Talk:2012 Five Year Plan/First draft

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Tango's comments[edit source]

First of all, I'd like to say how fantastic it is that work has started on a 5 year plan. I remember the board meeting just over a year ago when we agreed the 2011 budget and we were just making it up as we went along trying to come up with something vaguely sensible that made the books balance (and I think we actually did a pretty good job, under the circumstances). Now we are seriously thinking about what we're going to be doing not just next year, but in 5 years. This is a really big step for the chapter and I'm really pleased to see it.

I am also really pleased to see how many of the items in the first draft have specific, clearly measurable targets ("SMART targets", as they are known). That is something we have historically not been very good at (both in WMUK and in the wider Wikimedia movement). It is really important that, in a year's time, 3 years' time and 5 years' time, we can go through and say "Yes, we succeeded in that." and "No, we didn't quite manage that, what went wrong?". The way this draft has been set out, that will be really easy to do. So, thank you, staff!

Now for the criticisms! I see two potential problems with this draft plan. Firstly, it looks too ambitious. Each individual target is realistic and achievable, but I think if our attention is split between so many different things we'll end up not managing any of them. I think we need to come up with a relatively small number of priorities (4 or 5, say), each with one or two targets (at each time period) to measure success against. Off the top of my head, inspired by the targets already in the plan, I think good priorities would be: "Financial stability and sustainability", "A large and engaged membership", "Strong and transparent governance (as measured by the PQASSO marks)" and "Large scale member-led activities in GLAM and education".

Secondly, I'm concerned by the financial growth you are projecting. WMDE may have been able to achieve that kind of growth, but that was a very different time in the movement. I think we need to clearly separate out funds raised through the annual fundraiser on the WMF sites from funds raised elsewhere (the plan already says we should be diversifying our revenue streams, but it doesn't give any numbers for that yet). We then need to make sure we're not intending to spend more than our fair share of money from the fundraiser. (I suggest we not worry about how much we're raising in the fundraiser and how much we're sending to the WMF, since that is very much up in the air at the moment - let's just focus on how much we actually spend. Once the future of Wikimedia fundraising is a little less foggy, we can figure out the details.) I would advise against any plan to get more than 15-20% p.a. growth in the amount we spend from the annual fundraiser. I think we will struggle to justify any growth higher than that at the expense of other chapters and organisations (who mostly have budgets less than 10% of ours at the moment). I'm not sure what growth is intended by the numbers in the current draft, because it isn't clear where that money is coming from or how much (if any) of that money is intended to go to the WMF. It may well be that the intention behind those numbers doesn't involve more than 15-20% p.a. growth in the amount we spend from the fundraiser, in which case please just clarify the numbers. --Tango (talk) 19:33, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the really useful starting comments Tango. Very helpful and I look forward to everyone else's.

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 10:46, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Timetable[edit source]

What's the timetable for writing and agreeing this plan? The page says it will be discussed at the board meeting in late April. Is the plan to then agree it at the AGM in May? Or will it be discussed at the AGM and then agreed at some later date? I think the latter is preferable - planning 5 years in less than 2 months is a big ask! I'm not quite sure how we would agree it, though - waiting until the next AGM is too long, written resolutions require 50% of total membership to actively support it, which might be difficult to achieve, and EGM sounds like a lot of hassle, and anything which doesn't involve formal approval by the membership sounds like a bad idea to me. What thoughts have the board and staff had on this subject? --Tango (talk) 19:48, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

As long as it takes to get it right is my feeling and even then we revisit it every year.
To be sane I would like to get it 90% finished before the AGM. Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 10:43, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Harry's comments[edit source]

These are specific things that jumped out at me and that I felt it worth commenting on, rather than an analysis of the whole plan.

  • 1 year:
    • "ensure integration with the community" is crucial—the chapter only exists to support the community, and staff (even those with more back end jobs if we hire more in the longer term) should make every effort to make themselves part of the community, as the the current four have done and are doing.
    • "Regular wikimeets established in five locations"; we've already done this—London, Cambridge, Coventry, Manchester, and Liverpool. I know four of those are outside London, but they still count! ;) Monthly newsletter is long overdue and a good way to encourage greater participation, so great to see this included.
    • Training—YES, YES, YES! Especially for volunteers who do a lot of teaching, a mix of professional training and workshops where we can learn from each others experience would be invaluable, and would hopefully encourage more people to do that sort of volunteer work while giving us a core group who can train other interested volunteers.
    • GLAM—small-scale GLAM events are very easy to set up, and don't need much support from staff. The key (as with other types of outreach) is to build local Wikimedia communities and set them to work. This is best done by people 'on the ground' (even if they've been parachuted in).
  • 3 year
    • Staffing: as long as we're very careful that we're not expanding the bureaucracy to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy. Consideration should be given to whether a given role can be performed by temporary or part-time staff, and obviously it must be remembered that the staff and the chapter exist to support volunteers, not to control them. If we get up to eight staff in three years, that, in my opinion, would be the time to consider basing staff outside London—with all the staff living and working in London, we risk turning what is already arguably Wikimedia England into Wikimedia London.
  • 5 year
    • Regular wikimeets within 20 miles of 90% of the population is almost impossible, and not especially wise, imo. The most obvious issue is sparsely populate areas like most of Scotland, Wales and South West England. Even excluding them from consideration, we'd have to hold wikimeets at motorway service stations to fulfill this, and there would be large overlaps in the communities—for example, we'd be having meetups in Coventry and Birmingham (and probably Wolverhampton), or London and Watford, for example. 50 miles would be more realistic, or perhaps one in every city or conurbation.

