The Signpost


"We need to be true to who we are": Foundation's new executive director speaks to the Signpost

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By Tony1
Lila Tretikov ... women really have a lot of courage: "they just need to trust themselves to act on it".

In a Forbes video uploaded to YouTube three years ago entitled Why SugarCRM hired a CIO, Lila Tretikov was asked: "When you actually approached SugarCRM for the job, you weren't really looking for a CIO [chief information officer] title, were you?" She responded, "I don't think I wanted a title—I was curious about the job ... I am the kind of person who's led by curiosity, so I like jobs that will challenge me. So, title is not relevant to me; if I can solve a big problem, you can call me anything you want!"

Since May this year, Forbes has called Tretikov "executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation", naming her on its list of the world's 100 most powerful women. "Top of her agenda", says Forbes, "is to lead the community's struggle to increase diversity: 87% of Wikipedia contributors are men".

Last month, the Moscow-born technologist agreed to give her first interview as WMF executive director to the Signpost. The interview covers three key challenges for the movement: grantmaking, the global south, and gender. A second interview later this year will deal with engineering and products.

Tony1 talks to new WMF executive director Lila Tretikov (17 min 38 sec). Trouble listening? Download VLC free software, or listen on the Internet Archive.

Interview transcript

Tony1: Lila Tretikov, congratulations on your appointment!

Lila Tretikov: Thank you so much, I'm really happy to be here.

Last year, your predecessor said that with such a high proportion of funding going to chapter staff and bricks and mortar offices, we need to ask whether the benefits are turning out to be worth the cost. Where do you stand on that?

Well, I think that the question we should ask is what results do we get for every dollar we spend. And this is the question that we should be asking across the board—both from ourselves, as well as any grantees that we fund. As long as the funds produce the results that we are looking for, I think the programs should continue, and at the same time we should be identifying those programs that are not results oriented, both internally and externally.

To be more specific, you've recently stressed the fundamental importance of measuring impact on our end users, the readers. It's early days yet, but in terms of likely reader impact, are you keen to determine whether engineering our products deserves a higher proportion of donors' funds at the expense of grantmaking?

I would look at the question slightly differently. I think we need to look at what is at the base of what we're actually delivering to [both our] readers and our contributors every day. The thing that we deliver first and foremost is the ability to communicate, share information, and create knowledge. In order to do that, a big, huge component of that, is the service. Our ability to keep the lights on, on our data centers, creating software that keeps up to date, that is fast, robust, easy to use, and is a joy for both readers and writers; and providing access to that service from as many places around the globe as possible. So, very very expensive proposition. So if you compare us to other companies that provide services on this scale, we are actually tiny. So you compare us, let's say to, Yahoos and Googles of the world, we're incredibly efficient. But even [so], we still need to be investing more in that service.

To go to specific grantmaking activities then, one person wrote that the Berlin Wikimedia conference hasn't resulted in a single long-term editor, and did nothing to create content or improve our infrastructure and software. You yourself said in Zurich that editathons are one of the more difficult and expensive things you can do in terms of attracting new editors. Should these types of outreach be considered a lower priority than they have been?

So I think we need to quantify what exactly we deliver in our editathons—what value we provide. And I think there are some that have shown some promise, and others that might not be as good as a return for the dollar. So with that in mind, it's really important for us to measure the results and base our decisions on those results. Typically, yes, events tend to be more expensive but, interestingly enough, they have different impacts in different regions of the world. I think what we often forget about, is that different cultures interact and engage differently. So an editathon that may not produce a lot of value or a lot of output, say, in North America, may actually produce a lot of value in India, let's say (and I'm using these as examples). But I think it's really important for us to be sensitive to cultures and individual communities when making those decisions.

Of course, learning how to measure that across the cultural veil is a challenge, isn't it?

Absolutely. This is one of our top priorities: to ensure that we actually have good, consistent, clear, and monitorable measurements across our organizations. This is something that we're looking very seriously at.

To turn now to the global south, the amount of global south funding is still running at only about 20% of Foundation grant money, this is for three-quarters of the world's population. So according to Asaf Bartov in the grantmaking department, it has actually been hard to find fundable projects that align with the Wikimedia global mission. Bartov has said that a key to success in global south programs is having a core of self-motivating active editors, even if it's only four or five people. he says we don't yet have an answer as to how you grow such a core, where it currently doesn't exist in the global south. What's your plan?

