Talk:2012 Communications Review

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This is a place for discussion related to the 2012 Communications Review to take place. Please share anything for suggestion, comment and debate here. The article page has been populated with content as a starting point, please also feel free to make changes / notes there. --Stevie Benton (talk) 13:29, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Strategy and Implementation.[edit source]

The starting ideas look to me like a mixture of a strategy and the implementation of that strategy. However, it is a "review" so that is fine and dandy. LoopZilla (talk) 14:59, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Thank you Loopzilla, I'm glad you said that. There needs to be a review of what's already there and how it's being used in order to strategise effectively - which is the step after the review (in my view, at least). --Stevie Benton (talk) 15:06, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Communicating with whom?[edit source]

One of my frustrations since I started has been how unfocused we are about communicating within the community. First of all, as Chris pointed out in his review we have too many different channels, some of which are hardly used or even visited. We need to refine this. Secondly we neglect our members - I am one and get little aside from AGM stuff. I would like to know more, be reminded of where to look etc. Thirdly we should remember our donors who are an important base for support. A quarterly enews telling them about all the great stuff we do and encouraging them to come along to meets etc seems a no brainer. Fourthly we need to be faster and sharper. If people are to visit our blog we need it to be responding at the speed of light to whatever is happening and being talked about. Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 09:47, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes, the who is essential to identify and sound out with our community. A stakeholder map would fit well, and a map is more than a list, as the interrelationships and responsibilities for communications between the wider movement, our members, our key contributors (such as GLAM ambassadors, international e-volunteers, coordinators, project managers, professionals and WIRs, high volume project editors) all needs to be mapped to be used with explanations of each channel which itself might be a bundle of different methods.
We also need to know when communication occurs rather than just pointing to the message being sent. This means that communication is 2-way, it has to be confirmed as understood, that's what makes it hard and measurable.
I'll also make a key point I made around the time of the Comms interviews - I would expect the comms plan to include the comms cycle - what instant responses and messages do we bank in advance, what communications do we plan and invest in every week, every month, quarter or annually. With this worked out we can then predict all the resources needed to do it well and judge the balance between delivering it by supporting staff or front line volunteers.
Oh yes, and we need to do all this in a light-handed way to avoid becoming a burdensome bureaucracy. ;-) Cheers -- (talk) 10:06, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Jon and Fae, thank you for your thoughts and comments so far. I'm really looking forward to moving this work on and coming up with solutions to the points that you've highlighted. --Stevie Benton (talk) 15:32, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Comments from Charles Matthews[edit source]

I was encouraged to read what Jon wrote above. To say I feel strongly about the issue is an understatement. If I haven't pushed my views forward, it is for two reasons: I have been very close to this one in the past, and I need to disagree directly with conventional wisdom among the trustees.

Trying to keep it clear:

  • For these purposes it is really hopeless to equate "the chapter" with "the community" (cf. recent remarks by Mike Peel, but this one goes back a long way), or "those on the wikimediauk-l list" with "the community".
  • WMUK was set up consciously as a membership organisation, implying a moral obligation to communicate with the membership. This has not been done, and Board members implying this is in some sense discretionary are showing a lamentable attitude, in my view.
  • Minuted comments from a year and more ago: Tom Dalton saying the newsletter should be abandoned, and Seddon saying the Board shouldn't be micro-managing the newsletter (see How the chapter works/Board approvals). Tom's view prevailed. But of course there should be a newsletter.
  • What the "working community" = active editors need is clear enough: a mailing list, which exists, and an equivalent of the Signpost, but about UK-centred topics.
  • What members need is to know what is going on: both in a timely fashion, so that they can plan to come to events, and in retrospect, so they can decide what events they might enjoy; and also to know how to vote at AGM time.
  • Donors may need to know how their money is being spent; but communications must be very easy to opt out of, since no one likes spam, and it's a personal decision what that is.
  • The wikimediauk-l list is taking on the characteristics of a relatively high traffic list, with threaded discussions of topics of special interest. Those who only want informative alerts would probably be better off with a Twitter feed. That assumes someone is responsible for seeing that anything of general interest is tweeted.
  • This wiki has not been developed specially well for comms. By that I mean several things. There are pages that are WMUK-related that are really not for public editing: these should be flagged up very clearly. There are anchor pages for events, and these are linked generally from the main page if current. There isn't really a group of pages for communication as such.
  • A Signpost-equivalent could be here on this wiki and community-run for the most part: the issue is really division of labour. A GLAM reporting strand would obviously be useful.
  • The WMUK blog should be a better read (plus the points Jon brings up).