I'd like to see more priority given to education outreach—the plan is very thin on this, and is basically "let's get some more contacts and put the odd WIR in place", compared to GLAM, where there are firmer ideas for progress and the plan seems to have staff falling over themselves to support it. It's not just about getting contacts at universities—there's a lot we can do ins schools and FE colleges, and where we have contacts at a university, we need to build a relationship and hold events to make it mutually beneficial. Expert outreach is not mentioned at all, and yet having recognised experts involved in Wikipedia is crucial to it being taken more seriously by the academic community (and, even more importantly, to it being an even more reliable tertiary source). Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 20:32, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

90% of the population isn't that difficult to reach. According to Wikipedia, 83.8% of the UK population lives in England. If we have regular meetups throughout England and in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast, that ought to be enough to meet the 90% target (I'm not saying we should ignore everywhere else, just that the target isn't unrealistic). --Tango (talk) 21:46, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
At my last Charity (a self-help one where face-to-face was utterly crucial) I set this as a target and did a very dinky map. In effect you can do this with fifty groups and we achieved that in three years from a starting point of 20. It is doable. Most difficult was Aberdeen.
Great comments Harry.

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 10:52, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Comments by Charles Matthews[edit source]

  • Wikimeets are not WMUK activities, and in the past Mike Peel has said something along those lines, the nuances of which probably matter; but in any case they are not run by the chapter. They are emphatically not "membership" activities. The point came up recently, also. The distinction is actually important, and slurring it is a very bad idea.
  • Education. Yes, we were once going to have materials for teachers and so on.
  • GLAM. The three-year estimate is reasonable, but there are factors that may cause some "saturation"; and the calendar is going to need to be taken in hand.
  • There is nothing concrete in the plan about grants, online journal access, that kind of thing. Where is the direct relationship of the plan to content in the projects? 21:00, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Are you objecting to WMUK getting involved with meetups or just with them being classified as "membership activities"? I think the chapter can and should do a great deal to help support and encourage meetups. We should be careful to distinguish between "community" and "membership", though. The chapter should serve the entire UK community, whether they choose to join the chapter or not. Something like a meetup is a community activity, not a membership one, you are correct. --Tango (talk) 21:49, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Any implication at all that meetups are "members only", however slight, should be resisted as deleterious. It is complete misdirection.

It is much more likely that those who are casually interested in WMUK activities would come to a meetup, just to encounter other Wikimedians, than that they come in with a definite interest in what the Board are currently up to. Meetups are not dominated by chapter politics, which would be something just as likely to put off newcomers as motivate them. I.e. it matters that meetups are seen as "first contact" for those who have never seen another Wikimedian in the flesh, and are in no way cliquey.

All that said, if WMUK has ways to support meetups appropriately, that is to the good. But I'd be much happier if the whole area were reclassified as "outreach". 06:16, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Fair points. 'outreach' or whatever we call it I think the office's job will be to identify a geographical gap, e.g. Aberdeen, contact local members and supporters. Make a bit of a fuss in the local press and media and host a first meeting and possibly a second with sarnies and Pepsi Max. Then find the local people who will commit to run them and offer whatever suport (e.g. cost of room hire) they need. At my last job this is exactly what I did. We had no branch in Manchester. Myself and a colleague hosted the meetings in a pub every other month for about fice months. After that it took off by itself and became a strong independent branch.

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 10:58, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Filceolaire's comments[edit source]

This looks good to me. Things that could be added:

  • Grants programme
  • Software development
  • Major project
    • Updated Wikipedia for schools;
    • Video interviews/recordings/
    • Language teaching courses

The 5 year plan doesn't have to specify what these are - just that WMUK wants to have a grants programme, do software, support a major project. Filceolaire (talk) 22:41, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks - keep the ideas coming. We do need to be realistic (pace Tango) but let's be ambitious as well. There will be opportunities to work with other organisations who can support broader initiatives.
Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 11:00, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Comments from Chris K[edit source]

Thanks for this plan, Jon. It is great to see us developing this kind of thinking for the future. Most of the detail is very good, but there are a few things I'd change, or think about further...

  • Staffing - are these figures for staffing growth based on analysis of what additional posts we would need to implement the rest of the plan, or are they finger-in-the-air estimates? (We currently have 4 FTEs in post, one more FTE budgeted for, and a proposal for another one in the pipeline. So 8 by 2015 strikes me as on the low side if we are continuing to grow).
Totally finger in the air and probably not an aspect we should put in the front of our considerations. We need to think about the 'what' then the 'how'. If we need staff or contractor resources then so be it.

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 14:52, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

  • Membership - interesting thought about "considering a members' council or other participation as part of governance" - obviously members have a very strong role in governance at the moment, but that shouldn't stop us thinking about how to develop that if we are heading towards having thousands of members. Are there any examples of what you have in mind?
Many charities have such things but sometimes they are completely token. We have such good communications through the lists etc that perhaps we have one de facto? Germany have members councils twice a year - a good model? Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 14:52, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
WMDE's model is probably the closest one for us. There'd be no point having a token consultation, that wouldn't work for us :-) The Land (talk) 18:47, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Membership activities - there are a number of things here that are great, but don't need to be associated with "membership". Wikimeets and GLAM activities will obviously remain open to non-members. We could restrict some training to members only, but I am not sure why we'd want to. Equally I'm pleased to see "membership activities other" putting a focus on community-driven projects.
Important to see non-members as just members-in-waiting and excluded no-one - good point. There may be some member-only moments but few I suspect.

