Movement Strategy initiative #35: Facilitate a Culture of Documentation

Culture of Documentation

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Creating a culture of documentation is one of the two initiatives (or “outcomes”) of the Manage Internal Knowledge recommendation. It aims to intentionally encourage the behaviour of writing down the rich knowledge and learnings that Wikimedians possess (for example, how to organize a certain activity effectively from A to Z). Achieving this goal entails providing better resources to document the work of the Wikimedia Movement, such as offering documentation training, technological tools, and other kinds of support.

Facilitate a culture of documentation to become integral to Wikimedia’s work and evaluation and as an outcome in itself, by resourcing its creation in key areas, such as capacity building, advocacy, partnerships, and technology.

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No. Sorry, we have too many essays, too many documents, too many procedures already. I think we’re pretty much set.

if a new procedure is in fact needed, then that’s fine; if that’s the case, then its usefulness, validity, and effectiveness, can be evaluated on an individual basis. but to " Facilitate a Culture of Documentation," which as far as I know no one is asking for, or has expressed any concern for?

sorry, but no. this idea is well-meaning, but it seems totally superfluous to me.

I do appreciate all your effort and work on this. I hope you will take my comments as they were intended; namely, simply as constructive feedback, meant to help us all in a positive way to improve and to develop our community in a positive manner. I appreciate your ideas.

I’m tagging @Qgil-WMF , and @NPhan_WMF , simply because I value their opinion, and would like them to see my comment on this item, as indicative of my overall approach to any generalized initiative or efforts, which to me might seem likely to be more effective if handled on an individual basis for each specific proposed item, idea, or activity.

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I see your point here, @Sm8900, and I too - on a personal level - get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information and documentation we have as a Movement.

However, there’s more to it than just producing documents, in my opinion. The first step is keeping records of knowledge (hence the documentation need), but the next step is making sense of what we have and what we know, and extrapolating from that relevant takeaways that we can learn from and use to inform our future work moving forward. This is where I see the value in documentation and knowledge management: allowing us to learn from and build on the experiences that came before us. This practice and culture of knowledge management and documentation allows us to be sustainable and scalable, rather than depending on a handful of individuals to carry the knowledge - the ‘know how’ - because, for example, if/when those individuals take a break or move on, we will have to recreate the wheel from scratch if they carried it with them and we didn’t document it properly, and that’s a huge setback. Knowledge management also allows us to equalize knowledge and make it accessible to all: anyone with an interest or desire to learn, contribute and improve on existing practices can jump right in (with their fresh perspectives and ideas), without having to have been a part of the Movement since its inauguration.

(Not to mention that this initiative - and all the other ones that Abbad has shared - is already enshrined in the Movement Strategy 2030, which was produced and agreed upon as a result of a multi-year, multi-stakeholder process. Abbad’s exercise is more about sharing what’s already in Movement Strategy in a more user-friendly manner, both the content itself and the flow of the Meta pages themselves.)

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@NPhan_WMF , thanks for your helpful reply. sorry that I didn’t write back for a while; I was offline. I have a few questions about your ideas above.

to begin with, could you please be more specific? where would these documents or materials be posted? if you mean simply new essays and procedures, either at English Wikipedia, or at meta, or anywhere else with a large existing quantity of documents,then I think that is one thing I was concerned about.

could you please tell me what form these new materials would take, and where they would go? thanks.

To be frank, a lot of it is on Meta. And to be franker, this is one of the Movement Strategy initiatives, and as such, it is a work in progress. This culture - along with the actual content and structure for the content - has to be built, maintained and nurtured, ideally collectively as a movement, as is written in the text.