship process is effective at weeding out those without such skills.

4 What it would be like to grant amnesty to all that are currently banned and/or blocked.

It is just fine, providing we continue to only grant amnesty to those who accept the terms of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Standard_offer A blanket amnesty on other terms would only make sense if we wanted to compete with Encyclopaedia dramatica.

5 What it would be like if there was separation of powers,

Not very different from today. At the moment the same admin can't block someone and decline their unblock. If you had two different groups, admins who blocked and another group of editors who considered unblocks then things would be a little slower, especially when an admin blocked someone by accident and had to get an unblocker to reverse their mistake. So slower, more bureaucratic and less efficient, but most editors would never notice a difference.

6 and secret balloting.

We use Secret ballots for Arbcom elections, it makes sense to do so when you are deciding which 8 out of 13 candidates to support and you wind up voting against some candidates because you think that others are better for the role. We don't use secret ballots for appointing administrators because, speaking from experience, rejected candidates want to know why they were deemed unsuitable and what they need to change or learn before trying again.

7 I wonder what it would be like if Wikimedia projects would borrow a little more from democratic principles.

It would be much easier to change things, and we would all have to get used to changes happening that didn't attempt to compromise with our objections. In a democracy if 51% want to implement a change and 49% prefer the status quo then the 51% win and the 49% lose. In Wikimedia both "sides" need to understand each other and try to come up with a solution that achieves what the 51% wanted but without doing the things that the 49% didn't want. In practice that isn't always possible and sometimes you get a logjam where most people want change but we don't have consensus for a particular change, however we are only just over ten years old and I doubt if any of our logjams are even as old as that. One of the interesting things for our next few decades will be to see how successful we are at eventually getting consensus solutions to problems that currently seem intractable. Personally I'm optimistic and think that a measurable minority of the problems that currently evade a consensus solution will have been resolved even before the end of our second decade.

8 Scary thoughts aren't they?

No. But thanks for posing them.

Regards

WereSpielChequers


FT2
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 11:48:08

More comments: [my format]

1 "What would happen if all administrators, bureaucrats and so on were told to take a hike"

  • Apart from the oddness of having a community choose people it wishes to do these roles and then telling them to "take a hike" (the community choose these, they aren't imposed), WereSpielChequers has it right.

2 What would happen if new requirements for being administrator and so forth included assuming real identities,

  • If you want to identify influential users I suggest you start with Featured Article writers, for surely the people who write content and are involved in its assessment as being shown to the world on the main page and described as highest quality (and most authoritative by implication) are highly influential users. Which is to highlight the illogic of the question.

    Administrators are not highly influential compared to two other groups - those who write high quality content (main page, tagged as "featured article" etc) and the mass of general users who together create the ethos of the site and a lot of any social issues. Administrators get a lot of attention because they have a disproportionate involvement in addressing abuse and inter-user misconduct, which is largely what the tools handle, but not convinced this makes administrators of any great stature in the community.

3 and a set of real world qualifications.

  • What would the point of this be? Neither in theory nor practice do administrators have specific roles in content work. Should we require real-world qualifications from editors generally? I think not - the skill an editor needs is editing, which is to say the ability to review sources and summarize them fairly. They usually don't need topic-specific qualifications to do that.

4 What it would be like to grant amnesty to all that are currently banned and/or blocked.

  • Probably dispute and disruption mayhem. Most bans and significant duration blocks - the vast majority - are people whose interest is vandalism, attacks, and spam. Of the rest the vast majority again are people whose way of working involves incidental or deliberate degradation of the editing environment for others or for readers. A small minotiry may well benefit from review, but not nearly enough for a general unconditional amnesty to the vast majority who probably would not.

5 What it would be like if there was separation of powers

  • This prsumably means we have people who edit, and people who handle disputes/operate the tools. Presumably those who use tools would either be recruited directly as non-editors, or would give up editing. I cannot see a better way to create a group of users who don't know how to use tools wisely, than to demand one or the other of these. It's far better that we keep as it is - users who use enhanced tools are editors first and foremost, come from the community, are nominated by the community, and still remain immersed in the community as editors thereafter.

6 and secret balloting.

  • Not convinced either way on the "secret ballot" issue nor a strong view on it. There are also advantages to seeing specific views and being able to weigh them and comment on / discuss them.