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 14:52, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

  • Fundraising - I think we can be more ambitious here, I think the goal you've identified for 3 years time is probably doable within a year.
Go on then put your money.... Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 14:52, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Income - only note here is that I doubt we will ever get to the ability to project income within 5% over a 5-year timeframe!
Have a stab! Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 14:52, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Digitization - I'm not sure how far we ought to make digitization a goal. It clearly has a place in our work one way or another, but I'm not sure we know how much of a place.
I have to ask then why is it so prominent in our programme - to discuss. Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 14:52, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure it is prominent in our programme. We have a relatively small budget for it this year, and only one active project involving it. Basically, anyone can digitise. Getting more digitised content released under open licenses, making it easier to use in Wikimedia projects, preserving its metadata, and measuring its impact - that's something only we can do. The Land (talk) 18:47, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
  • AGM - am not sure we should specify "prestige location". We have a lovely location for this time, but I don't think we should define it as an expectation for next year!
Discuss but seems sensible. Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 14:52, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
  • International work outside the community - International work is going to be vital so agree entirely about the "synergies" point. However, if we started doing outreach work directly in other countries, we would have to take great care to work with the existing Wikimedia communities in those countries, so much so that it's probably worth subsuming this point into the previous one in the document about WMF and chapters.
Perhaps - from my observations so far some bilateral work could be very good and Asaf at the Foundation very relaxed about it. Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 14:52, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
I think it would depend a great deal on who our bilateral partner was, and I think we'd need a good reason why they were working with Wikimedia UK rather than the local Wikimedia community. The Foundation's views aren't really what I'm concerned with here! Probably something to discuss further before we adopt it as an objective. The Land (talk) 18:47, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Many thanks, The Land (talk) 19:26, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

Some more comments from Jon Davies[edit source]

I was reflecting on our plan at the Chapter's Conference and actually getting feedback from other chapters who see us as a useful source of information!

1. We should put in some ambitions around sharing equipment (cameras, scanners etc) between volunteers.

Five years down the road I am hoping Wikimedia will have a project to record reminiscences of all the "I was there" witnesses before they die off. This would collaborate with the various local projects doing this but I hope we would also have our own recording studio in a box travelling round the country and the world. --Filceolaire (talk) 20:47, 5 April 2012 (UTC) 20:45, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

2. Put something in about our work with the PR industry? (let's get the discussion going on May 12 at the AGM and see what kind of view emerges from the Community - I am sure we can after that date)

3. Set everything against the Foundation key goals which we are in full agreement with.

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 14:52, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Mission[edit source]

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders.
Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. (Attributed to Antoine de Saint Exupery [1]

Our mission is to inspire people to yearn to for the vast and endless sea of knowledge.

At least that is how I would like to rewrite our mission. --Filceolaire (talk) 21:21, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Remind me where the love of the sea led Saint Exupery!!

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 11:44, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Second draft[edit source]

Please put your comments here. Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 12:54, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

I still think this is taking the wrong approach. This isn't how I think a strategy plan should look. It's currently just a list of things we think it would be good to do. Take a look at the Foundation's strategy plan. It has a small number of priorities and then for each priority outlines how they intend to achieve it and how they intend to measure success. We should do the same thing. Doing it your way, there isn't actually any strategy involved. --Tango (talk) 16:18, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
I have begun a counter-proposal 5 year plan, along the lines of how I think our strategy plan should look, here: Draft 2012 Five Year Plan/Counterproposal. I invite people to edit and discuss it (I'll fill in the missing sections soon, if nobody beats me to it). I suggest we switch to using mine as the working draft and use Jon's plan as inspiration, rather than as a starting point. --Tango (talk) 17:06, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
I think I agree with Tom's logic here. There are 30 operational areas in the draft, but 30 is too many for each one to be a strategic goal. We should clarify the strategic goals, and the operational areas should spring forth from them. The Land (talk) 11:23, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Step one discuss what we want to do and then write it up as strategic plan with priorities.

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 11:10, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Comments (on Draft 2) by Johnbod[edit source]

  • I think it is probably over-detailed and over-optimistic, when editor levels are still falling. To my mind our most important function is to promote increased editing in the UK & globally, which is not mentioned as such. Membership is secondary really, & I agree Charles M's point about meet-ups not being membership events or organized by WMUK. We don't currently have the active members to do much more than we are doing, & have yet to demonstrate we can recruit actives on the scale the plan requires.
  • Minor points:
"clear membership benefits" - hmm, not sure about this.
3 yrs on 'pool of equipment easily available at a range of locations (or something)' - tone this down.
Merchandising - bit too specific on this.

Johnbod (talk) 17:47, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Charitable objectives[edit source]

WMUK is a registered charity and as such our mission has been agreed with the charity commissioners and is incorporated in our articles of association:

To promote and support the widest possible public access to, use of and contribution to Open Content of an encyclopaedic or educational nature
or of similar utility to the general public, in particular the Open Content supported and provided by Wikimedia Foundation.

There is nothing there about building the organisation, stabilising the finances, expanding the membership. If we intend to spend money on any of those things we need to show how they tie back to our objects.

