So it has been announced. Starting next week I'll have a new job. One friend pointed out that I could put "Wiki Witch of the West" on my business cards ;-).
But seriously...I meant it when I said in the press release that the challenges ahead are both exciting and daunting. I'm such a big fan of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Commons, but until it got tweeted, I hadn't realized this hire would make me the only female CTO in the Top-10 websites ...must admit that spun me around for a minute...
I've been working for so long on awareness of the gender imbalance in Open Source, but I've always thought of my own career as a collaborative effort (as in, "It takes a village"). In fact, when I was interviewing at Wikimedia Foundation and described my approach to solving technical challenges, I said something like "I rely on taking in as many well-informed opinions as I can find, digesting them collectively, and reaching an essentially collaborative conclusion." This may be my Apache roots showing.
Anyway, the announcement hit the web while I was in São Paulo, Brasil for CampusParty, so of course the local Wikimedia Brasil folks came by for a chat, and I quickly learned that there are a variety of opinions about what to do "next" from a Technology standpoint to keep the Wikimedia Community vibrant. Very interesting discussion. I can see that gathering the well-informed opinions is going to be an intense but educational process.
Another fascinating outcome of the announcement was the attention my personal wikipedia page received. My page was initiated by some students in Pune, India during a talk I gave (about risk-taking in one's career) at the GNUnify conference. I wasn't even aware they were doing it at the time, and they wrote it with next to no citations. There ensued a lively Wikipedia discussion about whether my page was "worthy", and it was decided that the page could stay largely on the merit of my long-time involvement with the Open Source Initiative...over the years the page has been modified to reflect my employment changes, but this past week it got a through going-over by the Editorial Community and one effect was that I found myself defending certain factoids about myself (by for instance searching out online references to the Chairman's Awards I won at Sun). I completely understand why citation verification is important, and I want Wikipedia to be as authoritative as possible...but...
One factoid erasure that really surprised me was the fact that I have long been a follower of Indian guru Meher Baba. It was surprising because it is such a personal detail and because it was deleted not only from my page, but my name automatically also disappeared from another Wikipedia page listing followers. For the record, I've been following Meher Baba for more than half my life (since 1979), and the pursuit has brought a lot richness and self-understanding to my life. Hopefully this citation will re-establish the fact officially (can one self-verify? I'm sure the Community will let me know).
I was delighted to read coverage of the announcement from Sean Michael Kerner that recalled the Great Knitting Incident of 2007. That I knit in public is another factoid that I'd like to see included on my Wikipedia page at some point (and I've already written about it at length here). If you're interested in learning to knit to test out whether it helps you concentrate...there are tons of wonderful online resources to help you now. It's a great thinking tool in my experience.
Anyway...Rest assured I'm in rapid learning mode about all things Wikimedia now. I've cruised through lots of recent management communications (kindly sent along by Erik Möller) so I can be reasonably productive as soon as I get back to San Francisco. I really appreciate the ton of well-wishing messages and new followers the announcement engendered, and I'm so looking forward to serving the Wikimedia Community. Thanks everybody.