7 I wonder what it would be like if Wikimedia projects would borrow a little more from democratic principles.

  • You don't say which principles. The ones that polarize society (Republicans/Democrats, for example, who attack each other rather than look for points of similarity)? On a wiki page people ultimately have to learn to co-exist. Those who can't or won't gradually sooner or later gain wider attention for that reason. I think that's a lesson most democratic countries could learn from us, not the other way round.

8 Scary thoughts aren't they?

  • No. I don't find them scary at all. Thanks for them.

FT2


Dan Rosenthal
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 19:41:43

On Apr 10, 2011, at 6:28 AM, WereSpielChequers wrote:
> 4 What it would be like to grant amnesty to all that are currently banned and/or blocked.

> It is just fine, providing we continue to only grant amnesty to those who accept the terms of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Standard_offer A blanket amnesty on other terms would only make sense if we wanted to compete with Encyclopaedia dramatica.

I think it would even be fine without such an offer. Unless we're talking about an amnesty followed by an inability to re-block those who abuse it, I think this would only be a irritation in the short term, especially if it's done in an opt-in rather than opt-out manner (i.e., you must put the {{unblock}} template on your page and ask for the amnesty in order to be unblocked/unbanned).

-Dan

Can it get any worse?

AltonTowers-Oblivion 450px

Virgilio A. P. Machado <vam@fct.unl.pt>
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 20:47:58

Of course. No doubt about it. We have now reached a level beyond personal attacks. Now my name is used as a thread. So much for "focus on the comment, not the person making the comment."

Will I ever address the comments made? As sure as day follows night.

Sincerely,

Virgilio A. P. Machado (Vapmachado)


Victor Vasiliev
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 21:12:16

Pity you prefer to assume bad faith (I'd even say worst faith) instead of replying to the comments (discussing a tone of a messages is neighboring with personal attacks in Graham's hierarchy of disagreement).

Now, following your logic, when we use Newton's laws of motion to solve a physical problem, we are focusing on Newton's personality. Nice?

--vvv


Virgilio A. P. Machado <vam@fct.unl.pt>
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 21:54:48

My sincere apologies. Did I stated that it could get worse? I had no idea or prior knowledge that there were people in this list exchanging posts with Newton. Whenever any of you has a chance, please give him my best regards.

Sincerely,

Virgilio A. P. Machado (Vapmachado)


Ashar Voultoiz
Wed, 20 Apr 2011 06:04:32

On 10/04/11 22:47, Virgilio A. P. Machado wrote:
> Of course. No doubt about it. We have now reached a level beyond personal attacks. Now my name is used as a thread. So much for "focus on the comment, not the person making the comment."

> Will I ever address the comments made? As sure as day follows night.

You are complaining about being considered as an inconvenience since may 2009. What about taking this less personally and get back to the [edit] button?

--
Ashar Voultoiz

Plea for candidates: WMF Movement Communications Manager

Leaning tower of pisa cyark

Barry Newstead
Wed, 6 Apr 2011 01:08:02

Hi!

Another quick note on the Movement Communications Manager posting that we are hoping to fill at WMF. We have a number of applicants, but very, very few are from the Wikimedia community. We would really love to fill this role with a strong Wikimedian, so if you are interested or know someone who may be interested, please apply or reach out to Jay Walsh or myself.

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Job_openings/Movement_Communications_Manager

Note: If location is an issue, we could be flexible.

Best,
Barry

--
Barry Newstead
Chief Global Development Officer
Wikimedia Foundation


WJhonson
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 16:36:19

The job is written in such a narrow way that it's not very likely you're going to get many candidates from within the community sorry. You want someone with a communications degree, who is a native English speaker, can also communicate in a non-English language, and has experience in CSS, and templates, and Wikimedia projects in general.

Sorry all of those things just do not go together in my mind. Even tech savvy people do not necessarily know much to anything about CSS, and those that do are not journalists and writers in general. So that's your first strike out. People who are journalists with degrees in communications or that sort of field, do not gravitate toward the Wikimedia projects at all. The few that do, are very very unlikely to be able to create or even understand templates. So that's your second strike out.

99% of native English speakers, perhaps even 99.9% can not communicate even minimally in any other language whatsoever. So that's your third strike-out.

It seems the job requirements were written by a computer science degree-holder who thinks somehow knowing how to use IRC is a requirement of communications outreach....

I see the deadline is in two days for submissions :)
I prophecy doom.