To do this we need to start with our three objectives:

  • Promote and support public access to open content of an educational nature
  • Promote and support public contribution to open content of an educational nature
  • Promote and support public use of open content of an educational nature.

These have to be the first three headings in the five year plan. (imho) Filceolaire (talk) 10:25, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree, up to a point. The plan at the moment feels like an "inside-out" document written with the internal priorities first (office, then staff, then membership, then outreach!) rather than an "outside-in". I'd be happier if we started with the objectives about our impact, then later in the plan mentioned resources. That said, I think that the health of Wikimedia UK and its community is really important to delivering that impact. The Land (talk) 11:09, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I also agree, up to a point. The bit I really agree with is that we need to show how things tie back to our objects. However, I think it is important to remember that this is a strategy plan, not a mission statement. Obviously, things like financial stability are means to an end, not objectives in themselves, but strategy is all about means to ends. The objective of the chapter is, absolutely, all about open content of an educational nature, but our strategy for how to achieve that objective does involve money and members. --Tango (talk) 14:12, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. We start with our three charitable objects then go on to discuss support functions and how these support the charitable objects. Filceolaire (talk) 15:15, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Staff priorities[edit source]

I'd like to see dedicated education staff as a priority beyond the one-year horizon. Two or three part-time posts or secondments, summing to one FTE, would be ideal if funds allow. Given the great potential of the higher education sector (which will in the long term be as important for us as GLAM) and the huge demands in terms of the variety and complexity of the organisations we have to deal with, this is a reasonable priority. MartinPoulter (talk) 11:05, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Table[edit source]

  • I have started work on the table. Unfortunately I cannot cut and paste from the pdf. Perhaps someone else can help out here. ThanksLeutha (talk) 16:32, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
    • Download the pdf and then upload it to Google Documents. You can then download a text or word version that you can edit and copy-paste. I've done the job for the current table. Perhaps someone could persuade Jon in future to keep and then upload a .doc or .odt version (but not his native Mac version as that's almost as bad as a pdf), if he is still not comfortable with wikitables. Roll on the WYSIWYG editor, I say! --RexxS (talk) 16:03, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
  • I have also put a navigation bar so that it is clear that User:Tango has also made a counter proposal.Leutha (talk) 17:10, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Do we want to build a cathedral?[edit source]

Looking at this Draft Five Year Plan, while I welcome the proposal for forward planning, it does seem to run a bit at odds with the way things work at wikimedia. I don't know how many people have had a chance to read The Cathedral and the Bazaar. My favourite encyclopedia says:

  • The Cathedral model, in which source code is available with each software release, but code developed between releases is restricted to an exclusive group of software developers. GNU Emacs and GCC are presented as examples.
  • The Bazaar model, in which the code is developed over the Internet in view of the public. Raymond credits Linus Torvalds, leader of the Linux kernel project, as the inventor of this process. Raymond also provides anecdotal accounts of his own implementation of this model for the Fetchmail project.

I feel this approach is more akin to the Cathedral model, whereas Wikimedia has developed more from the Bazaar model. (For a longer discussion of this please see a page I developed on wikiversity: Wikipedia and Nupedia. Leutha (talk) 20:27, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

well, on the Cathedral model we'd have posted the a final 5-year plan after the Board had voted on it, rather than Jon posting the first draft! The Land (talk) 20:53, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I see your point, but I think the use of the pdf format has meant that Jon is revising the plan after getting various peoples comments. I tried to help out with a table, but couldn't cut and past from the pdf (which might be a technical clitch at my end). Leutha (talk) 21:21, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree, this should have been done in wikitext from the start. --Tango (talk) 21:26, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I am updating it on a regular basis. You may have noticed that the debate is full of contradictions so I am relying on this page to distill and hopefully resolve discussions as we go along. At the board meeting in Monmouth we will have alook at eveything and come up with a new version that we can share again.

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 11:14, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Mike's comments[edit source]

I'm afraid that as this stands, I think that the draft needs a complete rewrite from the ground up. Because:

  1. It's not well structured. Start by figuring out what the main elements are (I'd suggest using a similar breakdown to the reports, i.e. Community, GLAM, Education, Technology, Fundraising, Staff, Trustees), then figure out all of the what, how, why, when (at the moment it's just the what and the when).
  2. It's not set up in a way that makes it easy for the community to improve it. Rather than having a fixed PDF that is impossible to copy-paste content from, please turn it into a wiki page that's easy to provide input and host discussions on the specific topics, rather than the current silos of comments by individuals. The assembly of this document should be led by Jon, but a significant part of it should be written by the community at large.
  3. It's not ambitious enough. It looks more likely if you read it as 1, 2 and 3 year plans - not as 1, 3 and 5. Examples:
    1. Income: I'd assume a 50% growth rate as a conservative estimate. So £1.5m, (£2.25m), £3.4m, (£5m), £7.5m. That's below our current growth rate, and my gut feeling is that it's going to stay at the current growth rate or similar at least until £10m.
    2. Staffing: as has been pointed out above, this is very much underestimated, particularly over the next few years.
    3. Office. Don't just think in terms of number of desks, but also other facilities. Particularly: community areas, meeting areas and available facilities. Perhaps even a public area (the idea of having a drop-in internet cafe-like place that can be used by anyone to learn to contribute to, or generally edit, the projects has been mooted before).