So I think there is a lot of learning that we have been doing, and some progress that we have made, even in the last three quarters. Our total number of grants have grown to be over 50% of all of the grants that we made.

That's in numbers, of course, which includes a lot of travel grants and scholarships.

Yes, you're exactly right. So we are finding more and more people who are interested and are engaging. That said, we do need to continue in getting engaged and involved in those regions. And we're planning to do that. We're actually planning to grow, again, to double the investment in the global south in the next year.

The foundation's core values concerning openness, transparency, and conflict of interest, are most familiar to progressive movements in the global north. Wikimedia Bangladesh has just made a big deal about how they achieved incorporation without paying the customary “speed money” to government officials. Do you favor a zero-tolerance policy towards practices that our core values might label as “corrupt” but in parts of the Global South are regarded as just the cost of doing business?

I think we need to be true to who we are, and when we start diluting that principle, we will lose our focus. You know, it's the same question as asking whether you'd go and pay a bribe and do business. I don't think this is acceptable for us. This goes to the center of our ethos.

So let me get this right: the global south affiliate might pay small tips or bribes, or whatever we want to call them, to poorly paid civil servants to get things moving. Are these morally and—in terms of the attitude of WMF Legal—in the same category as the embezzlement scandals involving chapter board members in Kenya and Spain in 2012, or the fact that we still don't have the financial statement from Hong Kong's Wikimania last year, in which orders of magnitude more money is still at stake?

I think that at the very top it's just not acceptable to accept corruption as the way of life anywhere. Our job is to change in some ways, how people think and educate people around the world—and this is part of our mission. At the same time, I think what you're asking is: do we live by our own standards? And do we think that it's okay if somebody doesn't practice the recommendation? I don't think that's okay and we're working very diligently with that chapter to help them get through and provide them the recommendation. We're doing everything [within] our ability, given that it's a completely separate organization from the WMF.

Okay so, it'll always be a bit of push and pull between an NGO's Global North headquarters and basic ethics, and its sprawling affiliates right around the world in very different social, political, and economic contexts.

Well, I don't think that necessarily needs to be push and pull; in fact, I see the movement, the individual volunteers, the readers, and the WMF as all in one camp and that's a question of having common goals and common focus. And as we move forward into doing our strategic planning over the next year, I think that needs to come into play and that record needs to come into play, as opposed to push and pull and tension.

In the time we still have, can we turn now to the gender gap then? What's your advice for a female editor, on say, the English Wikipedia, who feels uncomfortable even revealing her gender on wiki?

Well, first of all, I think it's on us to improve this environment and to make sure that everybody feels welcome on our websites. And I think we need to be working on that. That said, anybody can edit anonymously. So if somebody's not comfortable revealing who they are, they don't have to do it.

I've had contact with more than one female editor who has revealed her gender to me privately, only after some time, and utterly refuses to reveal it onwiki for a bunch of fears, whether well founded or not. Would you encourage that person to get to a point where she can reveal that she's a woman?

So I feel very sad about the fact that people don't feel comfortable. That said, I wouldn't encourage anybody do to something that they're not comfortable with doing. I would really encourage our community and the WMF and our chapter partners to do everything in their power to create a more accepting [environment] and a culture that is more comfortable for women.

In Zurich, you said that the gender gap might be related to two hurdles, which I found very interesting. First, attracting women to make their first edit, and second, retaining them after they've made that first click.

(agreeing) Um-hm.

Let's deal with them one at a time. How is your thinking evolving around what might encourage women to join the editing community in the first place. Specifically what kind of data do we need?

So, let's start with the second part of the question, and that's retention. If we're encouraging women to come in and plug into the community, we need to make sure that we're giving them the environment that is comfortable and nurturing for them. If we don't do that, it doesn't matter how many new female subscribers we get. So that's by far the most important thing.
And what we need to start understanding and measuring is the sentiment—how comfortable people are, and what makes people comfortable when they have become an editor. So I'll give you an example. I've made my first edit a while back, and after that, I got a few thank you notes, encouragement notes, and that felt really good and that made me want to do more. You can extrapolate and build on top of ... those thank-you notes, also encouragements to get involved and talk to other users, and to start collaborating on different projects and content. So this is an example of how we can continue to encourage users and especially women. Women are known to be much more social in communities like these. And pull them back and let them into conversation and editing, and encourage them to edit in the first place. Because women are so social, once that trend is reversed and women start contributing—kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy—once they start contributing, other women will join as well.

Are you saying there's a tipping point—there might be a tipping point in the future?