Dubya the artist formerly known as Will Johnson


Sarah
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 18:32:56

On Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 10:36, [WJhonson] wrote:
> The job is written in such a narrow way that it's not very likely you're going to get many candidates from within the community sorry. You want someone with a communications degree, who is a native English speaker, can also communicate in a non-English language, and has experience in CSS, and templates, and Wikimedia projects in general.

I understood that they wanted someone who was ideally *not* a native English speaker. That was something that concerned me when I read it, because it looked as if the intention was to disadvantage applicants who had English as a first language. Or did I misunderstand it?

"Demonstrated ability to work (speak, read, write at a professional level) effectively in a language other than English (ideally as a native speaker)"


Fred Bauder
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 18:42:16

English speakers and Europeans generally, such as you and I, dominate most Wikimedia conversations. I doubt anyone could function in this position if they didn't understand English, but our hope is to get the rest of the world involved.

However it is hard to imagine an ideal second language that is not European; only Arabic is spoken by a large diverse population with internet access.

Fred


Sarah
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 19:03:01

Is that kind of bias against national origin allowed when hiring?


Béria Lima
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 19:05:40

[On Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 18:42, Fred Bauder wrote:]
> However it is hard to imagine an ideal second language that is not European; only Arabic is spoken by a large diverse population with internet access.

Hindi and Japanese (chinese too but not all of they have internet acess) ;)
_____

  • Béria Lima*

<http://wikimedia.pt/> (351) 925 171 484

  • Imagine um mundo onde é dada a qualquer pessoa a possibilidade de ter livre acesso ao somatório de todo o conhecimento humano. É isso o que estamos a fazer.***

Béria Lima
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 19:07:48

2011/4/15 Sarah [wrote:]
> Is that kind of bias against national origin allowed when hiring?

Is not a Bias Sarah. Anyone can apply, but they have to know english (if not as 1º language as 2º one) and another language (if english is the 1º one). If this person is american, chinese, brazilian or african (i imagine) that really don't care
_____

  • Béria Lima*

<http://wikimedia.pt/> (351) 925 171 484

  • Imagine um mundo onde é dada a qualquer pessoa a possibilidade de ter livre acesso ao somatório de todo o conhecimento humano. É isso o que estamos a fazer.***

Sarah
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 19:17:14

It doesn't say that, Béria. It seems to say that, ideally, the successful applicant will not have English as a first language, i.e. will not be from most of Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and several more.

That rules out a huge number of Wikimedians (most, in fact) just because of their birthplace and culture.

The ad says: "Demonstrated ability to work (speak, read, write at a professional level) effectively in a language other than English (ideally as a native speaker)"

Sarah


Béria Lima
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 19:27:15

And no English speaker is able to learn a second language?
_____

  • Béria Lima*

<http://wikimedia.pt/> (351) 925 171 484

  • Imagine um mundo onde é dada a qualquer pessoa a possibilidade de ter livre acesso ao somatório de todo o conhecimento humano. É isso o que estamos a fazer.***

Risker
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 19:29:20

On 15 April 2011 15:17, Sarah [...] wrote:
> It doesn't say that, Béria. It seems to say that, ideally, the successful applicant will not have English as a first language, i.e. will not be from most of Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and several more.

> That rules out a huge number of Wikimedians (most, in fact) just because of their birthplace and culture.

> The ad says: "Demonstrated ability to work (speak, read, write at a professional level) effectively in a language other than English (ideally as a native speaker)"

Not quite sure where you're coming from there. Today I've interacted with about 60 professional colleagues. They're all Canadians but I'd venture to guess that at least a third would consider themselves native speakers of at least one other language.

Risker


Sarah
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 19:33:07

Not sure what you mean, Risker. The point is that the ad is discriminating against people who are native English speakers, i.e. because of their origins and culture. The question is whether that's allowed under whatever employment legislation governs the hiring. And law apart, it seems unfair.

Sarah


Béria Lima
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 19:44:19

I don't see how can be discriminative Sarah.

I (and all no english speaker here) needed to - at some point of their lifes - start to study a second language. We all have problems to speak in a language we are not native and had to spent years to be good in it. The ad forces us to speak one specific language. I.e., if i'm fluent (I'm not) in Portuguese, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Japanese but don't speak english, i can't apply. The only thing required for english speaker is be able to talk in other language (*any *language). How that can be discrimative?
_____

  • Béria Lima*

<http://wikimedia.pt/> (351) 925 171 484

  • Imagine um mundo onde é dada a qualquer pessoa a possibilidade de ter livre acesso ao somatório de todo o conhecimento humano. É isso o que estamos a fazer.***

jay walsh
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 19:53:24

On Apr 15, 2011, at 12:33 PM, Sarah wrote:
> Not sure what you mean, Risker. The point is that the ad is discriminating against people who are native English speakers, i.e. because of their origins and culture. The question is whether that's allowed under whatever employment legislation governs the hiring. And law apart, it seems unfair.