Other comments on specific lines:

  • Membership communications: you seem to be ignoring everything that currently exists here, in particular the reports (very much along the line of the 'monthly enewsletter' you mention), and the wikiconference that surrounds the AGM already. This needs rewriting.
  • GLAM - we already have the first, and most (if not all) of the third. You could argue that we have the fifth already.
  • University bases - what are they, exactly?
  • Membership activities - other. Yay, we're already done the 5 year plan! Rethink this please.
  • Contributor resources - 1 and 3 year already done?
  • Fundraising - the three year plan should be in place this year please. We'll go for the five year plan next year. There's no reason to hold back here.
  • Wikipedians in Residences - I'm not convinced that the goal here is to have lots of WiR's. The goal as I view it is to embed the concept of free knowledge into the ethos of the organisations we're working with, such that sharing knowledge via the Wikimedia projects is part of the organisation's day job, not only a single person's job. WiR's are great for trying something new and novel - but not for doing what should become routine.
  • Train the Trainers - this looks good.
  • Digitization - I'm still not convinced by this. The aim of having a digitization budget (as I view it) is to stimulate the release of content that's already been digitized, by using digitization projects to illustrate the benefit of releasing important content freely, and to build productive two-way relationships with the organisations. There's been so much investment in digitization over the last 10 years that there will be very little impact by any digitization program of our own unless it also makes the most of already-digitized works. I'm not sure whether this is working out, though, or whether it has the potential to be turned into reality by this route.
  • Software development - do you mean MediaWiki here? Or other software (e.g. CiviCRM)? Be specific here. And bear in mind that I'll be encouraging you to think bigger. ;-)
  • AGM - I definitely don't want to see one that lasts a whole weekend! Expanding WikiConference UK along these lines (with the AGM being a part) would definitely be good. I was hoping that we'd be going to parallel sessions this year, moving to a two-day conference next year, but I guess two-day conference in 2014 is now more realistic.
  • Merchandising - needs to say *why*. Just having goodies isn't enough - those goodies need to be there to stimulate activity and community involvement.
  • External media - the first is already happening. Should aim for good working relationships next year.
  • External influence - not convinced of this.

I have more comments, but I'll save them for the next iteration. ;-)

Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:53, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

I disagree about it not being ambitious enough. While we might be able to manage 50% growth in revenue over the next few years, I don't think we can justify a 50% growth in spending. The share that is granted to the WMF and other bodies will need to increase. The recent discussions on fundraising and fund dissemination have shown a consensus for money being spent where it can do the most good, rather than where it is raised. It is difficult to justify WMUK growing at 50% a year when there are other chapters with a fraction of our budget - the law of diminishing returns suggests those chapters would be able to make better use of the money (the law of economies of scale argues otherwise, but I think it would lose the argument). As for a re-write - see my counter-proposal for how I think it should be rewritten (look at the structure more than the content - the actual priorities are very much open for discussion). --Tango (talk) 22:56, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I think we have a large number of excellent reasons for growing the spending of the chapter at the same (or greater) rate than our revenue. Our GLAM projects are expanding. Our education projects should dramatically expand over the next year. I hope that we can start investing in technology development over the coming year. I think there's a huge amount of good that can be achieved by spending this money in the UK, rather than the US (as the WMF spends the majority of its money). We're far from a law of diminishing returns, or economies of scale, applying here - we're essentially operating in the regime of low-lying fruit. So I'm afraid that I don't understand where you're coming from here.
I like the look of your rewrite, and think it's a good approach to adopt - but the approaches need to be merged together rather than pursued in parallel. So please convince Jon about this. ;-)
Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 23:07, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, we can do a lot of good with more money, but don't you think a chapter with no money could do more good with it? We may still be picking low-hanging fruit, but they haven't even picked up all the fruit on the ground yet. You'll note, I did say "WMF and other bodies". I'm hoping the FDC will direct a lot of money to other chapters and affiliated bodies rather than just the WMF (the same reasons we shouldn't have rapid growth apply even more to the WMF). --Tango (talk) 23:13, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Several points[edit source]

  1. We need to separate out broad goals from more specific targets and place them in relation to each other
  2. We need an agreed set of w:Key performance indicators (KPIs) to provide data by which performance can be evaluated. Some of these have been included in Jon's draft i.e. number of members at AGM. It is hard to assess progress without knowing what the current position is. So establishing an initial data set of what needs to be monitored and how it is to be monitored needs to be an important aspect of the strategy. Part and parcel of this is developing suitable phraseology
  3. We need to understand how these KPIs reflect what is actually happening. We do not want to create perverse incentives.
  4. I would suggest we start strategic planning on a three year basis. The reason is this:
  • year one = getting monitoring in place
  • year two = two data sets capable of comparison
  • year three = evaluation of performance management becomes possible
By year two the organisation will have developed techniques which will make longer term planning more feasible
  1. "Be leading voice in international community" - I am not so comfortable about this as it smacks of telling the world what to do. Actually I think it should be more about ensuring that the skills and potentials contributed by Wikimedians in the UK have maximum benefit world-wide both to the wikimedia community and the public at large, as well as ensuring that Wikimedians and the public at large in the UK are kept fully informed of the development of Wikimedia projects across the world.
  • I also think that we have such a linguistically diverse population in the UK that it would be sensible to focus on work in various non-English language Wikimedia projects.
  • Secondly, we should build on the work done around Tipu's Tiger. There are so many artefacts gathered in the UK from all across the world that getting photographs and details about them would certainly be useful to make knowledge about these items available both in English and other languages, particularly those of the cultures which produced the artefacts. Leutha (talk) 07:31, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

An appeal from Jon[edit source]

My main aim is to get the debate going but as widely as possible. Please don;t get too hung up on the format we started with. Just a document that will change and end up on wiki. One of my main aims is to have as many people contribute as possible not just those who have the time - hence the compact format.