I believe so. But in order to get there, there are changes that we need to make consciously and all together.

Let's talk about the community experience itself of being a female editor. You also said in Zurich, I quote, "Unfortunately the internet makes it really easy not to emphasize the person on the other side. You don't see their face, you don't hear their voice, and you don't feel like there's another human being there with thoughts and feeling and emotions." If we engineered easy ways for editors to interact more personally in real time on the sites—maybe through instant messages, even audio—would this create an environment that's less of a turn-off for women, or would it be seen by too many women as threatening?

So I think there's two components to that. ... we need to be thinking of the environment and the user interaction holistically, which means how people want to interact—what you're talking about are *channels* of interaction—as well as well as the actual interactions themselves. So I think we need to be thinking about both pieces. And before we start really thinking about engaging as the beginning of the conversation, we need to be thinking about what the engagement actually looks like once it's happening. Because, as I mentioned earlier, it's actually fairly straightforward and easy for us to engage people. What's hard is once they're engaged, to keep them there. This is where we need to be looking very, very closely. Frankly, men or women will get turned off by the negative interactions. In fact it's scientifically shown that there need to be enough positive interactions, think by a factor of 5, to counteract the negative interactions that you've participated in, in order for you to still be willing to receive the information and participate.

Just a final question then. You've prospered in corporate IT and engineering, which is a professional world heavily dominated by male culture. If you could give women a few take-home messages now on how to overcome gender bias in the work place, what would they be?

That's a great question. You know, I actually think that women are at an advantage there. But it's hard to take that first step and to have the courage to trust yourself and trust your instincts. So my biggest suggestion is to practice bravery. [Laughs] You know, Wikipedians say "be bold", actually find it is extremely hard for people to be bold. Bold doesn't mean rough or mean or angry or loud. Bold means having a lot of courage, sometimes the courage to be kind, sometimes the courage to be honest in a direct and straightforward way. So, gathering a lot of courage is a really important thing and what I've learned is when you show courage, people really respect you. And I think women have a lot of it. They just need to trust themselves to act on it.

So that's a well-honed view through many years dealing with mostly male cultures in the corporate sector.

[Laughs] Well, thank you.

Well, it was more a question. Did you start that way?

Oh gosh, no, no, I was extremely timid, and I had actually very great mentors and friends, both men and women who gave me some really tough advice, some really tough love, and that's really helped through the years. It helped me better understand who I was, and what my strengths were, and what my space in the room was—for the longest time I have been the only woman at the table—and how to stand on my own two feet. So it definitely took some time.

When you say mentors and friends, that stands out. We don't do that well on the Wikipedias, do we, mentoring and fostering specific friendships that are likely to, again, serve the readers best.

I think it happens in some cases. It's just we're not—it's not a pattern, you know, it's not a culture. And I completely agree with you that having a culture of engagement and mentorship and feeling valuable because you've helped another person, because you've seen somebody else grow and succeed, I think that's an extremely powerful feeling, probably one of the most powerful feelings there are, and I would love to see more of that.

Lila Tretikov, thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions.