> Sarah

Glad to see lots of discussion about this, and I appreciate that the phrasing of the language qualifications may lead to a bit of confusion.

Perhaps a more clear way to write this sentence would have simply been to state that we're looking for a candidate who can speak English as well as another language at the 'native speaker' level - that is, someone who is bilingual.

This is of course not intended to be discriminatory - many of the volunteers I work with on a regular basis speak/write in english very well, but they are native speakers of another language. In many cases they speak/write in more than 2 languages.

On Will's initial note about the qualifications or experience being too limiting, I appreciate those points.

It's unlikely we'll find someone who fits 100% of those qualifications to a tee. It's safe to say that most jobs posted (including those at WMF) have a list of qualifications that are long, but we're unlikely to get all of them.

This is a big, challenging, and perhaps complicated role - and as it's laid out, I agree that it may create the sense that we expect this role to solve a problem/challenge that is likely not solvable... But we do want someone who is excited about that challenge and willing to both take on simpler tasks (like writing or corresponding) while also thinking about the bigger overall challenge: the need to improve the quality and method of the whole conversation between WMF and the community.

It will take time and more than one person to carry that forward, but I do know that within a short period of time this person will be able to help WMF bring more information to everyone, and to help bring more of the movement/communities achievements to the whole community, and to the public at large.

If people feel they embody the spirit of that task, we really hope they'll apply :)

Thanks
jay

Jay Walsh
Head of Communications
WikimediaFoundation.org
blog.wikimedia.org
+1 (415) 839 6885 x 6609, @jansonw


Sarah
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 20:02:35

On Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 13:53, jay walsh [...] wrote:
> Glad to see lots of discussion about this, and I appreciate that the phrasing of the language qualifications may lead to a bit of confusion.

> Perhaps a more clear way to write this sentence would have simply been to state that we're looking for a candidate who can speak English as well as another language at the 'native speaker' level - that is, someone who is bilingual.

> This is of course not intended to be discriminatory - many of the volunteers I work with on a regular basis speak/write in english very well, but they are native speakers of another language. In many cases they speak/write in more than 2 languages.

Hi Jay,

Would you mind changing that ad to make clear that you're looking for someone who's highly proficient in a language other than English, rather than "ideally as a native speaker" in that language? That wording strongly suggests to me that you may judge applicants in terms of where they're from. Fred got the same impression, when he talked about Europeans dominating and "our hope is to get the rest of the world involved." That would be an unfair hiring practice, not to mention shooting the Foundation in the foot in terms of cutting off a large number of potential applicants.

Sarah


Quim Gil
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 20:34:13

To put things in perspective...

On Fri, 2011-04-15 at 12:42 -0600, ext Fred Bauder wrote:
> However it is hard to imagine an ideal second language that is not European; only Arabic is spoken by a large diverse population with internet access.

Already in 2009 China had more Internet users than USA had citizens. It is considered that nowadays there are more mobile Internet users in China than citizens in the USA.

This position is offered primarily in California, where 40% of the population are native speakers of a language other than English. Spanish leads the list by large, followed by Chinese. Then you have all the people that has learned other languages and are able to use them at work.

Conclusion: not really a big deal and somewhat expected in a position like this. Combining a degree in journalism with CSS skills is definitely more tricky. I wonder whether this is required at all with the publishing tools available nowadays (including MediaWiki) and the usual (and laudable) focus on clear content this community has.

--
Quim


Fred Bauder
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 21:26:26

[On Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 19:03], Sarah wrote:
> Is that kind of bias against national origin allowed when hiring?

I don't think it is bias. Giving extra attention to the global south is a legitimate goal. Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, and Chinese are commonly spoken there. There are different considerations with respect to each language. Actually I think more people speak Hindi than speak English.

Fred


WJhonson
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 21:26:39

Sarah I understand your point, but the required qualification just above the non-English states : "Exceptional English writing is critical for this role, including the ability to write time-sensitive, efficient, compelling, and clearly understandable communications products for a wide range of audiences."

