De Anza students football fandoms endure regardless of team success

Fans of the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders at De Anza College are loyal to their teams even when they are not doing well, but do prefer to win.

The Raiders lead the AFC West with a 9-2 record, while the 49ers are last in the NFC West with a 1-10 record. This is a stark reversal from 2013, when the 49ers were competing in the Super Bowl and the Raiders finished the season with a 4-12 record, as reported by The Mercury News.

49ers fans are not bothered though.

“My entire family is 49ers fans, and there is no change in our fandom due to the downturn,” said Joseph Schmidt.

Schmidt recently bought a new 49ers hat that he wears around campus.

Victor Bejarano concurred and said, “I try to watch them every week, even when they’re losing.”

A fan since 2011, he too wears a 49ers hat around campus to show his support for the team.

Sathya Reach said he has stopped watching the 49ers play not because of their downfall, but because of an increased focus on school.

“I used to watch (the 49ers) with my cousins, not so much anymore,” Reach said.

Kaepernick in 2012 Mike Morbeck/CC-BY-SA

Regardless of their support, 49ers fans have opinions on how the team is doing, mostly about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick protests police brutality against minorities before each game by kneeling during the national anthem. His protest placed him on the cover of TIME magazine, and ranked as the most disliked player in the NFL in a September poll conducted by E-Poll Marketing Research.

Bejarano does not follow Kaepernick’s actions off the field, but said that on the field, Kaepernick was not getting the job done.

“He does what he does, and has his own reasons,” Reach said.

Self-described Raider “fanatic” Mike Nijmeh agreed, calling Kaepernick a bad quarterback.

James Stewart, a Raiders’ fan since 5 years old, disagreed and said, “I like Kaepernick, and wouldn’t mind if he was a Raiders’ backup quarterback.”

Reader Poll: Could Derek Carr be the MVP this year?
Yes
Maybe in 5 years
Tom Brady

Both Nijmeh and Stewart praised the Raiders' quarterback, Derek Carr, and Nijmeh, dressed in his Raiders hat, jacket and jersey, said, “Carr could easily be the MVP this year.”

Stewart said that while he also thought Carr is MVP caliber, Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots, is realistically more likely to win.

“Maybe in five years,” said Stewart, explaining that he expected Brady to have retired by then.

He is not the only one, as Raider teammate Khalil Mack considers Carr to be a potential MVP, reported USA Today. USA Today Sports’ MVP tracker has Carr in third.

Some 49ers fans are indifferent about the Raiders, others support them because of simply being in the Bay Area, and others just do not like them.

Bejarano said that he supports the Raiders because they are a Bay Area team, but that it bothers him that they are doing so well in contrast to the 49ers.

Nijmeh summed up his feelings by saying the Raiders’ success has made him much happier on Sundays.


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Working the polls: reflection

As I said earlier, I worked the polls from 6 a.m. to roughly 9:20 p.m. We had one voter come in at the nick of time at 7:59 p.m.

I was glad to see that we had a lot of first time voters, as well as some who just filled out one issue on the three(!) page ballot, and then left. Overall, I've come to the conclusion that everyone is just like me and votes just to get a sticker. We had quite a few people who voted by mail and stopped by just to get their "I voted!" sticker.

I should get paid $145 for working, which I shall be donating to https://riseup.net/. And I plan to be helping out during the next election!


Working the polls

After being generally frustrated by this election cycle and wanting to contribute to make it less so, I decided to sign up to work at the polls this year, and help facilitate the election. Yesterday, we had election officer training by the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voter's office. It was pretty fascinating to me given that I've only ever voted by mail, and haven't been inside a physical polling place in years. But the biggest takeaway I had, was that California goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure that everyone can vote. There's basically no situation in which someone who claims they are eligible to vote is denied being able to vote. Sure, they end up voting provisionally, but I think that is significantly better than turning them away and telling them they can't vote.


What is the Crisis?

The following is my answer to a question asked of board candidates in the current ASBS election. I'd like to be able to discuss what I posted without making it look like I'm canvassing or something. You can read what other candidates said on Meta-Wiki.

Q. One candidate stated: "WMF has been going through, for many months now, an important crisis with huge stakes." I think many would agree with this overall statement; however, different people would describe the "crisis" differently. A Trustee's perception of what the problems are will play a huge role in how they approach the position. Can you please share your understanding the events of recent months, and what Board-level problems they expose? Pete F (talk) 17:55, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

There is a significant amount of mistrust and fear within the organization and the movement as a whole. The staff do not trust the board. The community does not trust the board. The community does not trust the staff. The staff are afraid of the community. The board does not even trust itself!

I believe I will have a unique perspective on this from other candidates as a WMF staffer during the “crisis”, so I'll go into some more detail. I do not believe it is worth rehashing the specific events that have happened recently, so I'll try to speak more generally.