Thank you so much; it was lovely.
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Maybe I'm an idiot, but could the article please clarify what "CIO" means? CIO#Titles lists a variety of options. Jenks24 (talk) 10:27, 29 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I thought it was clear; I've added [clarification]. Tony (talk) 10:37, 29 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks. Jenks24 (talk) 11:07, 29 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Wow, what a great interview! I know everyone at the Signpost is overworked and I happened to have some time, so I went ahead and transcribed it for all the people who can't listen to .ogg files or are deaf or are on phones or whatever. I hope that's helpful and saves somebody some work! :-) Of course, I did a pretty quick job so anyone should feel free to fix it or mess with the formatting if I made mistakes. Best, Keilana|Parlez ici 15:31, 29 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Amazing. Tony and Lila both.
Thanks for the transcription, Keilana, I have boldly moved your transcript to the end of the article. —Neotarf (talk) 21:02, 29 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I have now gone through the recording in detail and added some minor tweaks.—Neotarf (talk) 23:49, 29 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks Neotarf, I appreciate it! :) Keilana|Parlez ici 00:26, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  • Such nonsense. I just got done reading about Quora's misogyny problem. It would seem that the best way to make online communities more female friendly is to block the troublemakers. No amount of encouragement and mentorship is going to overcome the awkward teen boys flirting with female Wikipedians or the prolific editors with long histories of offensive comments. We already have a means to fix the problem and that is for admins to block offenders on site and for WMF to pursue the ISPs of the inevitable sockpuppets. I'm disappointed that the new outsider management's solution is to reinvent the wheel. Chris Troutman (talk) 01:15, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Since the transcript has been removed, I have moved it to my userspace here should anyone wish to read it. Keilana|Parlez ici 03:04, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for that. I know of deaf editors who would not be able to access it otherwise. I *never* listen to interviews, and would not have heard it if you had not started the transcription. The ideas are complex and are easier to study when you can see them written out. And these ideas deserve a wide currency.
But one thing I learned from working with Tony is the importance of sound. You really have to listen to an interview to catch the nuance. When it comes to framing issues, Tony really understands the foundation backwards and forwards. For instance, the idea of spending in the Global South being about travel to conferences--this is an issue that deserves to be considered, and would be hard to pick up on by just skimming the transcript. So please listen to the tape as well, if for no other reason than to be reminded that all Australians do not sound like Crocodile Dundee. —Neotarf (talk) 06:23, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Tony1, why did you remove the transcript? — Scott talk 13:27, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Given that it was originally an audio interview, Tony was attempting to put the focus on the audio rather than the traditional text-based medium. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 13:32, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Actually, no, it is an audio interview. And that is central to its meanings. I don't understand the feverish insistence on instantly degrading it into other modes. We are very happy to make available a transcript for the hearing-impaired. Otherwise, you'll need to wait at least a few days. Tony (talk) 13:53, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
What is "central to its meanings" supposed to mean? Frankly, it sounds like pretentious babble. It's disappointing that you prioritize your creative stylings above everything else. — Scott talk 15:06, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
You could try being less personally offensive. If you want to acquaint yourself with the basics, Halliday's short book, Written and spoken English (1986, I think), is a revelation. But I'd have thought my previous point was obvious. Tony (talk) 15:14, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Mmm, no, I shan't be reading a book because you can't answer a simple question. Pretentious babble it is. — Scott talk 15:35, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Mmm, no, I shan't be providing you with an answer just because you can't understand a simple clause. And your attacks are breaches of the civility policy. Mind that. Tony (talk) 15:40, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Utter codswallop. You wouldn't know an "attack" if it hit you in the backside. — Scott talk 15:52, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
@Scott: Please do me this favor: Show Tony the respect you'd like him to show you for the time being. I'm not asking you to be anything but yourself, but I'd really appreciate it if you gave me a chance to talk to Tony about his concerns without any distractions from the edits on this page. If you can't do this for Tony, please do it for me; you know I'm asking this in good faith as your friend. -wʃʃʍ- 02:34, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I find it far easier to read a transcript than to fiddle about with audio format. And I suspect I'm not alone in this opinion. If you insist on some "central to its meaning" rubbish, you'll find you have a much smaller audience. -- llywrch (talk) 15:52, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
If you don't want to listen to it, that's just fine by me. It is also a breach of the civility policy to call what someone says "rubbish". You need to re-acquaint yourself with the policy. Tony (talk) 16:06, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
First thing I did when I saw it was an audio interview was look to see if there was a transcript. I read Signpost in the single page display, so I wasn't able to view the comments. I actually came here to comment and see if anyone could put together a transcript. I'm going to go ahead and link to @Keilana:'s transcript on the file page on Commons. Zell Faze (talk) 17:29, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  • Ahem, glass houses and all that. On offensive editors being blocked and cleaning up the atmosphere: of course, overdue (by about seven years), as a few of us have been saying, and the community at large has to see that. On the WMF and value for money, of course "lean" is good; but "lean and mean" is a neat formulation there of what overcorrection looks like. The volunteers themselves deserve better than stick-and-carrot as an underlying management strategy. Charles Matthews (talk) 15:55, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Well, for starters, they're about 20 years apart, and a whole hell of a lot of testosterone in between. :) -wʃʃʍ- 00:30, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I've added a convenience link to the transcript to the body of the article. Not only hearing impaired-users, but also those reading Wikipedia on the go, among others, can more conveniently access the transcript than the audio version. The objections above to including or linking to the transcript are completely unpersuasive. The alternative to the link is posting the entire transcript here in the comments section. Newyorkbrad (talk) 22:21, 30 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]

