Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why is bank transfer no longer possible?

2014-11-30 Thread Frédéric Schütz
On 29/11/14 10:05, Lodewijk wrote:

 Thanks for the clarification. It's surprising to me that posting a bank
 account number could lead to fraud - the bank systems are supposed to be
 robust enough for that.

My understanding is this is mostly a problem in the US, from what I
heard from Garfield. I asked him because Wikimedia CH broadcast its IBAN
number everywhere for the fundraising, so I would have liked to know of
any potential problem, but there does not seem to be any in Europe.

(I don't know much about the US banking system, but it looks like
knowing someone's account number may indeed be enough to wreak havoc on
their account; see for example the recollection of computer scientist
Donald Knuth, who had to stop sending checks to people who discover
errors in his books:

 I know that all charities in the Netherlands post
 this number on their website - maybe it could be worth while to reach out
 and see if switching banks might improve the security, if Citibank didn't
 fix it themselves?

It is definitively the case in Switzerland too -- and the reason why we
(Wikimedia CH) are very efficient at low cost fundraising: the marginal
cost of direct bank deposit is close to 0%. And we get about 6 bank
deposits for every credit card donation.


 Anyway, best of luck with fixing the underlying problem!
 On Sat, Nov 29, 2014 at 12:13 AM, Garfield Byrd wrote:

 IBAN and bank account information is sent out upon request due to the level
 of attempted bank fraud when the account information was posted on the

 I can review with our bank to see if IBAN security and fraud protection has
 improved so that we can publicly post our IBAN number.



 On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 1:16 PM, Lodewijk

 Hi Patricia,

 Thanks for telling that the iDEAL will be back soon. I don't quite
 understand from your answer why you add the increased hurdle of emailing
 the team for the IBAN though. Am I overlooking something?


 On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 10:06 PM, Patricia Pena

 Hi Lodewijk,

 Currently IDEAL is temporarily down on our pages (it went into
 mode after our annual campaign), but should be back up soon :)  We know
 the importance of this method for Dutch donors and have supported this
 option since we started fundraising in the NL. We also support offline
 transfer (IBAN) and donors can get the account number with our Donor
 Services team.

 We had an extremely successful Fundraising campaign this year, and
 will be some great mobile optimization coming up in the next few
 which will allow mobile donors to complete their donations in a much
 and easier way.


 On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 11:28 AM, Lodewijk

 A while back now, the chapters were no longer allowed to fundraise,
 the Wikimedia Foundation argued they would be better able to do this.
 the time, this sounded somewhat reasonable. However, since then,
 been some disturbing developments - at least for Dutch donors.

 No longer it is possible to pay electronically (iDEAL, one of the
 common methods is no longer supported - 'electronic banking' simply
 you back to the credit card page) or even via regular bank transfer
 an IBAN) in the Netherlands. The donation page

 allows credit card and paypal, and the 'other ways to give' simply
 you to the helpdesk if you want to make a bank transfer payment.

 What is the reasoning behind this? Have bank transfers become a legal
 swamp? Are there statistics suggesting that this method was no longer
 required by donors? Did the European bank account somehow get

 If it has become so hard to donate, maybe it makes more sense to send
 donors to the local chapter pages where they can actually donate in
 local suitable methods (in this case, Wikimedia Netherlands offers

 One of the Dutch OTRS team members asked for elaboration, but didn't
 get a satisfying answer. I hope this is a temporary situation, and
 this threshold will be removed again. It would be sad if we go
 kind of trouble to enable long tail methods like bitcoin, but skip


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why is bank transfer no longer possible?

2014-11-28 Thread Frédéric Schütz
On 28/11/14 23:49, Lodewijk wrote:

 maybe as a little background: Charles Andres, who you're responding to, is
 actually an employee of Wikimedia CH. Your response might still be valid -
 I can't judge that - but it sounds odd to me as a relative outsider :)

Indeed, I think Patricia missed the point of Rupert and Charles' emails.
I have just tested myself from a computer on a Swiss IP address, opening
20 times the donation page, I get about half of the time the WM CH
landing page, and the other half the WMF landing page.

There is nothing WM CH can do, it is a problem with the redirection link
on the WMF servers -- and it is obviously pretty annoying for us (WM
CH). So far, we haven't heard anything from the WMF after Rupert first
spotted the problem (thanks !).


