WikiConference UK 2012/Elections/Questions/Christopher Keating

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Answers[edit | edit source]

1. In no particular order, the Lambeth Orchestra; the Liberal Democrats; Streatham,where I live; the Cabal; and others.

2. Shortest answer: Seddon told me I ought to be interested at GLAM-WIKI 2010. Short answer: when I attended the 2011 Board Interest Day I saw how my skills might be useful, and I can rarely resist trying to be useful. Longer answer: cf nomination statement.

3. The future of OER over the next few years is going to be very interesting, and we will probably have a number of dimensions: joining up our community and content with other OER producers in the academic sector; persuading them to release the fruits of their work under really open licenses with no -NC restriction; and developing our own OERs, probably in partnerships. What platform we use for that last category I'm not sure. Wikiversity has its strengths, but a structured educational course needs more demanding technical infrastructure than MediaWiki provides. If you want to integrate feedback and assessment, e.g. a test that must be completed before the resource will advance to the next page, or so on, then you need a tool like Moodle, not MediaWiki. Equally, if what someone's looking for is a document where they can learn all about the subject, Wikipedia provides it very well. Wikiversity currently sits between those two stools. Exactly what the way forward is, I'm not sure, but that's how I'd approach it!

4. (will come back to this one).

5/6. Facts are facts and they must always be accurate, particularly when relating to our obligations as a charity. However, where a trustee offers an opinion or viewpoint on behalf of the charity or our community, they have a duty to present a positive case for our work. Trustees must be able to articulate the vision of the Wikimedia movement to the press, to Parliament, to donors, to partner organisations, and to our members. There is a real risk that, with Wikipedia's vital emphasis on the Neutral Point of View, we become so neutral that we fail to take our own side in an argument. We can't let that happen. We have an incredible story to tell and we must tell it.

7. Hello 77.100! Yes, I have spent a great deal of time on the Charity Commission's website for one reason or another over the last year and I am familiar with the duties of being a trustee. In particular, the role of trustee does not involve running projects, and as the organisation continues to develop I think there will be a bigger distinction between trustees, and volunteers running outreach projects, even large and serious ones.

8 and 9. Two key things here:

  • We need to empower and develop volunteers. At the moment we just go to people and say "You're empowered" - which works reasonably well given the immense commitment of most Wikipedians, but we can do far better. We need to employ a mixture of talent-spotting, experience-sharing and formal training so that we are finding people, keeping them up to date with what is going on, and complementing their passion and enthusiasm with skills about how to share our message. I'm really excited by our "Train the Trainer" initiative, which I think is a great example of what we need to do - there are plenty of people who could run Wikimedia training sessions, but would be more confident and effective with some training and assessment.
  • We need to have a clearer understanding of how a volunteer leading a project differs from a Trustee. As things stand, 90% of our outreach work is led by a board member, and most of the budgets for it are also held by board members. The fact that we have trustees running so many programmes is great, but the role of a trustee is completely different. We will soon find that we have volunteers who aren't on the board but are nevertheless leading our work in one direction or another and, quite possibly, have authority over part of our budget. We need to clarify this and have systems to support it.

10. I think candidates from within the community will always have an advantage, and that we should never appoint anyone unless we are sure they will thrive in the context we work in. However, I think it's also very important that we don't close ranks and stop letting new people in. Fundamentally we are about empowering people, not about empowering people who already have thousands of edits to Wikimedia projects (and this also applies to volunteers, not just staff!).

11. I don't believe we have a special role to play in this case. There are procedures in place involving the Wikimedia Foundation and the editing community, and they should be followed.

12. I think this is a good idea. I have expressed the view before that I don't think the Wikimedia Foundation has handled the proposal to introduce an image filter very well, and I haven't seen any great examples of how one would work with the current infrastructure. However, I think the principle of it is sound.

13. I would advise schools and youth groups to use Wikipedia in a structured manner and with a level of adult supervision appropriate to the age of the students.

14. Yes, I am concerned that Wikimedia Commons doesn't have a particularly good system of recording the consent of image subjects, and share the Foundation's concern in this regard.