Talk:Reports 13Jul13

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Queries from Mike Peel

I'm currently working through the reports that are being presented at this weekend's board meeting. I have a number of queries as a result, which I've started setting out below. I'll continue asking queries over the course of the next week - please could the office respond to them inline below? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:00, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Wiki reports

As previously requested by another trustee, please could the staff reports be made available as wiki documents rather than via PDFs, so that they are searchable on this wiki? It's impossible to keep track of the reports over time if they aren't searchable. I'd be happy to help set out a wiki template that would facilitate this if that would be useful - it's fairly simple to do this.

There are two main reasons – one that these are meant to be reports that are not to be edited. Is there away round that. And two pressure of time.Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 15:11, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
To add to what Jon said, there are several main issues with making reports as wiki-pages as well as paper versions.
  • Producing reports in two formats takes more staff time than a single format.
  • Producing two formats means that there is no 'single accepted' format, and the two may differ if someone changes one version, but not the other.
  • It is not impossible to keep track of reports over time if they are not searchable: granted, it is more difficult, but the rest of the charity sector copes with non-searchable reports quite well. The PDFs are also searchable via other means, such as email (Several mail programs are able to search PDFs).
  • There is a concern amongst staff about allowing their reports to be placed on an editable website. When they have done so in the past, volunteers have changed their reports without them being aware. This is unfair to staff, who may later may have to answer for a report that is not the report they wrote. Staff need to be answerable for their full reports, and only their full reports - not later additions or corrections, however helpful or well-meant. There is no way to prevent these changes, even through 'protecting' the page: it may be a trusted volunteer, a staff member or a trustee who makes changes to the reports.
  • Finally, staff reports are not iterative documents. They do not have or need several versions, and they are meant to be 'set in time' as of the board deadline date - a PDF ensures that this happens. While it would be helpful for board reports to be searchable, the solution can not be not to have them on a wiki as changeable documents. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 16:01, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
Pardon me for butting in. Is there a need for two different formats? If everything were on a wiki, why would you need PDFs? This is *Wiki*media UK, and wikis form a fundamental part of our charitable objects, so I would suggest that the wiki should be the default. I would struggle to believe that writing directly onto a wiki page would be more time-consuming than writing a document offline, encoding it as a PDF, uploading the PDF to the wiki, and linking to it from the reports page. I would also struggle to believe that full protection is sufficient for legal documents and approved policies but not for quarterly activity reports, and I would point out that anybody can over-write a file or change a link. However, clearly the staff are not using PDFs to make life difficult, but because they have genuine concerns, which need to be listened to and addressed.

Perhaps a middle ground would be to fully protect the reports and to put a tag on them linking to the final version, so that it's clear that the member of staff isn't responsible for any later amendments. We can also agree that reports should only be edited by their author, and that improper edits should be reverted. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 16:27, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

Hello all. This is an interesting discussion. Wikis are great, we all love them, but they are not the best tool for everything. For example, I wouldn't use a hammer when a screwdriver was more suitable. These reports are an official, public record of the work of the staff (except those reports that need to be kept confidential for good reason). I think it's fair that staff members can have the confidence that those reports remain an reflection of their work. Putting them on a wiki page with a tag won't cut that I'm afraid. Even supposing we tried that, people could still edit them and would someone coming along to read the report, signed by a staff member, necessarily view the page history? No, they would assume that the content on the page is the content written by the staff member. This wouldn't be a satisfactory solution, but I do appreciate the thought that went into it. Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 15:54, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
(outdenting) Thanks for all the replies here - it's clear that a lot of us have strong views about this, and it's good to discuss this. In particular, thanks Harry for joining in here. Replying to the points raised so far in this discussion:
  • Reports not meant to be edited - as Harry says, reports can be protected, and we could also link to the permanent version of the report (e.g. [1]) so that it's clear which is the official version. That would actually be better than uploading PDFs, as new versions of PDFs can be uploaded that replace the staff PDF reports. Also, note that the minutes of the board meetings are all in wiki format, and we've yet to have a problem with them being edited after they've been approved and set in stone; likewise, trustee reports have always been on-wiki without problem.
  • Staff not being aware of changes made to reports - this is probably best solved by adding the reports to your watchlists, and checking the 'Email me when a page or file on my watchlist is changed' option in your user preferences. That way, should any change be made to it, then you'll receive an email notification to let you know. It will also let you know if anyone asks a question on the talk page for the report.
  • Wikis being more time consuming - this can be true if you're using tables, but if you use headings and bulleted lists then it's actually quicker to use a wiki than using Word/Libreoffice. I'm happy to demonstrate this with the template I was offering to set up.
  • Two versions - I'm not sure why this is necessary, as Harry asks. If it's because a paper version needs to be made available, then it's as simple to print out a wiki page as it is to print a PDF. The print-out of the wiki page automatically includes the date of the revision, and the permanent link to the version on-wiki, too.
  • Iterative documents - I think that this would be a useful feature for the staff reports, as we've seen multiple versions of some of them as staff add more information to them, and it also provides volunteers the opportunity to provide feedback on them and ask for corrections (as exampled below).
Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:38, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Inclusion of requested decisions on the meeting agenda

I'm not sure why the staff reports are requesting decisions on things that aren't otherwise on the meeting agenda, as I thought that we'd previously agreed that decisions needed would be put on the main agenda rather than being included in the reports? That's certainly the approach that we've been taking with trustee reports over the course of the last year.