The staff do not trust the board. Starting with the November all-staff meeting, an overwhelming amount of staff have lost their trust in the board. When legitimate concerns were presented to the board (many of which are still not, and probably will never be public), the board did not act, forcing staff to bring the matter up publicly, after strongly trying to resolve the matter internally. From what I understand, part of the problem was that one of the main sources of information the board got was from the executive director, which was not a good conduit for passing information along. Jimmy and Alice visiting San Francisco to talk with staff is a good start to rebuild trust, now both sides need to follow through by creating the discussed “ombudsperson” role that reports directly to the board.

The community does not trust the board. The other questions on this page about transparency and minutes lacking detail are simply symptoms of a lack of trust (not that they aren't important, but I'll address them in those questions). Rebuilding trust here will take a while, mostly because the board operates in a different manner than our wikis do. I believe that over the years I have earned the trust of many Wikimedians, whether in my volunteer role or as staff, and hope to bring some of that trust to the board.

The community does not trust the staff. I talked about this in my candidate statement – the community is tired of bad software being thrust upon them, and then fighting to get rid of it. It's not uncommon for me to be reading a village pump or technical page where people will sincerely state that they believe the WMF is actively harming the projects, rather than helping them. I believe that the best way to rebuild trust in this area is to get more people involved in product and technical development. Whether it be individual community members of affiliates participating in developing our software, I think the end result will be significantly better.

The staff are afraid of the community. Some (definitely not all!) community members are openly hostile to staff members, questioning their competency for their job, etc. Part of it is due to the lack of trust and past history, while other community members are just frustrated and are looking for someone to blame, and it technically happens to fall under the WMF's responsibility. The end result is that staff will now draft proposals and plans in private Google Docs instead of public wikis, or discuss things via private email instead of public mailing lists. We claim that our communities are our biggest asset, but the WMF needs to start acting like it means it.

The board does not trust itself. This one seems self-evident based on the removal of Doc James from the board. I do not have much visibility on the current board dynamics, and don't have much to offer in what to work on.

So where does the board come in to all of this? The WMF is in a partial state of dyfunction currently. It is the board's responsibility to make sure the WMF is able to function properly. The board needs to be proactive in rebuilding bridges and rebuilding trust.

All that said, a phrase that's come up recently that I strongly agree with is “change happens at the speed of trust”. There is a huge lack of trust right now, which means that change will happen slowly. That's okay. Trying to push change through too quickly will only cause more mistrust, which we desperately need to avoid.



The future of Echo

Echo (aka "Notifications") is the MediaWiki extension that provides a notifications framework for other features to use, as well as some "core" notification types. It's had a tumultuous history ever since it was deployed to Wikimedia wikis in 2013. To figure out where Echo should go, I think we have to look at its history first.

The initial deployment was pretty rough. The OBOD was gone, but no replacement. Standard APIs like hasmsg=1 didn't work either. The development team (WMF's "E2" team) iterated on those, improved the API integration and added a newer and less obtrusive new messages indicator (while also designing my personal favorite, nerdalert.js). So the time came for the deployment to be expanded to all Wikimedia wikis, at which point nearly the entire development team switched over to a different project (Flow), leaving one engineer to supervise the rollout over all projects. Umm, what???

So we ended up with bugs like "Mention notifications don't work if the sender's signature contains localized namespaces" taking nearly 5 full months to fix. That sucked.

Anyways, Echo was mostly dormant until mid-2014, when the "Core features" (previously E2) team made changes to Echo to support having Flow notifications go in a separate pane in the flyout. Except Flow was barely used at this point, so no one noticed outside of mediawiki.org really. (I was technically on the core features team at this point, but mostly doing Flow API things IIRC). But after a month or two most of the development moved back to Flow.

And then finally after the great engineering re-org of 2015, the Collaboration team (formerly Core features, but you already guessed that ;-)) also started looking at Echo seriously, and starting to fix some of the issues that had piled up over the years, including splitting the alerts and messages flyouts properly, giving user talk messages more prominence, and eventually embarking upon cross-wiki notifications.

Despite barely getting any attention from developers (until now really), Echo remains the most popular and really only successful product to come out of the E2/Core features/Collaboration team. Why?

The most useful feature of Echo is definitely the mention notifications which allow you to "ping" other users. So instead of people having to watchlist giant pages and look through history to see if anyone responded to the one thread they want to follow, they can wait for the notification that someone pinged them while responding. The once widely used {{talkback}} template is now deprecated in favor of these notifications. And for most users, this functionality is good enough. Watchlists really haven't seen any major changes in the past few years (again, until the past month, but that's another story), so something else that can do the job was welcomed by users.

So now we're in the state where we have two overlapping, but not exactly the same features: Notifications and Watchlists. Gryllida has written up an RfC titled "Need to merge Notifications and Watchlist or lack thereof", discussing some of the similarities and differences. Over the next few months I'd like to flesh out the RfC a bit more and work on a solid proposal.

I also wrote an RfC yesterday titled "Notifications in core", which discusses merging parts of the Echo extension into MediaWiki core. I think this is crucial in improving the usability of notifications from both a user and developer perspective, as well as improving the architecture by requiring less hacks. And it can probably be done before the reconciliation of notifications and watchlists.

So, that's where I think Echo should go in the next year or two. I probably won't have time to actually work on this, so we'll see!