 On Fri, Nov 28, 2014 at 11:45 PM, Patricia Pena wrote:

 The local chapter processes payments in Switzerland and manages fundraising
 banners and payment systems implementation.  WMF is not running fundraising
 banners in Switzerland.

 If you spot any problems or issues, please do inform the local chapter.


 On Thu, Nov 27, 2014 at 12:35 AM, charles andrès (WMCH) wrote:

 I just try and I am randomly redirected to the localize page or the WMF

 Le 27 nov. 2014 à 09:20, rupert THURNER a
 écrit :

 The day before yesterday I was presented a fundraising banner in
 Switzerland which redirects to the donation page of Wmf, contrary the
 chapters page.

 On Nov 26, 2014 3:18 PM, Kim Bruning wrote:

 Just following up,

 Has WMNL now received the sought information?

Kim Bruning

 On Sat, Nov 22, 2014 at 08:42:01AM +0100, Lodewijk wrote:
 It seems everyone agrees it is an important method (although I'm not
 sure that the US based people running the fundraiser fully comprehend
 - I
 am assuming this is the case), but there seems to be some reason why
 WMF chooses to not make this option easily available. A reason they
 not to disclose, but to be fuzzy about. I'm very sorry about this,
 Liam says, this fits in a trend with the Russian people no longer
 allowed to donate. Maybe the two are connected, but this is all

 I'm sorry to see these steps back from the more open attitude there
 was a
 few years back. It feels very much that we are, as a community, being
 canned press answers. But then, maybe there's a real need for that
 there's a huge legal threat to making it easy to donate through bank
 transfer that cannot be disclosed...


 On Sat, Nov 22, 2014 at 1:34 AM, Kim Bruning

 To amplify:

 Paying (business) taxes in The Netherlands now pretty much requires
 electronic payment to an IBAN Account; a.k.a. it is (now) the
 default, baseline way to make payments at all.

 After registering a business, the very next action is to open an
 account. All extant dutch accounts that predate IBAN have been
 to IBAN. All administration systems (must(!)) support IBAN.

 If you want to do business in the Netherlands, you need to support

 Note that many (most?) dutch citizens do not have credit cards or

 Further, IBAN is standardized throughout the euro-zone.

 iDEAL is nice to have and important. IBAN is a minimal baseline


 On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 10:42:31PM +0100, Walter Vermeir wrote:
 Op 17-11-14 om 20:28 schreef Lodewijk:

 you back to the credit card page) or even via regular bank
 an IBAN) in the Netherlands. The donation page

 Historically the structure of bank account numbers are very
 from country to country. And making transfers from one bank account
 an other bank account, especially internationally, are/where

 There is still a lot of room of improvement but nevertheless it has
 never been so easy and cheap to do international transfers as now.

 The IBAN system - International Bank Account Number - is active in
 fair chunk of the globe.

 Inside the EURO-zone , 19 countries, ?? 337 million Europeans ,
 can make a bank transfer to an EURO-zone IBAN bank account without
 additional expenses.

 Many more outside the EURO-zone can easy make international
 an IBAN bank account. That is not free ... but paypal is certainly
 free also. The costs are just deducted from your donation.

 The WMF has always has been a huge fan of payment by credit cards.
 Understandable, the WMF is founded in the country of the Credit

 But that can make you blind to the fact that other people are used
 total other payment systems.

 A couple of years ago I discovered that there where still people
 cheques in France. 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimediach-l] red cross

2014-07-04 Thread Frédéric Schütz
On 04/07/14 00:26, rupert THURNER wrote:

 did anybody of you already have contact with the red cross or the icrc?
 concerning wikipedia, offline, commons, maps, wikinews? would there be
 any topic interesting for a cooperation?

Yes; one librarian from the ICRC photo department recently visited one
of Wikimedia CH's Wikipermanences (édia:WikiPermanence/Suisse ).

They are currently at the (very) early stage of developing a policy for
the global diffusion of their images, and are checking all possible
options. They have a large stock of pictures that could potentially be
distributed (meaning: not the ones documenting e.g. recent prisoners of
wars, etc).