To me personally, I cannot see a person for whom English is not a first language being able to pass that requirement at all. Many second-language learners can communicate in English, but I can count on one hand people I've met who can communicate in a way which is compelling. And those who can are more-than-likely not going to be available for a position like this. Sorry to say.

So it still sounds to me like the requirements include English as a first language, and also fluent in a second language.

Will Johnson


Sarah
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 21:46:34

On Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 15:26, Fred Bauder [...] wrote:
> I don't think it is bias. Giving extra attention to the global south is a legitimate goal. Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, and Chinese are commonly spoken there. There are different considerations with respect to each language. Actually I think more people speak Hindi than speak English.

It might be a laudable goal, but the question is whether it's lawful in the United States, or in California, whichever prevails. Because what it suggests is, if there are two candidates equally qualified -- a person from Ireland whose first language is English (and excellent), and a person from Afghanistan whose second language is English (and excellent) -- the latter will be preferred. Not because their first language is one the Foundation is specifically looking for (which could be justified), but because they were born in a country that did not make them a native English speaker. That is discrimination. Try to imagine an ad that said: "Ideally your native language is not Urdu."

Sarah


Fred Bauder
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 22:16:24

Well, I would not be surprised to be wrong, but I don't think your legal theory would be valid, after all the candidate fluent in Urdo may well be an American citizen and have read at Oxford. The question is whether a global organization hires globally, hiring people who have experience and skill in communicating globally.

Fred


Risker
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 22:21:02

On 15 April 2011 17:46, Sarah [...] wrote:
> It might be a laudable goal, but the question is whether it's lawful in the United States, or in California, whichever prevails. Because what it suggests is, if there are two candidates equally qualified -- a person from Ireland whose first language is English (and excellent), and a person from Afghanistan whose second language is English (and excellent) -- the latter will be preferred. Not because their first language is one the Foundation is specifically looking for (which could be justified), but because they were born in a country that did not make them a native English speaker. That is discrimination. Try to imagine an ad that said: "Ideally your native language is not Urdu."

In my area 30% of people are perfectly capable of communicating at a native level in two languages, and others have already shown that an equivalent percentage in California itself can do that too. In Europe, the ratio is probably even higher, as it is in several other countries. Place of birth is no longer the sole determining factor in what languages people communicate in proficiently, and it hasn't been for at least a generation.

The WMF is an international organization, and having employees who are effective in a range of languages is not just a laudable goal, it is crucial to the Foundation's success; that alone is enough to give it an exemption from the "Americans first" rule. And the Urdu line bears no resemblance to anything that is actually in the advertisement.

I tend to agree with Will that it's very unlikely the WMF will find someone who meets every one of their "ideal candidate" criteria; however, finding someone who fits all criteria of a position description at this level is almost impossible for any organization. I'll be saddened but not surprised when the successful candidate is announced and someone immediately pipes up "but s/he doesn't meet criterion 32(b)(ii)! How could you have hired this person!! They're unqualified!!"

Risker


Sarah
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 22:24:52

On Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 16:16, Fred Bauder [...] wrote:
> Well, I would not be surprised to be wrong, but I don't think your legal theory would be valid, after all the candidate fluent in Urdo may well be an American citizen and have read at Oxford. The question is whether a global organization hires globally, hiring people who have experience and skill in communicating globally.

Right, I understand that. But my question is whether an employment ad in America could lawfully say (or imply), "Ideally your native language is not Urdu."

Sarah


David Gerard
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 22:30:10

The problem is that that's not what the ad says. As Risker pointed out, you're going way into left field here.

  • What is the question you are asking?
  • What is the moral point you are attempting to make?
  • What is your recommended course of action?
  • Should you have been consulted?

- d.


Risker
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 22:31:03

On 15 April 2011 18:24, Sarah [...] wrote:
> Right, I understand that. But my question is whether an employment ad in America could lawfully say (or imply), "Ideally your native language is not Urdu."

No, your question was whether or not the ad that the WMF posted for a specific position could seek out candidates who are able to communicate in a language other than English as a native language. The WMF ad didn't say anything about Urdu, so asking about it is a strawman. Please don't do that.

Risker


Sarah
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 22:36:42

On Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 16:30, David Gerard [...] wrote:
> The problem is that that's not what the ad says. As Risker pointed out, you're going way into left field here.

> * What is the question you are asking?
> * What is the moral point you are attempting to make?
> * What is your recommended course of action?
> * Should you have been consulted?

