[June 2, 2022] Conversation Hour with Maggie Dennis on Community Resilience & Sustainability

Hi all,

just quickly sharing the announcement here as well: On June 2, 17:00 UTC (your time), the quarterly conversation hour of @Mdennis_WMF will take place. Maggie’s role is VP of Community Resilience & Sustainability, and topics within scope for this call include Movement Strategy coordination, Board Governance, Trust and Safety (and the Universal Code of Conduct), Community Development, and Human Rights.

The call will be live-streamed on Youtube, and can be watched after on-demand as well. You’re invited to send questions in advance (via answers@wikimedia.org), post them here, or during the call in the Youtube chatbox.

More info on Meta.

Cheers, Cornelius


Hi, everybody. :slight_smile:

I am the aforementioned Maggie Dennis, fresh back from vacation and quite lost at the moment but looking forward to catching up. I understand some questions have been pre-submitted, but I wanted to just remind you in case you have more that I do my best to answer questions related to the functions that I oversee, including Movement Strategy & Governance, Human Rights protection, Trust & Safety Policy, Trust & Safety Operations, and Community Development.

There are a few standard limitations:

  • I can’t and won’t discuss specific Trust & Safety cases. Instead, I can discuss Trust & Safety protocols and practices and approaches as well as some of the mistakes we’ve made, some of the things I’m proud of, and some of the things we’re hoping to do.
  • I will not respond to comments or questions that are disrespectful to me, to my colleagues, or to anyone in our communities. I can talk civilly about our work even if you disagree with me or I disagree with you. I won’t compromise on this.

Somebody asked me a question about attending the Zoom link and whether or not their attendance would be visible in the YouTube live stream. I’m told that if your camera is off and you do not speak, only people in the Zoom call will be aware. If anybody knows I’m wrong about that, please say so!

I hope to see some of you on Thursday. :slight_smile:




Hi @Mdennis_WMF, I hope you had a good rest! Two things I would be curious about.

One is related to the WikiZédia case you talked about on wikimedia-l. That seems like a sensitive issue for two reasons:

  • Wikimedia Foundation staff are predominantly (perhaps exclusively) progressive liberals in their personal politics, often quite radically so. That is a natural consequence of various demographic factors - the WMF being headquartered in San Francisco (probably the most liberal US city) and doing a significant part of its hiring locally; the US nonprofit sector being mostly liberal in general; the Wikimedia community itself being somewhat on the left; and group dynamics further magnifying existing imbalances in the absence of any intentional inclusion effort. Regardless, it creates a lot of potential for bias when staff has to interact with far-right editor groups on Wikipedia.
  • The case could be seen as a foreign organization interfering in French democratic elections - maybe unfairly, and arguably providing a media platform but not policing it for disinformation is also an interference of sorts. In any case, foreign interference in elections has been a sensitive topic as of late.

I understand the details of T&S cases are private for good reasons, and that’s no what I am curious about; but I’d love to hear your thoughts on what frameworks are there (or maybe should be there) to manage staff bias in similar cases, and whether there should be a policy of preferring the local community to deal with the matter and providing support to them, instead of issuing WMF actions (assuming the local community is open to taking up that responsibility).

The other issue is grants related to movement strategy, which have recently been transferred from WMF Advancement to your department. (Disclaimer: I am involved in one of those grants.) I gather there is a discussion on how to balance movement-level oversight with agility - whether it is preferable to have a community-approved framework in place first (such as the Global Council) before starting on the implementation of initiatives which are about structural changes to the movement, or whether it’s more important to experiment with implementation (in the spirit of recommendation 10) so the community governance decisions can be informed by experiences from those experiments. Do you have any thoughts on that?

I love these questions. :slight_smile: The one disadvantage of the forum is that I want to talk about them right now. :stuck_out_tongue: We’ll have to truncate them a bit for the office hour, although we can dig into details depending on whether or not there’s a queue.

Since we probably wouldn’t have space for all this rich context, I did want to make one note: I don’t disagree with you at all that the Foundation skews liberal. In some ways, I think it’s the nature of the beast, since right now in the US at least liberal politics is moving heavily towards “trust reliable sources” and far right politics are skewing towards “media lies; whistleblowers have the answer.” But I did want to note that across all three of its teams (Ops; Policy; Disinformation), Trust & Safety has one person who comes to mind who lives in San Francisco, and he is a transplant from Europe. (Having said this, I will totally have forgotten one person and feel terrible about it later. :P) We had to pull the details of T&S staff for protection reasons a year or so ago, which is a shame because I’m very proud of them. :slight_smile: There are 20 of them, and only a handful are in or from the US. None of the Disinformation team are in or from the US. We have done the best we can to build a diverse team, although the adherence to our values does in itself create some likemindedness.

I am VERY aware that this is an aside, and I will get to the substance of your questions today, but I wanted to address this point. <3


Cornelius, I think you have the wrong Zonestamp there, which resolves to March 24, 2022. Instead I think you mean:


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Thank you! Updated quickly given that this is in less than 2 hours.

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We’re starting in 7 minutes! You can watch the call live on Youtube!

Hi everyone,

to close this thread, I wanted to share that notes for the call with Maggie Dennis have been published today on Meta, the recording is available on Youtube.

To summarize the call’s content, questions answered covered areas as Board Elections, UCoC Revision Process, the newly created MS Forum, and Movement Governance in general.


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Thank you @CKibelka_WMF . I feel it’d be great to keep this thread for the purpose of future conversation hours…

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Community global ban policy - single project issues enough?