Let's make sure we have covered everything - refine it, prioritise it, look at the bog issues (editor retention) and the themes (GLAM, Education etc) and then create version three on the Wiki).

I really want to keep it to size that people can handle so there is likely to be an over arching strategy and drilling down beneath this project areas (much like in our 2012 plan) with Key Performance Indicators attached.

And a plea - if we wait for the perfect plan we will be waiting for ever so let's get as close as possible so we can get on with delivering it.

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 11:24, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

If what you presented to us was intended to just be a brainstorm of ideas, why did you call it a draft plan? No-one has said we should wait for a perfect plan, but your draft is not just imperfect, it's extremely bad. It's just a list, not a plan. --Tango (talk) 13:36, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Oh, play nice Tango, Jon is human with feelings, not an avatar of Skynet. Thanks -- (talk) 15:04, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't do nice. I do honest. --Tango (talk) 17:08, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I'd spotted that. Do you think it helps? The Land (talk) 16:58, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
I find it works very well with most people. It can take a bit of time for them to realise that it's nothing personal but, once they do, most people appreciate it. They particularly appreciate knowing that when I compliment something it is because I genuinely think it is good, rather than just being nice. A few people don't have the maturity to handle honest criticism, but I find I don't generally lose much by just not dealing with such people. --Tango (talk) 20:46, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Tango, you may find that people are being kind by not giving you the honest criticism you provide so readily for others. When your style is perceived by so many on email lists as uncivil, I think you should give some space for the possibility that the problem might actually be your behaviour, rather than our immaturity. If you prefer to have hard data, I could ask for feedback on your behalf on one of the lists in question as an acid test. Thanks -- (talk) 21:25, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Over several years, I have received a great deal of feedback, both positive and negative, both publicly and privately, about my choice of communication style. My decision to continue with it is a fully informed one. You are very unlikely to raise any points that I have not already heard and considered, so I suggest you not waste either of our times. --Tango (talk) 21:41, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
(e/c) "Not doing nice" sounds like a major handicap, especially for working with this community. It's possible to advance the process while still being civil, and that's all we're asking. It's not an unreasonable request. Try substituting "interact with others in a civil and friendly manner" for "handle honest criticism" in your comment above. On reading Fae's comment above, right on. MartinPoulter (talk) 21:29, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
I think there is a difference between being civil and being nice. I see nothing uncivil about saying that something is extremely bad, with reasons and with recommendations for how to do it better, especially when I have already given constructive feedback which was not acted on. In my initial feedback, I did try and be nice - I devoted several paragraphs to pointing out the good things about Jon's draft and tried to gently point out the error in his approach. He thanked me for my input and then completely ignored it, without any attempt to explain why. Clearly, being nice didn't work, so I'm trying something different. --Tango (talk) 21:41, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
You may have the hide of a rhinoceros, that does not mean that everyone else is able to shrug off public criticism so easily. Personally, I am ashamed to say I have remarkably thin skin, I sincerely hope you do not turn your ruthless industrial combine-harvester of criticism on me, I would probably run out of dainty handkerchiefs to cry on rather quickly. My offer of asking for feedback on your behalf stands; I have internal-l as a useful list to raise the question on, in consideration of your objectionable behaviour there in the not too long ago past. Thanks -- (talk) 21:57, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
It is only people that reject my recommendations without giving a good reason for doing so that get the harsher criticisms. If you don't have confidence in what you are saying or doing, then I imagine you'll just act on the recommendations of others. If you both want to stand your ground and not face criticism, then you had better buy an extra big box of tissues. --Tango (talk) 22:07, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
I'll take that as a no to my suggestion of getting some honest feedback on your behaviour on internal-l. As for your recommendations, I am not inclined to pay them a lot attention at this time, given this aggressive context; and I would not be surprised if Jon were to spend his time on happier matters either. We are here to have fun on our Wikimedia UK adventures, not to be given stern lectures every time we try something new. If you keep playing party pooper you may find the joy goes out of it for yourself long before you bring everyone else down. Thanks for your interest. -- (talk) 22:14, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
As I have already explained, I have received a great deal of feedback. I don't need you to gather any more for me. Given your behaviour towards me (I've actually had someone contact me off-list asking me what your problem is with me, and I had to tell them that I just don't know), I think you should perhaps be asking for feedback on yourself. --Tango (talk) 22:27, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry to point this out, but this is not a simple matter of my view of you. In a matter of a few hours you have had spontaneous negative feedback from 3 trustees. Your response has been to call us immature and attempt to turn this into being about me. Please reflect on the comments you have had here. As for your friend, they are welcome to email me in confidence for a clarification if they wish. In the meantime I'll not be saying any more here for at least 24 hours to give time for thought. -- (talk) 22:42, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Tactical or Strategic[edit source]

In my view all the targets related to staff, fund raising, membership and the organisation are Tactical objectives - they are the means by which we aill achieve our strategic goals.

Unfortunately we don't seem to have a lot of strategic objectives here - goals related to our basic function of promoting free culture rather than promoting WMUK.