Their main worry seems to be how do we make sure that people do not use
the pictures in a way we're not happy with, so they are not ready (yet)
to go down the free license route... But we had a long discussion about
possible scenarios, describing what other institutions have done, etc.
It seems to be a bit early for a more formal contact, but we're keeping
in touch with them. And the fact that they initiated contact is a good


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

2014-04-15 Thread Frédéric Schütz
Hi Erik,

I personally like all these ideas a lot (and I also agree with most of
the comments that have been made so far); in particular, the fact that
you mention both the server and the client side (as well as other
communities) is very appealing to me.

Within Wikimedia CH, this is an idea that we have discussed a few years
ago: how can we support software and other communities that our
community depends on, while avoiding to just give away money. In the
end, we supported financially one edition of the Libre Graphics Meeting.
This looked like a good investment, as most of the tools discussed
during this meeting are used by the Wikimedia community. The money was
mostly used by Swiss participants -- not necessarily members of the
Wikimedia community, but people we were eager to connect to, as their
competences could be useful to us (kill two birds with one stone...). We
had ideas about how to collaborate further, but they haven't
materialised yet.  We did not further discuss this kind of funding at
the level of our chapter, however, mostly because it was difficult to
assess its impact (and even more its impact on the Wikimedia projects).
But I can easily imagine that a global effort could have a clear impact.

Talking about other communities, we also had projects planned with the
local CC people, such as helping to adapt/translate the licenses to the
Swiss legal system and in French. In the end they managed to fund this
effort without our help (Wikimedia CH's lawyer mostly funded it, so we
still helped indirectly :-). We still have some ideas there, and this is
a local collaboration that could be very useful.

However, I can see clearly the slippery slope you mention: in the recent
past, several new friends of Wikimedia CH appeared from neighboring
communities, and they had no shortage of projects they wanted us to help
funding... (and we mostly had to say no).

As an aside, coming back to software, I have noted that the WMF gets
gets a special thank you note on the git-annex web page
(; is it a tool that has been
supported financially ? (and, I assume, a tool that the WMF uses
regularly) ?  If it is the case, I applaud this support.

Best wishes,


On 15/04/14 21:50, Erik Moeller wrote:
 Hi folks,
 I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
 extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
 that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
 specific goal established in a grant agreement.
 This comes up from time to time. One of the few historic precedents
 I'm aware of is the $5,000 donation that WMF made to FreeNode in 2006
 [1]. But there are of course many other organizations/communities that
 the Wikimedia movement is indebted to.
 On the software side, we have Ubuntu Linux (itself highly indebted to
 Debian) / Apache / MariaDB / PHP / Varnish / ElasticSearch / memcached
 / Puppet / OpenStack / various libraries and many other dependencies [2],
 infrastructure tools like ganglia, observium, icinga, etc. Some of
 these projects have nonprofits that accept and seek sponsorship and
 support, some don't.
 One could easily expand well beyond the software we depend on
 server-side to client-side open source applications used by our
 community to create content: stuff like Inkscape, GIMP and LibreOffice
 (used for diagrams). And there are other communities we depend on,
 like OpenStreetMap.
 So, should we steer clear of this type of sponsorship altogether
 because it's a slippery slope, or should we try to come up with
 evaluation criteria to consider it on a case-by-case basis (e.g. is
 there a trustworthy non-profit that has a track record of
 accomplishment and is in actual need of financial support)?
 I could imagine a process with a fixed giving back annual budget
 and a community nominations/review workflow. It'd be work to create
 and I don't want to commit to that yet, but I would be interested to
 hear opinions.
 MariaDB specifically invited WMF to become a sponsor, and we're
 clearly highly dependent on them. But I don't think it makes sense for
 us to just write checks if there's someone who asks for support and
 there's a justifiable need. However, if there's broad agreement that
 this is something Wikimedia should do more of, then I think it's worth
 developing more consistent sponsorship criteria.
 [2] Cf.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Board decisions on movement funding and approval issues

2014-02-11 Thread Frédéric Schütz
On 11/02/14 09:03, phoebe ayers wrote:

Hi Phoebe,

thanks for your answer !

 It is indeed up to the WMF to decide the conditions a group must have
 achieved before being recognized as a chapter or thematic organization.
 However, this is an assessment at a given point in time. How the group
 actually got there should have no influence on the result.