...and I see that my addition has been removed, for no comprehensible reason. I have re-added. If it is removed again, I will not restore it a third time, but I would ask others to comment on the matter. Newyorkbrad (talk) 02:00, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I have resigned from my position as a Signpost writer because it has now been locked the way you want it. It's disgusting. I'm outa here. Tony (talk) 02:09, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
In my capacity as the Signpost's editor, I've locked the page (as Tony notes above). I'm not going to comment on anything else for the time being. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 02:11, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Well, to state the obvious, none of that is what I wanted or expected to happen. Newyorkbrad (talk) 02:13, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Of course, NYB. I'm certainly not blaming you; I'm simply caught between a rock and a hard place, and probably will continue to be for the time being. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 02:19, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
There are no reports of a sysop ever having protected the "right" version.
Comment has been invited, so here is comment. Even though it appears that the Signpost is published under CC BY-SA license, this edit summary here makes it look like Tony expected to release the copyright for the interview in exchange for an agreement that a transcript would not be published: "no transcript here, or links, for the moment. That was the deal in my releasing copyright". But according to what was put in plain view for the public, which can be viewed in this version, a transcript was planned specifically: "The Signpost will release a transcript of the interview next week." This makes it look like the Signpost staff is merely busy as usual and did not have time to do the transcription. This is exactly what the individual who posted the transcript stated as a reason for doing it--to help out an overstretched staff.
But what was the real intention? As can be seen from this example of traffic statistics from a previous edition of News and Notes, the page views for this weekly feature decline rapidly after only a few days. So was the intention to publish the transcript only after interest in the piece had died down? It seems like this might only serve to bury and marginalize Lila's words.
As it ended up, there was a series of rapid reversions, bordering on an edit war, and as usual, the piece ended up getting protected at the Wrong Version. The only thing left to do in a case like this is to affix a Wrong Version tag to the article, except that it is protected, so no one can affix anything. —Neotarf (talk) 06:37, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

@Tony1: I'd like to hear about your concerns. I'm an audio guy myself, and I appreciate how much communication can be lost in every step from visual->audio->text. How bout we take it off-wiki for now? You can email me at I'd be honored if you dropped me a note. -wʃʃʍ- 02:38, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

If NYB's edit-warred version remains, I'm likely to vanish from all WMF sites for good. Tony (talk) 07:09, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I have to say that I really don't care about this as much as Tony seems to. Newyorkbrad (talk) 09:09, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks Tony, I enjoyed listening to this great interview with Lila. One clarifying point: In my experience, the majority of editathons in North America have actually cost $0 to the Wikimedia movement, with a few covering snacks that might go up to $100. So, this is not at all a drain on global resources, but rather a creative use of local Wikimedian volunteer effort.--Pharos (talk) 11:49, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

The_ed17, you've now taken to fighting back the addition of the transcript link. Your latest change gives the justification that you "now believe that a talk page link is sufficient". As I pointed out to you in the edit summary for the edit you reverted, it is not, because talk page comments do not appear on the single-page edition. I also commented that "Either provide accessibility correctly across the board, or admit that you aren't interested" - that stands. If you genuinely believe in providing for our hearing-impaired readers, or indeed alternatives to visual content for our sight-impaired readers, you will ferociously seek out every possible location where you can do that, and ensure that you do. But you're not. What you're doing here is, for lack of a better phrase, paying lip service to accessibility, because the alternative is your project buddy going off in a huff. It's sad to see that respectable Wikipedia editors can be taken hostage by such behavior - doubly so when the only people that are really inconvenienced are the ones with special needs that we need to put extra work in to cater for. And since I haven't said it already, Keilana deserves a commendation for her fast work in putting that transcript together. That's what it looks like when somebody actually cares.