The point seems to me to be an obvious one. The point of substituting Urdu for English is to make the analogy more precise, to bring out the structure of the sentence. Given that we're discussing precision of language, I'm sorry I'm not able to be precise enough to communicate it properly.

But here we see something that happens on this list a lot. Someone questions or disagrees, and they're attacked. Why is that? What is it that makes questioning a bad thing?

Sarah


Ray Saintonge
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 22:53:00

On 04/15/11 2:46 PM, Sarah wrote:
> It might be a laudable goal, but the question is whether it's lawful in the United States, or in California, whichever prevails. Because what it suggests is, if there are two candidates equally qualified -- a person from Ireland whose first language is English (and excellent), and a person from Afghanistan whose second language is English (and excellent) -- the latter will be preferred. Not because their first language is one the Foundation is specifically looking for (which could be justified), but because they were born in a country that did not make them a native English speaker. That is discrimination. Try to imagine an ad that said: "Ideally your native language is not Urdu."

The Irish candidate would still be required to be equally proficient in a second language, which could be Gaelic. A specific exclusion, such as Urdu would be discriminatory. A native Navaho speaker would probably qualify. Would it be discriminatory if the State Department hired foreign service workers on the basis of language proficiency? If the CIA hired spies that weren't fluent in the language where they would be posted they would be less than effective.

Ray


Risker
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 22:53:15

On 15 April 2011 23:24, Sarah [...] wrote:
> The point seems to me to be an obvious one. The point of substituting Urdu for English is to make the analogy more precise, to bring out the structure of the sentence. Given that we're discussing precision of language, I'm sorry I'm not able to be precise enough to communicate it properly.

> But here we see something that happens on this list a lot. Someone questions or disagrees, and they're attacked. Why is that? What is it that makes questioning a bad thing?

I'm sorry that you're feeling beleaguered, Sarah; that is not my intention. However, I think you're really reading something into the position requirements that just isn't there. Let's take the direct quotes as they relate to language expectations:

Exceptional English writing is critical for this role, including the ability to write time-sensitive, efficient, compelling, and clearly understandable communications products for a wide range of audiences. Demonstrated ability to work (speak, read, write at a professional level) effectively in a language other than English (ideally as a native speaker) Experience leading projects in a multi-lingual environment, including collaboration with volunteers for whom English is not a first language [1]

Nowhere in there is there exclusionary wording about any particular language. In fact, the only language that appears to be critically required is English, and that requires an "exceptional" skill level, whereas any other language requires only a "demonstrated ability".

The prospective employer has determined that the position needs someone with high level ability in at least one other language besides English, and justifies it because the position requires leadership skills in a multi-lingual environment. I guess I'm just not getting where the labour standards concern is coming in.

Risker

[1] http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Job_openings/Movement_Communications_Manager


Fred Bauder
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 22:55:21

On 15 April 2011 23:24, Sarah [...] wrote:
> The point seems to me to be an obvious one. The point of substituting Urdu for English is to make the analogy more precise, to bring out the structure of the sentence. Given that we're discussing precision of language, I'm sorry I'm not able to be precise enough to communicate it properly.

> But here we see something that happens on this list a lot. Someone questions or disagrees, and they're attacked. Why is that? What is it that makes questioning a bad thing?

Talking about this was useful and interesting.

Fred


Sarah
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 23:02:01

On Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 16:53, Risker [...] wrote:
> I'm sorry that you're feeling beleaguered, Sarah; that is not my intention.

It wasn't you, Risker. It was David's comment: "Should you have been consulted?"

I am tired of seeing these comments on this list. It's the first time one has been directed at me, but I've watched other people be treated the same way. It makes no sense. Questioning, disagreement, and transparency are important; it's what Wikimedia is all about, in fact. I know people sometimes go too far, and occasionally gentle rebukes may be needed, but they happen way too often on this list, with very little provocation -- and they're not gentle.

We can't say we want new editors, old editors to stay, and a good atmosphere onwiki, then have these kinds of exchanges.

I'll reply to the rest of your email some other time, Risker, if that's okay, and I'll try not to labour the point. I do think it's an important issue or I wouldn't be asking about it, but I'm obviously not expressing myself well, so I'll take some time to think about it.

Sarah


Fred Bauder
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 23:04:54

On 15 April 2011 23:02, Sarah [...] wrote:
> It wasn't you, Risker. It was David's comment: "Should you have been consulted?"

Yes, snippy. Not that you didn't go on and on...