Something like this is a schematic: three things (email list chatter, Board blog, Twitter as run by the office) should feed into an onwiki Signpost-equivalent here (monthly, volunteer editor, pulled together from a newsroom page), which would also collect up media coverage of interest; and from that source the further members' newsletter, donor material, chapter reporting for the WMF should be derived. Also flyers and other ephemeral requirements.

It is clear enough that comms should be run in such a way as is likely to bring in supporters and sympathetic parties of all kinds. 14:20, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Hi Charles, thanks for the feedback, I recommend Stevie follow up with you directly for some of the context here. Although we have chatted a bit about problems in the past, I think I've missed something with regard to your second bullet point about implying communication with members was discretionary. During my interviews for the Communication manager this was a critical aspect of the role and I honestly cannot remember anything the board have put out that might imply otherwise. A lot has happened in the last year, and I am sorely aware of several communications failures (hence why the Comms role was an important early recruitment position), so I admit, you may have one or more of those events in mind, including our poor communication of the successes we have had. Being too busy to waive the flag is a real problem with our rapid growth, I hope you can also see we are improving. Thanks -- (talk) 15:12, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Charles, your feedback is very useful, thank you. It's absolutely key to me that this review identifies how we can improve communication with members, volunteers and donors and also key that the resulting strategy outlines how this will be done. Please do rest assured that I'm taking all views on board and that anyone, at any time, can contact me directly with any concerns. I will be in touch, but in the meantime please do drop me a line at or call me on 020 7065 0993. --Stevie Benton (talk) 15:30, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

@Fæ: I can tell you why I think that (beyond pointing out the minutes), but I will not do that here, and frankly my reluctance to comment at all stems from privileged communications with current Board members. 15:34, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

I agree with the direction of the review, and most of all the comments above, & I doubt there is resistance on the present board to more communication - the recruitment of a Comms officer shows this, as you would barely need one to do what we currently do. On a minor point, it's very often hard to find stuff on the wiki here as the use of categories is frankly deplorable - check out last year's AGM minutes to give one example. This is something that should be chipped away at while the review proceeds. Johnbod (talk) 16:25, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Well, actions speak much louder than words in this area. 16:37, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Charles, mate, you are in a special position within our movement that goes well beyond just who is currently on the board. I'm not really sure what the implication is here, I'm probably not on the right wavelength, but I'd be quite happy to chat with you confidentially by email if you prefer (Fæ takes a moment to glance at his massive email backlog), though I fully respect your position if you would rather not get into it if such internal reflections would be unhelpful in the long term. We have our elections drawing upon us just now, and there is no better expression of the firm views of our members as to the performance of the board than that anyway. :-) With humongous movement-changing things on the near horizon like the WCA and the FDC, there is an awful lot of good work we are all needed for, regardless of whether we happen to be trustees for a brief time or not. Giving a stronger voice for long term leaders within our movement was one of the key reasons I wanted to get Board/Fellows and Associates in place before we all welcome the incoming board. Cheers -- (talk) 16:50, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

You might look at Membership/Process, not edited in well over a year, where it still claims that members will be subscribed to an email newsletter. That is what has been treated as "discretionary" by successive Boards. WMUK has taken money on that basis. 07:17, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Donor and member communications[edit source]

It's pretty clear from the earlier comments and from anecdotal evidence that the first priority of this review absolutely needs to be donor and membership communications. I'll look at generating a couple of email templates using MailChimp as I think we should certainly do more in this area. I'll share these for comment. We should certainly send a thank you email to donors after the AGM, along with an update on what we've been up to and AGM outcomes. Certainly, we should do more to show our appreciation (and definitely shouldn't ask for more funds in these comms). Making better use of our existing social media channels would be another way to do this. --Stevie Benton (talk) 10:15, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

I agree, though we need to be conscious of the path we take these donors down. We need to gradually move them from the messaging used in the fundraiser (which is all "keep Wikipedia free") to whatever messaging we are using the rest of the time (which I hope we'll be deciding as part of this review ;-) ). Showing appreciation and demonstrating the impact of donations is important (& part of this is the global impact of donations keeping Wikipedia running, alongside our outreach projects).
I think at one stage you, Jon and I discussed an email asking them to read the online version of the Annual Report & saying we're happy to send them one in the post if they want...?
With donors in particular it is possible to test different emails and see how people respond to them, before emailing the whole list - it would be good if we can get into the habit of testing & learning with our donor emails. The Land (talk) 17:29, 14 May 2012 (UTC)