I'm not going to edit the page again, it's clear how the deck is stacked around here. — Scott talk 15:29, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Scott, just in case you didn't read my comments above, I'm going to quote myself—"I'm simply caught between a rock and a hard place, and probably will continue to be for the time being"—and note that I, too, have thanked Keilana for her transcript work. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 15:46, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
And one of those two outweighs the other by several orders of magnitude. I've said all I'm going to say. — Scott talk 15:54, 1 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Scott, you have discredited yourself to such an egregious extent by your abusiveness on this page (not to mention your abuse at Wikipediocracy) that you can expect no one to treat you seriously as an editor or a Wikipedian—and certainly not as an administrator, oddly a position you still have. Tony (talk) 08:51, 2 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Reading this cryptically hostile exchange is really upsetting to me, as an experienced editor for five years, married for 33 years to a deaf woman, mother of my two sons, who edits Wikipedia occasionally, but wants better accessibility for the hearing impaired. Why in hell would anyone belittle the needs of hearing impaired editors? Why the threats to resign and the locking of pages? I am a literal kind of guy. What in the hell is going on here? Can't you all just grow up? Cullen328 Let's discuss it 07:13, 2 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
According to Wikipedia:Accessibility dos and don'ts, your questions, or some of them, would be well put at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Accessibility. Charles Matthews (talk) 07:23, 2 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you Cullen328. Getting some input on this from people who are personally affected is immensely valuable. — Scott talk 08:51, 2 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I would like an answer to that too. In the last 4 hours, I have received 13 consecutive emails from Tony. —Neotarf (talk) 07:26, 2 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Are you sure your device hasn't gone haywire? Charles, anyone who wants to can access the link to the transcript, which has been here high on the talkpage since shortly after publication. Why would you bother people at the Wikiproject accessibility? Tony (talk) 08:48, 2 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
My device is working fine, Tony1. Why is it , again, that you are battling and threatening to resign? Please restate the "principle" that overrides the needs our hearing-impaired editors. Because I completely fail to understand the point you are trying to make. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 09:16, 2 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
@Tony1: Well, a good friend of mine is involved in the accessibility Wikiproject, for one thing; and also, faced with a distressed editor, I like to be able to offer something helpful. Accessibility here is usually framed in terms of articles being read by screen-readers for those who need those. I don't have an informed view of other aspects, but that would be a forum in which to raise such points. "Adjourning" discussions of points of principle is one of the better ways to deal with them, I find. Charles Matthews (talk) 10:10, 2 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
As usual, you're right, Charles. But I'm puzzled as to why a link on the talk page in one of the first few posts, which has been there almost from the start, wasn't sufficient. (It has now been boosted by the addition of a yet more prominent "link" through further edit-warring by this abusive Scott person, who is still an admin, which should be a concern to all of us.) I expected the audio version to be the primary mode. That was the design and motivation in the first place. So the arrangement was that a link not be provided on the actual article page. If people don't like audio, don't listen. Hearing-impaired: see link on this page. End of story, as far as I'm concerned, except for the wanton personal abuse. Tony (talk) 11:40, 2 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
@Tony1: Such things are and remain editorial decisions; but the discussion here should surely carry some weight. Charles Matthews (talk) 11:57, 2 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Charles, absolutely no weight, I'm afraid. I don't engage in that kind of discussion with abusers like Scott Martin—nor adult editors who are shrill. Tony (talk) 12:17, 2 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I've posted some general comments on the transcript issue here. Comments on that would probably be best made there rather than here. In an attempt to return discussion here to the actual interview, I've re-read the transcript and the point about results-orientated assessments and funding was well made. At one point, Lila Tretikov said: "This is one of our top priorities: to ensure that we actually have good, consistent, clear, and monitorable measurements across our organizations". It will be interesting to see what those measurements will be and how it will be decided what to measure. Carcharoth (talk) 00:34, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Find some other mug to do it—and who's willing to cop large-scale abuse. Tony (talk) 00:46, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

All drama aside, I'd like to point out that a lot of non-native English speakers are much more confortable reading a transcript than listening some audio-only version of an interview. José Luiz talk 00:55, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

First, you make an extraordinary presumption that second-language speakers might prefer written to audio. Speak for your individual self rather than generalising to a billion people, thanks. Second, the link to a transcript has been on this talkpage almost from the start. What are you complaining about? Third, the transcript itself was just appallingly done. Mistakes all over the place. False renderings of both what Lila Tretikov and I said; even a spelling mistake, just fixed. Bad punctuation (rendering it ungrammatical in a few places). Bad typography. Failure to use square brackets where appropriate. Failure to remove stammerings (e.g. "of, of") per standard practice (but ahs and ums were not transcribed—got that one right). It has since largely been fixed through my prompting, although I'm not touching that burning carcass myself. It was even slightly damaged recently. Tony (talk) 01:21, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I’m really surprised with the tone of your answer to something I merely pointed out as a feedback. I’m not “presuming” anything because I’ve been working in non-english or multi-lingual projects here for four years now and I’m sure most people outside Europe struggle to write and do not speak or understand spoken English at all (read anything in steward elections on meta, for instance – votes, presentations etc. – really bad English all around). My feedback is that for many volunteers English is not even a “second language”, but only a language they have to deal to be informed or to better interact with others. I applaud the “appalling” as much, much better than nothing and here’s my thanks to whoever did it. Finally, if you took my comments as presumptuous or personal, my sincerest apologies. I know English well enough to understand the interview, but I really think an “official” transcript accompanying the audio would have been better in this particular case. Thank you and I really hope you can snap out of this “angry state of mind” you’re in right now and read this only for what it is… José Luiz talk 12:17, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
It was an offensive post. Which bit of "Second, the link to a transcript has been on this talkpage almost from the start. What are you complaining about?" don't you understand? Tony (talk) 13:03, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I would personally prefer transcripts for languages I am not as familiar with, it gives me a text to plug into translation programs.
Not everyone who reaches a different conclusion does so because they are an "enemy". Different opinions are expected and should be encouraged. That is the whole purpose of discourse, as tool for learning and a reality check for any unexplained assumptions. When your rationale for every assertion is "because I say so", it's time to step away from the keyboard.—Neotarf (talk) 13:06, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Neotarf, as one of the chief abusers, you should step away from the keyboard yourself. Delusional. Tony (talk) 13:10, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
How is working on the production of a transcription "abusive"? Are you forgetting your own extensive transcription of the WMF Metrics meeting less than a year ago? —Neotarf (talk) 13:55, 4 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