 Should it not? I think we disagree on that point. We want the group to do
 stuff, to have a great track record, to show some evidence that they will
 stay active if we call them a Wikimedia chapter -- not just to prove that
 they have a good lawyer in the group who can draw up bylaws. (That's the
 crux of the matter, not the user group label, as far as I'm concerned).

What you say makes a lot of sense, but it is disconnected from the
actual decision. Your decision is not you should have a good track
record, it is you should have a good track record AND NOT have bylaws.

What I understand the board is saying is: if you have a fantastic track
record over the past two years, and you have successfully incorporated
two years ago, and have maybe even managed somehow to attract external
funding to conduct your projects, then sorry, this is exactly the kind
of organization we do *not* want as a Wikimedia chapter or thematic

How can this possibly be something positive for the movement ?

 I see that the WMF ED suggested the change, and that it was not endorsed
 by the Affcom (which is interesting in itself). But why doesn't the
 community have a chance to comment on how it should organize itself ?

I'd love to hear your comment about this point. Agreeing with Itzik, I
don't really understand why we are having this discussion after the
discussion has already been made (and, indeed, will not change whatever
amount of discussion we have) and not before.

 What if a user group doesn't make sense for us? We want to do a specific
 project, and really feel we need chapter or thematic organization status
 for our situation.
 Please tell us what part of user group status is problematic, and for what
 reasons. We do not want to hinder planned or ambitious projects; we also do
 not know of any current cases where this would be a problem.
 Really, if you or anyone is forming a group, has some projects planned, and

I am not; I am lucky enough to be a founding member of a (successful, I
hope) Wikimedia chapter that managed to exist *thanks to the absence of
such a policy*, and would likely not be where it is if it had had to be
created under such arbitrary constraints. Creating the formal structure
is what got people together; Switzerland is a land of associations (most
Swiss people are members of several of them) and that's how we work.

However, I am not a fan of saying I am happy because I managed to form
a group when it was easy to do so, so now I don't care about what
happens next for other people.

 thinks the user group framework absolutely won't work -- well, let us know.
 We are not unreasonable heartless people! But we are trying to get us all
 on a different footing in how we view incorporation of groups.

The burden of the proof should be on the WMF board to explain why this
proposal makes sense, and what positive outcome it brings to the
community -- not on motivated community members who have to beg to get

I don't think I have seen much concrete rationale for this decision
beyond vague comments and concerns which I can only call patronizing
(hey, users, we know how you should spend your time and organize
yourself; no, no, don't think about creating a formal structure, it is
bad for your health. And bad for the movement; will anyone think of the
movement ?)

As a side note, this is the only point that I will keep from Rupert's
email: this decision completely ignores international cultural
differences in terms of funding, fundraising and organization in
general. Indeed, in a quote above, you talk about good lawyer in the
group who can draw up bylaws; this reinforces the incorrect premise
your decision is based on: that incorporation is a complicated and
bureaucratic process that should be avoided. And this is something that
can not be decided globally.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Board decisions on movement funding and approval issues

2014-02-10 Thread Frédéric Schütz
On 11/02/14 06:33, phoebe ayers wrote:

 I want to draw your attention to two Wikimedia Board of Trustees decisions
 that were recently published, regarding funds allocated to the FDC/Annual
 plan grant process and Board approval of chapter/thematic organization
 status. In a nutshell, the Board decided to allocate approximately the same
 amount of funding to the FDC for the next two years.

Some chapters have asked to consider the possibility for multi-year
funding, in order to make planning easier. The WMF indicated that it was
something difficult to do since the funding of the whole movement is
planned on an annual basis. Does it mean that this argument is now moot ?

 The Board also decided
 that new organizations should first form as a user group and have two years
 of programmatic experience before being approved as a legally incorporated
 entity (either a chapter or thematic organization).

My first reaction to this: why is the WMF board pretending to be more
and more a board overseeing the whole community ? I can understand
concerns about new groups legally incorporating before they need to or
are ready to, but this remains up to the groups to decide -- and one
thing about which there is no doubt is that they will know better than
the WMF board if they need to be incorporated and when (if only because
they know they local legal landscape much better than the WMF does).