This is at my request, actually. I've asked for decisions staff need to appear prominently in their reports so I can put them on the agenda - there have been occasions where we have missed things in the past. I would be equally happy with people editing the agenda directly, for what it's worth. Chris Keating, 21:34, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Chris. I agree that it's a definite improvement on past staff reports, and it's good to hear that you'll be putting them on the agenda. I'm just conscious that there have been things in trustee reports in the past that were not included in the agenda, and it would be good to set a standard expectation for everyone that is providing reports to the board about how to ensure it's included in the agenda. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:53, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
I have run through the staff reports with Jon and think I have got everything on the updated agenda I just did (though I wasn't logged in and I haven't linked everything). I haven't noticed any decisions in the Trustee reports yet, I will give people a prod about that... The Land (talk) 21:41, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Chief Exec Report

  1. Pathways project - This needs to be on the agenda for this board meeting, as it disagrees with what was decided at the last board meeting. I've added it to the draft agenda for you. Please could you explain how this proposed budget revision relates to the proposed revision to the 2013 Activity Plan that is being drafted at 2013 Budget?
    It is really important that we have time to report back on what happened with Pathways. I obviously included it in my report but we can make it a separate item depending on the final agenda.

    Are you referring to the virement proposals to fund the Pathways project? If so my initial proposals to find the cash, as shared with the board a few weeks back have been revised in light of more accurate figures from the Q1 reports. These are the ones I am proposing in the CE report.Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 15:11, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

  2. Appointment of 'HR' trustee. - This is currently on the agenda under 'Trustee responsible for staff annual reviews'. Is there a draft role description available here?
    The 'HR trustee' has had one specific role to be the back stop for staff annual appraisals. They sign them off when all is agreed or can act as arbiter if there is a disagreement between staff and manager. Doug has been doing this hence the need for a new trsutee with HR experience. Does this need a JD?Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 15:11, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
    Ah, I was of the understanding they were directly involved in the staff's annual reviews. A role description would definitely be useful here. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:13, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
  3. Weekly reports - you recommend that the office "Cease to produce the weekly report.", and that we change from communicating the content that is currently reported in the weekly reports to reporting it in the monthly reports to the global community. I would personally welcome that change of approach, as I'd love to see as much of WMUK's activities reported publicly as possible. However I have two key concerns here. As you say, "trustees have commented that it is 'a waste of time' and 'I do not read it'." - however, those comments have been made due to the lack of useful information in the weekly reports. How would you ensure that the information reported in the monthly reports to the community will be useful to the community, and the Board is also kept suitably informed about the office's activities? Also, how would you communicate to the Board activities that the office undertakes which have privacy restrictions?
    This will be for us all to discuss. They reports stemmed from October 2011 when trustees wanted to know what I was up to and then developed from there. Trustees will have to decide how much day do day office info they think is appropriate and necessary. I am not sure the reason that trustees don;t read them is so clear. Could it be another case of information overload?

    What is useful to the community? Generally I think we are getting the right amount of information out but there are improvements – the list of visitors to the office for instance would be a good addition to the monthly reports. There is little in the office reports that I believe would be very fascinating or relevant.

    Private things should be in emails or on the office wiki as appropriate. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 15:11, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

  4. "Negotiating with bid team and Foundation over Wikimania 14." - please can you explain how this relates to past board discussion about Wikimania 2014, and how we are ensuring that the expenditure on Wikimania 2014 is being suitably managed? What is the relation here between WMUK/WMF/the Wikimania bid team?
    I will report more fully at the board meeting but in effect WMUK will have very little financial responsibility as the Foundation is funding Wikimania 14 directly. Wikifest is another matter and I hope Saad will have some useful insights into this. I am trying to get a meeting with Ed and James this week before the board meeting.Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 15:11, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
    What's 'Wikifest'? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:13, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
    'Wikifest' was the name given to the public track of Wikimania 2014 (which will run in parallel to the main conference) during the bidding process. Thanks, Rock drum (talkcontribs) 21:19, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
  5. "Giving attention to a special staff issue that has arisen." - what does this mean?
    As this is in public I am referring to a confidential HR matter that needs to be kept so in the best interests of all involved. You are certainly aware of it.Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 15:11, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
  6. "Projects in the next three months" - please could you explain what these mean?
    This refers to work projects that are coming up in the next three months. If this is not clear let us know and we can re-draft the template.

    The idea of the staff reports is that we have four parts; The title and description. Items for decision, report on the last three months and a report on the next three months. This is the second version of our template and up for discussion.Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 15:11, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

Minor revision to Education Organiser's Report

In a recent personal email, Harry Mitchell has drawn my attention to the fact that he feels I overstated my involvement in the Academic Dress Editathon, which he co-organised. From his perspective I was not one of the co-organisers of this event. I have already apologised to him personally, explaining that it's certainly not my intention to diminish his efforts. Far from it! In hindsight, I think "supported" rather than "co-organised" would have been a more suitable word for the organisational support I provided for this event. I have explained this to him and said that I can't change this now as the reports have already been circulated to the board. I have also promised to be more careful next time. --Toni Sant (WMUK) (talk) 15:52, 10 July 2013 (UTC)