For what it's worth, I did the transcript in less than an hour - good is the enemy of perfect and I figured that, since it's Wikipedia, someone would come along and fix minor errors. I'm really glad to see that people have fixed the minor errors and hope that people continue to do so. :) Keilana|Parlez ici 03:28, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

  • Drama aside, Wikipedia's handling of sound files is garbage and without a transcription there is about 0% chance I would have absorbed the information created by Tony's excellent interview with Ms. Tretikov. He clearly feels disrespected about something and really shouldn't. See WP:OWN. I think Scott needlessly tossed petrol on the fire and deserves a whack of a fat trout for that. So: can the drama and can the personal meanness. Nice interview, Tony. Put aside your preconceptions about the superiority of an audio file to a transcription. Thanks for your efforts; take a short break to cool off and get back to work with renewed enthusiasm... Carrite (talk) 13:22, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
    • Take your fish and put it back in the river, Tim. It's obvious where the drama here comes from. You only have to to look at the conversation above this one. The Signpost's editor was also perfectly placed to prevent the problem, but he bottled it. Thankfully, productive conversation is happening elsewhere that will hopefully bypass this in future. — Scott talk 13:33, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
    • Agree with what @Carrite: just said personally. I haven't read the other thread yet, but this thread appeared to have gotten rather out of hand. Zell Faze (talk) 16:00, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  • I am sorry to say that I find it deeply ironic that this type of alpha male chest-beating is exactly what drives women editors away. I enjoyed reading the transcript by the way, as my time is limited and I am blessed with a fast reading speed. Jusdafax 19:42, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Arbitrary break

So a number of things about this whole thing really annoy me. Firstly as a partially deaf person myself, almost all audio on the internet (and a good portion off the internet) sounds like the teacher in Peanuts. I get by with a combination of lip-reading people in person, and subtitles/close captioning for TV/Film. For pure audio streams a transcription is *necessary* for me to get anything out of it. There is software that can do it for me automatically, or more usually I rely on a provided transcription. As I am probably a special snowflake amongst deaf people ;) I tend to read transcripts in parallel with the audio streams - the audio provides tone and emotion, the transcript provides meaning. Which is pretty much how it works with visual media and subtitles. There are also plenty of youtube vidoes that are pure audio in origin but are uploaded with subtitles for the partially hearing-impaired. Now taking that all in, watching the above prima-donna act made me really angry. So angry in fact I had to deliberately avoid posting here because I could not be sure I would not say things that would get me blocked. Not only do I feel *personally* insulted that because of a condition I am getting second-class treatment, but more importantly, that people (and by people, I mean the signpost editorial staff) are willing to capitulate to someone who *knowingly* in advance required conditions that actively discrimnate against those with a disability. There is no possible way anyone involved when faced with 'no transcription for the first week' could not forsee that it deliberately and willfully discriminates against the deaf. Even if the plan was to 'eventually' provide a transcription its unacceptable treatment in the modern world. Especially given that Wikipedia is probably 99% a TEXT-based project. Now the above merely made livid. After all everyone who has a disability is *used* to people with Tony's attitude. It doesnt matter what your disability is, that sort of thoughtless lack of consideration from others is a daily occurance. What really set me off is Tony's response to Jose Luiz above. Language barriers are also an accessbility issue, and the response Jose received to his perfectly reasonable comments was not on. Only in death does duty end (talk) 23:27, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