Fred


Ray Saintonge
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 23:43:18

On 04/15/11 4:02 PM, Sarah wrote:
> I am tired of seeing these comments on this list. It's the first time one has been directed at me, but I've watched other people be treated the same way. It makes no sense. Questioning, disagreement, and transparency are important; it's what Wikimedia is all about, in fact. I know people sometimes go too far, and occasionally gentle rebukes may be needed, but they happen way too often on this list, with very little provocation -- and they're not gentle.

> We can't say we want new editors, old editors to stay, and a good atmosphere onwiki, then have these kinds of exchanges.

It is a valid point about David's comment. Maybe us old hands have become too accustomed to David's sarcasm. Other than that it seems to have been a conversation where one person was offside to everybody else. I've been there before and know how uncomfortable it can become. The insensitive comment was certainly not essential to the main topic of the thread, but if in raising it the only result would be to have David personally change his ways nothing of significance to the community would have been accomplished. One person would have been fixed while the rest of us could go smugly on believing that that was the end of it.

The continuum from valid on-topic comments, through insensitive sarcasm to outright personal attacks is not made up of discrete and easily identifiable steps. Where is the middle ground between insensitivity and hypersensitivity.

Ray


Virgilio A. P. Machado <vam@fct.unl.pt>
Fri, 15 Apr 2011 23:54:28

At 00:02 16-04-2011, [Sarah] wrote:
> I am tired of seeing these comments on this list. It's the first time one has been directed at me, but I've watched other people be treated the same way. It makes no sense. Questioning, disagreement, and transparency are important; it's what Wikimedia is all about, in fact. I know people sometimes go too far, and occasionally gentle rebukes may be needed, but they happen way too often on this list, with very little provocation -- and they're not gentle.

> We can't say we want new editors, old editors to stay, and a good atmosphere onwiki, then have these kinds of exchanges.

> I'll reply to the rest of your email some other time, Risker, if that's okay, and I'll try not to labour the point. I do think it's an important issue or I wouldn't be asking about it, but I'm obviously not expressing myself well, so I'll take some time to think about it.

> Sarah

I feel your pain. Everything is funny as long as it happens to somebody else.

From http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Job_openings/Movement_Communications_Manager

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS (Don't they know how to write without shouting?)

"Exceptional English writing is critical for this role, including the ability to write time-sensitive, efficient, compelling, and clearly understandable communications products for a wide range of audiences."

This is clearly discriminatory since it excludes 99,999 % of all American citizens and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; national origin is what's at stake here.

"Demonstrated ability to work (speak, read, write at a professional level) effectively in a language other than English (ideally as a native speaker)."

This is clearly discriminatory, since it includes 99,999 % of non-American citizens.

Therefore, as it has been written, these required qualifications discriminate against American citizens and clearly favor a non-American citizen (a.k.a. "bloody foreigner" or "illegal immigrant", please excuse my "bloody language").

These language requirements may indeed be perfectly aligned with everyday practice at anything run by the Wikimedia Foundation, considering the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 23 (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. [...] (Did you notice "language"?)

Writing "about this was useful and interesting."

Sincerely,

Virgilio A. P. Machado (Vapmachado)


Virgilio A. P. Machado <vam@fct.unl.pt>
Sat, 16 Apr 2011 00:05:27

At 00:43 16-04-2011, [Ray Saintonge] wrote:
> It is a valid point about David's comment. Maybe us old hands have become too accustomed to David's sarcasm. Other than that it seems to have been a conversation where one person was offside to everybody else. I've been there before and know how uncomfortable it can become. The insensitive comment was certainly not essential to the main topic of the thread, but if in raising it the only result would be to have David personally change his ways nothing of significance to the community would have been accomplished. One person would have been fixed while the rest of us could go smugly on believing that that was the end of it.

> The continuum from valid on-topic comments, through insensitive sarcasm to outright personal attacks is not made up of discrete and easily identifiable steps. Where is the middle ground between insensitivity and hypersensitivity.

> Ray

So nobody has any idea why things are the way they are? Will I have to make a drawing?

Virgilio A. P. Machado (Vapmachado)


Andrew Garrett
Sat, 16 Apr 2011 00:25:04

On Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 8:24 AM, Sarah [...] wrote:
> Right, I understand that. But my question is whether an employment ad in America could lawfully say (or imply), "Ideally your native language is not Urdu."

It looks like the problem here is that there is confusion on what is meant by "as a native speaker".