It is indeed up to the WMF to decide the conditions a group must have
achieved before being recognized as a chapter or thematic organization.
However, this is an assessment at a given point in time. How the group
actually got there should have no influence on the result.

I see that the WMF ED suggested the change, and that it was not endorsed
by the Affcom (which is interesting in itself). But why doesn't the
community have a chance to comment on how it should organize itself ?

So if you had asked the Swiss chapter, for example, we would have
mentioned that a user group would be close to useless in our country.
That would basically be a group of people having meetings in a
restaurant once in a while, but it just does not exist as a group: it
can not get access to grants (it can not even have a bank account, so
any money received would be received by a single member in his own name
-- making the user group useless), can not be granted trademark usage.
This is why creating an association in Switzerland is an extremely light
process: take 2 people, get them to write one page of bylaws and voilà,
the association is incorporated and it can open a bank account. So long
for becoming a chapter or thematic organization involves much more
corporate overhead.

Maybe the board's reasoning makes sense in the US, I don't know (I will
not pretend that I know how people in other country should operate). It
does not makes sense in Switzerland, and likely nor in other countries.
But alas, this does not seem to be taken into account by the board when
it takes decision.


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[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia CH has just hired two new directors

2013-09-05 Thread Frédéric Schütz
 place afterwards during the hiring process for both positions, 
until the final choice made by the rest of the board, and resigned 
immediately after being told he was chosen. During the process, we 
received the advice of Dominique Freymond, a widely-recognized Swiss 
expert in governance (, who 
helped us eliminate possible conflicts of interests. In particular, it 
was determined that our president did not have to resign during the 
selection process.

The main people taking part in the recruiting committee were Chantal 
Ebongué, Ilario Valdelli and Frédéric Schütz, who followed the entire 
process. Several other people from the board, the staff, our members and 
external people were involved at one step or another, commenting on the 
process or the applications and participating to the interviews.

Board transition

The board has chosen current board member Patrick Kenel as president of 
the board ad interim, and Frédéric Schütz as vice-president ad interim. 
The current priority goes to the upcoming FDC application and the annual 
fundraiser; the organization of these activities does not depend on the 
transition, and so will not be affected in any way.

The next general assembly is planned on 22 March 2014, and a new 
president will be elected at that time.

Before finishing this long email, I would like to thank Chantal Ebongué 
again for the huge work she did while working with us, and for her 
collaboration within the hiring committee.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!

Board member of Wikimedia CH, in the name of the core of the recruiting 
committee: Chantal Ebongué, Ilario Valdelli and Frédéric Schütz

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Minutes from the April 18-19, 2013 Board Meeting

2013-06-01 Thread Frédéric Schütz

On 31/05/13 21:58, Stephen LaPorte wrote:

The minutes of the WMF Board Meeting on April 18-19, 2013 have been
approved and published:

The meeting's agenda included:


I also see under Fundraising Agreements that Sue updated the Board on 
the chapter fundraising agreements for 2013-14.

Is it possible to know more about this ? As a board member in a 
fundraising chapter, I don't remember hearing anything about the 2013-14 
fundraising agreements so far, so I'm obviously curious about the updates...


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Upcoming Survey, Feedback requested, and Office Hour

2012-09-14 Thread Frédéric Schütz

On 14/09/12 18:08, Jan-bart de Vreede wrote:

4) Doesn't every survey contain questions that don't apply to the whole 
responding audience?

No, because the answer would not be terribly useful. In all surveys I 
have seen in my work life [statistics work -- I don't design much 
surveys myself, but reply to a lot of them from different horizons :-], 
this does never happen.

Typically, the filtering for a question about chapters would be 
something like this (simplified and written quickly):

1) Do you know any organization active within the Wikimedia movement ?
(free text fields allow people to enter names)

2) This page contain a list of organizations active within the Wikimedia 
movement; please tick all the ones you know (even if you have only heard 
the name)

(a list follows, with maybe WMF, Local chapters in general, and a 
list of individual chapters)

3) People are then asked to rate and/or comment each entity that was 
mentioned under (1) or (2).

This way, not only do we avoid having people give their opinion on a 
topic they've never heard about, but we also get two different levels of 
knowledge on the topic (either the user knew it well enough to list the 
name, or he had to be reminded).


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