I suggest we start again with some strategic objectives for the next five years. Once these are agreed then Jon can work out what he needs to do with the organisation to support those objectives.

I have begun a first draft of some strategic objectives, for the next five years with targets, on the Talk:Draft 2012 Five Year Plan/Counterproposal page.

  • Cultural partnerships with a thousand different organisation in the UK
  • Free school textbooks and learning materials for kindergarden to O-level
  • Oral history project to record 5000 hours of personal reminiscenses from eye witnesses to history and release another 5000 hours of existing recordings by others.
  • Anyone else got something?Filceolaire (talk) 13:07, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Apart from the first (which is really vague), these don't seem to be strategic objectives. They are ideas for projects. There is no point the chapter aiming for these unless we know there are the partners and volunteers to do them. A strategic approach would look at how the chapter could support this sort of project in general, when the opportunities arise. MartinPoulter (talk) 14:15, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Yeah. I can see what you mean (though there is more detail on the linked page). The problem (as I see it) with objectives divorced from actual projects is it can be a bit 'motherhood and apple pie'. Like the WMF strategic plan which is in favour of - more readers/more editors/better content/stable infrastructure. Martin: Could you come up with a draft paragraph showing how you think the Five year plan could be.
You mention looking at how the chapter can support projects. Maybe the strategic plan should look more at what sort of project we should support and leave the 'how' to be worked out as we go along? Looking at examples is one way to get people thinking about this. Filceolaire (talk) 16:20, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
The strategy plan shouldn't be divorced from projects, but you have it back-to-front. The projects aren't the priorities, they are the ways we achieve those priorities. The plan should include some details of projects that we'll do, but they are the "how" part of a larger, more general priority. --Tango (talk) 17:46, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
I see what you mean. The reason I went for specific projects was I felt that strategic objectives, divorced from projects felt a bit like 'motherhood and apple pie' - like the WMF strategic objectives: more readers/more editors/better content/stable infrastructure. Nothing anyone could object to so nothing that will guide us in what to do and what not to do.
The objectives in our articles of association are to promote access to, use of and contribution to open educational content. How do you think we should expand these in our five year plan? What should we choose and what should we decide not to choose? If we don't make choices then (in my humble opinion) it's not really a plan. Filceolaire (talk) 22:15, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Expert outreach[edit source]

We need a row in the table for a continuation of our expert outreach work:

  • 1 year: active relations with two dozen scholarly or expert societies, with at least one joint event somewhere per month. At least 3 guest articles in society magazines/newsletters. Finish, print and distribute the "Wikimedia for scientists" and "Wikimedia for arts and humanities" brochures.
  • 3 year: contact all the major societies (thousands of members, e.g. Institute of Physics, Society of Biology, British Psychological Society, Arts & Humanities Research Council). Some of these major partners will be developing their own programmes in our "train the trainers" scheme. Separate contact with smaller expert bodies (e.g. Cancer Research UK) either via individual events or partnerships, or larger 1-day workshops or conferences that bring Something happening (expert training; joint public event) with minor bodies at least once per month. Presences at five major science/scholarly conferences per year.
  • 5 year: Wikimedia well known across the research sector as a way to achieve public impact. Joint publications and/or joint events with all the major societies. Devolved Wikipedia training in several major societies. Presences *workshops or stalls) at five major conferences per year. Jointly with universities and scholarly societies, feeding into the induction of new academics and researchers. Our own annual conference (either "Wikimedia for science" or "Wikimedia for arts and humanities" or alternating).

MartinPoulter (talk) 14:06, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Education[edit source]

Replace the four rows "Membership activites - higher education", "Educational work - higher education", "Educational work - other" and "WIR - Education" with the following:

See also Education strategy

Education outreach[edit source]

1 year
  • Two 0.4 FTE education staff appointed, in different parts of the country, concentrating on higher education. Avoid secondment arrangements, as overheads drive up the cost.
  • Presence (stall or session) at two conferences that are specifically about higher education.
  • Working relations (joint event, joint publication) with five sector bodies such as the JISC or SEDA (NB not scholarly societies: these are under "expert outreach")
  • Working relations with a total of five universities (meaning that a named contact within the university is actively investigating areas of co-working). Some of these may be jointly funded Wikipedian In Residence posts if, as part of the project, valuable content will be opened up.
  • One or two stalls at student fresher's fairs if we get an opportunity to do so cheaply (Fresher's fairs aren't normally good value for our money, but costs vary widely)
  • Campus Ambassador programme (with suitable modifications by the UK community) supported in three universities.
  • An educator brochure, aimed at university education practitioners, explaining the benefits of working with the Wikimedia projects.
  • An educator conference, mainly aimed at higher education, but with a session for secondary education. Publicity and reporting for this through diverse education-specific media.
  • Half a dozen student outreach events
  • Student "swag packs" developed to help student societies get off the ground
3 year

Continuing the 1 year plan, plus:

  • A total of five part-time education staff in different parts of the country, reporting to the office and building relations with academics, teaching support staff and management in a diverse range of institutions
  • Campus Ambassador programme expands at a sustainable rate, resisting over-expansion, targeted at the courses that are most likely to benefit, and with lessons shared through sector publications, the Wikipedia Education Programme online materials and a day event.
  • Increased number of jointly-funded Wikimedians In Residence in universities where there is an opportunity to open up specialist content.
  • Increased presences at education-specific conferences and staff development events.
  • A dozen formal co-working relations (on events/ projects) with sector or regional bodies.
  • A school brochure outlining the advantages and opportunities for using Wikimedia projects in secondary education, printed and distributed widely through professional organisations and conferences.
  • Joint events or publications with sector bodies in secondary or further education.
  • More student events; something happening somewhere with WMUK support at least once a month. WMUK will not financially support routine events but will help kick off student societies or relations with existing student societies: societies are intended to be self-sustaining in the long term.
5 year

Continuing previous plan, plus:

  • Campus Ambassador project to be known across the sector, and adopted by a variety of different courses across diverse subjects and geographical locations, informed by case studies of previous years.
  • Increase staff time dedicated to education, by increasing the number of centrally-employed staff, extending their hours or by funding more Wikipedian In Residence placements, depending on what has worked in previous years.
  • A dedicated part-time staff member for secondary or further education, building relations with cross-sector bodies and individual schools.
  • Dedicated conference for Wikimedia in secondary-level education as well as a conference every other year in the higher education sector. Presences at other major teaching-related conferences and events, promoting different aspects of Wikimedia resources and practice.

MartinPoulter (talk) 16:11, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Procedure[edit source]

I think a lot of the procedural complaint about this plan would be resolved if Jon had called it a straw-man proposal. I and some other directors were taking a long time to write long term plans for our areas, so Jon has written this plan, put it up and asked us to fix it. That's actually a good way to motivate people to create a plan, so long as people actually write better sections rather than complaining about the existing one been bad. (If you want information on the Internet, don't ask for information, give wrong information and someone will step in and correct you.) I wish improvements were being made in a section-by-section discussion rather than forking the whole thing. MartinPoulter (talk) 17:12, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree with Martin that it would be useful to have the discussion broken down into different sections (which can always have wiki links where needed). Then people can work on discussing those elements which particularly interest them more effectively.Leutha (talk) 19:32, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

I thought of that to - projects to bring in readers; projects to bring in editors; projects to raise money; projects to recruit members; projects to improve the software; projects to improve quality. When I tried to classify the projects however I found that most of the projects contribute to all of these goals and the better the project (in my opinion) the wider it's effects, so I'm not sure what the best way to divide the projects is. I think it might be worth analysing each project based on their expected contributions to each of our strategic objectives, once we decide what our strategic objectives are.
Perhaps we could divide it into types of project but most of the projects are the same type - outreach to some organisation or community
Martin: Perhaps you could start by editing the plan to put in the heading you think we should have, then we can pitch in to start filling in details. Is there anything in the fork (or the talk page of the fork) that you like. I made lots of suggestions there but I am hesitant to put them in the plan without a little feedback. Filceolaire (talk) 22:42, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

A few comments running up to the AGM from Jon Davies[edit source]

There have been lots of really good ideas but far too many to create a new version every time there is a new one! Version one WAS a first stab, a straw poll if you will, to get the juices flowing. Version two (the one on the wiki as I write) added the first batch of comments (except where they were diametrically opposed :) )

At the AGM I hope people will use post-its and pens to come up with ideas and suggestions. I am setting up a special place to do this.

I can then create a more detailed plan which will incorporate all the ideas with choice options wherever appropriate.

Then the community can comment leading to the Board being able to adopt a plan.

This would then be revisited annually and be adjusted to circumstances.

Thanks for the input so far and see you at the AGM.

Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 09:09, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Good Strategy / Bad Strategy[edit source]

Has anyone read Good Strategy / Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt?

There is loads of good stuff in it, but one central idea is that every good strategy has a kernel, which has three related parts:

  1. A diagnosis that defines or explains the nature of the challenge. A good diagnosis simplifies the often overwhelming complexity of reality by identifying certain aspects of the situation as critical.
  2. A guiding policy for dealing with the challenge. This is an overall approach chosen to cope with or overcome the obstacles identified in the diagnosis.
  3. A set of coherent actions that are designed to carry out the guiding policy. These are steps that are coordinated with one another to work together in accomplishing the guiding policy.

The current draft five year plan is a vision, rather than a strategy. Quite a detailed vision, but a vision nonetheless. It does not differentiate between the stuff that we want to achieve for its own sake and the stuff that we want to achieve because it enables us to do the stuff we really want to achieve.

I contrast this to Tango's counter proposal. It doesn't speak in terms of kernels, but it does say the following:


The objective of Wikimedia UK (WMUK) is to encourage and promote access to, use of and contributions to free and open content, particularly the content hosted on the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) Wikis.

To do that we want to make WMUK a vibrant active organisation helping to make WMF content better - more content, better quality, used by more people in more ways.

Our top priorities over the next five years fall into two categories. The first category of priorities is programmes to recruit and train and encourage volunteers to edit and contribute and find new ways for our content to be used and reused.

This objective depends on developing our infrastructure. We are a very young and rapidly growing charity and need to make sure we develop the necessary infrastructure to enable us to efficiently pursue our charitable objectives in the long-term.

This quote indicates how the different activities enable each other and lead to the objective.

None of which is to say that this draft is a bad thing. I'm just saying that we need to understand it for what it is - a vision. It doesn't give you an idea of priorities.... which isn't to say that all bits of it wouldn't be cool to achieve... but if you could see which bits would strengthen our ability to do other bits, that would really help.

Yaris678 (talk) 12:35, 15 May 2012 (UTC)