Some people are taking it to mean "We'd like it to be your first language", in which case Sarah is quite correct that it specifically excludes people whose first language is English from the "ideal" requirements. Others are taking it to mean "We'd like your ability to be as good as if it were your first language", in which case Berìa is correct that it is pragmatic, reasonable, and legitimately useful for the job.

I'd like to invoke the principle of charity and think that Wikimedia means the latter, but I can see why somebody might be interpreting it as the former, since the latter reads a bit more into the words.

--
Andrew Garrett
http://werdn.us/


Dan Rosenthal
Sat, 16 Apr 2011 00:48:51

It might be easier if you look at it as a numerical scale where "native speaker" is a quality level at or near the top, and someone who speaks none of or only a handful of words in the language is at the bottom. From Jay's clarification:

"Perhaps a more clear way to write this sentence would have simply been to state that we're looking for a candidate who can speak English as well as another language at the 'native speaker' level - that is, someone who is bilingual. "

The way I read this is that they want you to have two languages at the "native speaker" quality level. Or in other words, if an average native English speaker can speak at a 4 out of 5 point scale (hypothetically assume that a full 5 would be reserved for someone like a university English professor or something), then they're asking that you speak both English and one other language at at least 4 out of 5 points.


MZMcBride
Sat, 16 Apr 2011 02:49:40

[On Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 00:05], Virgilio A. P. Machado wrote:
> So nobody has any idea why things are the way they are? Will I have to make a drawing?

I would love a drawing.

MZMcBride


Virgilio A. P. Machado <vam@fct.unl.pt>
Sat, 16 Apr 2011 05:46:55

GTBOS: http://www.youtube.com/v/l7AWnfFRc7g


Ray Saintonge
Sat, 16 Apr 2011 07:37:39

On 04/15/11 5:05 PM, Virgilio A. P. Machado wrote:
> So nobody has any idea why things are the way they are? Will I have to make a drawing?

A *relevant* drawing would be nice. Your offer of a drawing is no less sarcastic than David's about being consulted. We're not talking about elaborate theoretical ramblings purporting to explain how we got where we are. That solves nothing. What I addressed was a class of comments that is neither constructive nor a personal attack, but somewhere in between.

Ray


Peter Coombe
Sat, 16 Apr 2011 23:43:12

On 16 April 2011 01:48, Dan Rosenthal [...] wrote:
> It might be easier if you look at it as a numerical scale where "native speaker" is a quality level at or near the top, and someone who speaks none of or only a handful of words in the language is at the bottom. From Jay's clarification:

> "Perhaps a more clear way to write this sentence would have simply been to state that we're looking for a candidate who can speak English as well as another language at the 'native speaker' level - that is, someone who is bilingual. "

> The way I read this is that they want you to have two languages at the "native speaker" quality level. Or in other words, if an average native English speaker can speak at a 4 out of 5 point scale (hypothetically assume that a full 5 would be reserved for someone like a university English professor or something), then they're asking that you speak both English and one other language at at least 4 out of 5 points.


In fact we have something very similar on the projects, in the commonly used "Babel" system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Babel

So it appears the requirements for this position are en-5 (professional level of English) and xx-4 or greater (near-native level of another language).

However I did interpret the current wording "as a native speaker" in the same way as Sarah at first, until it was clarified on this list. Perhaps it should be changed on the job openings page.

Pete / the wub


Krinkle
Sun, 17 Apr 2011 18:33:01

[On Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 05:46], Virgilio A. P. Machado wrote:
> GTBOS: http://www.youtube.com/v/l7AWnfFRc7g

(by the way)

An equally interesting episode of that by the way is the one about what really motivates us, and the free software movement:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc#t=7m30s

--
Krinkle


Virgilio A. P. Machado <vam@fct.unl.pt>
Sun, 17 Apr 2011 19:36:32

Yes, indeed. I didn't send that one because it did not address the question at hand, but it's a great analysis that addresses an important issue relevant to the contributors to all Wikimedia projects. It even fully explains what motivates me. I hope everybody was able to identify themselves with what is presented in the video as well as I did. The video also explains why things are not going the way they were suppose to go. The reason ties in perfectly with my point: an absence if not total lack of empathy. Let's wait to see if there are any further comments. So far we have a one to one tie, not enough to draw any conclusions. I'm very encouraged by the fact that no flame war has erupted so far. These videos (and drawings) are food for thought, not taunts for knee jerk reactions.

Sincerely,

Virgilio A. P. Machado (Vapmachado)