It's a really offensive post. Just which bit of "the link to a transcript has been on this talkpage almost from the start" can't you understand? Stop moaning about your disability and stop abusing me. I have a disability too. I don't moan about it. Tony (talk) 23:36, 3 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I didnt think my opinion of you could actually get lower, but you managed it. Firstly as numerous people have pointed out, 'its on the talkpage stop whining about it' is not good enough. Talkpages - depending on page display method - are not automatically transcluded. And thats just the most obvious reason. There is *no excuse* for why its not provided with the audio file directly and prominently on the signpost page itself. Secondly, I dont think you actually comprehend how insulting it is to say to someone 'stop whining about your disability' when they are expressing a concern with how your actions have directly affected them. 'I have a disability too, I dont moan about it' is even worse. As a person with a disability you should be *more* enlightened when it comes to respecting others issues, not prioritising your personal wants above others when you know it will cause them issues. Only in death does duty end (talk) 00:10, 4 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I now have a lowest of the low opinion of you, too. And don't presume to know how I think about disability and accessibility. I stand by my comments above concerning your offensive post. This will no doubt feed the trolls and abusers, fine: they feed on that kind of stuff. Now:

Memo to community: Abuse, belittle, insult me further, and I'll bite you back. I've had enough of this, and if you think you're changing the way I think—except the reminder that this is a sick, toxic community—you're mistaken. Tony (talk) 00:24, 4 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

And how far are you willing to go in order to "bite" the users who collaborated to produce this transcript, in spite of your secret agreement? Maybe sending a few nasty emails telling editors they are "the enemy" and to "get out", or telling them to "fuck off"? What about blackmail--is that all right, if you are intent on preventing transcription? How about telling someone you intend to disrupt their email service, then spamming their email with huge file transfers? How far are you willing to go with intimidation tactics? —Neotarf (talk) 14:15, 4 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  • Tony, you are in the wrong on the basic issue here. Rather than accepting that with grace and a spirit of self-criticism, you're lashing out and getting nasty. You need to stop that, you need to apologize to those you have wronged, and you need to go find a beer and a warm sun and chill out for a while. I have no idea why you're going on like this. Time is limited, an interview of this length should have been presented as a transcription with an option to click a link for the actual audio, not the other way around. We all know that once a person contributes something to WP and clicks the save button, the following comes into play; "By clicking the 'Save page' button, you agree to the Terms of Use and you irrevocably agree to release your contribution under the CC BY-SA 3.0 License and the GFDL with the understanding that a hyperlink or URL is sufficient for CC BY-SA 3.0 attribution." And that includes adaptation of your work. We've got a specific policy about this, not a guideline, a policy, which I again call your attention to: Wikipedia:Ownership of articles. That doesn't even touch the very real issue of accessibility for the hearing impaired or those who can read English but might not understand spoken English well. I'm befuddled that a person of your talent has gone off the rails on this matter like you have. Carrite (talk) 17:33, 4 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
    • No, you've got it very wrong: you need to be apologising to me, not the other way around. As for Neotarf, just why this person has not been blocked for posting very private material about me on two talkpages—since admitting publicly that "when I posted it that it would be oversighted"—is a symptom of this sick community. Tony (talk) 04:34, 5 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
      • Tony, I can see that you and Neotarf have a history. From what I can see that is best brought up elsewhere. Trying to get that resolved in public could be very messy (and might not end up resolving anything to anyone's satisfaction). If you are going to pursue formal dispute resolution, it would be best not to do it on this page, but to take it to user talk pages or a private venue so that the dispute between you two does not continue to affect the discussions taking place here. On a separate issue, I would like a response from you and Ed (The ed17) to the questions I raised on the Signpost talk page, but I'll follow up on that on The ed17's talk page. Overall, if any passing admin is watching, this might be a good point to bring the discussions here to an end and hat them, as it looks like everyone has said what they need to say and it would be best to move on or take the discussion elsewhere. Carcharoth (talk) 06:36, 5 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
        • Indeed, Tony and I worked together closely for the course of a year, when I was writing the arbitration report for the Signpost, which makes his hostility towards me now doubly saddening. —Neotarf (talk) 11:56, 5 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
        • There's nothing like personally attacking people over whether or not to include a transcript under a video in the project namespace to take time away from editing articles, right people?Seriously, though, we should just have a nice polite discussion. Both opinions have reasonable arguments.Personally, I support including a transcript to further accessibility.Thine truly,--75* 01:49, 18 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]


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