Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimediaindia-l] Fwd: Open Letter to Affiliations Committee : Wikimedia India's Demand For A Fair And Transparent Hearing

2019-07-09 Thread Abhinav srivastava
Dear Krishna,

This is an open letter to the Affiliations Committee, a majority of those
happen to be on this list. This message is however also on the Indian
Mailing List [1].

All information in relation from Reports [2]  to financial and legal status
have been repeatedly shared on the list [3]. Regarding, issues with the
Affiliations Committee all information is present on the Chapter's member's
mailing list.

I would be grateful if the response is restrictive to the issue shared.
There are so many different mailing list [4] and you are free to take the
public information to them.

You have the second-accused in the CIS-A2K attribution grabbing case for a
Chapter's self-financed initiative and I am afraid but may not revert to
any subsequent messages from you, if they are not relevant and to the
topic.

To everyone, this is what happens when WMF decides to "divide and rule" by
having a staff-based organisation (CIS-A2K) and a volunteer driven Chapter
both at the same time.

Abhinav

[1]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-July/014199.html
[2]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2019-April/013994.html
[3]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2018-August/013467.html

On Tue, 9 Jul 2019 at 18:13, Krishna Chaitanya Velaga 
wrote:

> Hi Abhinav,
>
> I think this discussion will have a better direction if it is first done
> on the Wikimedia India community mailing list[1]. I say so because, many
> Wikimedians in India (non-members) and active affiliates (such as
> user-groups) haven't heard from the Chapter for a long time about its
> status (WMF compliance, legal, financial, etc.) and issues faced. We only
> heard about the state of the Chapter from this email. Otherwise, we are
> unaware of the situation.
>
> It will be better if there is a discussion first on the Indian mailing
> list where WMIN's leadership can explain the current state in detail to the
> community (what happened till data - including AffCom conversation, and the
> future actions planned to take). Personally, as Wikimedian from India, I
> was surprised to see this email on wikimedia-l without any prior
> information or discussion on about the Chapter or this issue on
> wikimediaindia-l.
>
> Best,
> Krishna
>
> [1] https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaindia-l
>
> On Tue, Jul 9, 2019 at 3:37 PM Paulo Santos Perneta <
> paulospern...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Hello,
>>
>> Reading about these developments in India has been absolutely painful, and
>> a sad reminiscent of a number of past situations.
>>
>> Most of all, the case with Wikimedia Portugal, when AffCom started
>> imposing
>> restrictions and "mediation plans" without having any kind of official
>> hearing with the chapter; the whole environment of secrecy and power/fear
>> games; the prerogative of making all kinds of unsubstantiated
>> affirmations,
>> presented as if they were god's truth; the notice of suspension for the
>> chapter, based on information which remains to be substantiated till
>> today;
>> the feeling of hopelessness.
>>
>> Then the old, cold case of Brazil, where back in 2010, like in India, the
>> WMF decided to experiment with local WMF representations, with very tragic
>> consequences, heavily disturbing the progress of the local Wikimedia
>> community, and hindering its progress for about a decade; the reckless
>> approval by AffCom, and subsequent WMF support of clone/conflicting local
>> affiliates with the one (s) already existing in the region; and the way it
>> was unilaterally "solved" by AffCom, dismantling a community which was
>> hanging around Wikimedia since 2008.
>>
>> And then the recent case which happened to myself where an old and
>> exclusively Wikipedia-related case was somehow morphed and cooked in
>> secret
>> inside WMF, deceitfully presenting it as affiliate related, and secretly
>> judged, with false accusations and sanctions issued without even informing
>> the target of what was happening.
>>
>> One thing common to all those situations is the environment of secrecy and
>> obscurity cultivated by AffCom, completely at odds with the values of the
>> Wikimedia Movement - starting with the way AffCom deceitfully defines and
>> presents itself - "a Wikimedia community-run committee" [1], when it is
>> all
>> but run by the Wikimedia community. It's not even chosen by the community,
>> to start with, but by the committee itself. But the main question probably
>> is: Why is AffCom cultivating all this environment of secrecy and
>> obscurity
>> in what should be straightforward and clear proceedings? What may be
>> secretive at all, in the quest of a group of Wikimedians to become an
>> affiliate? Why those processes do not occur in daylight from their start
>> till the end - with the obvious exception of sensitive information
>> involving privacy, such as real names? And then - who is AffCom
>> accountable
>> to? Who oversees AffCom? The BoT? Are they monitoring 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimediaindia-l] Fwd: Open Letter to Affiliations Committee : Wikimedia India's Demand For A Fair And Transparent Hearing

2019-07-09 Thread Krishna Chaitanya Velaga
Hi Abhinav,

I think this discussion will have a better direction if it is first done on
the Wikimedia India community mailing list[1]. I say so because, many
Wikimedians in India (non-members) and active affiliates (such as
user-groups) haven't heard from the Chapter for a long time about its
status (WMF compliance, legal, financial, etc.) and issues faced. We only
heard about the state of the Chapter from this email. Otherwise, we are
unaware of the situation.

It will be better if there is a discussion first on the Indian mailing list
where WMIN's leadership can explain the current state in detail to the
community (what happened till data - including AffCom conversation, and the
future actions planned to take). Personally, as Wikimedian from India, I
was surprised to see this email on wikimedia-l without any prior
information or discussion on about the Chapter or this issue on
wikimediaindia-l.

Best,
Krishna

[1] https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaindia-l

On Tue, Jul 9, 2019 at 3:37 PM Paulo Santos Perneta 
wrote:

> Hello,
>
> Reading about these developments in India has been absolutely painful, and
> a sad reminiscent of a number of past situations.
>
> Most of all, the case with Wikimedia Portugal, when AffCom started imposing
> restrictions and "mediation plans" without having any kind of official
> hearing with the chapter; the whole environment of secrecy and power/fear
> games; the prerogative of making all kinds of unsubstantiated affirmations,
> presented as if they were god's truth; the notice of suspension for the
> chapter, based on information which remains to be substantiated till today;
> the feeling of hopelessness.
>
> Then the old, cold case of Brazil, where back in 2010, like in India, the
> WMF decided to experiment with local WMF representations, with very tragic
> consequences, heavily disturbing the progress of the local Wikimedia
> community, and hindering its progress for about a decade; the reckless
> approval by AffCom, and subsequent WMF support of clone/conflicting local
> affiliates with the one (s) already existing in the region; and the way it
> was unilaterally "solved" by AffCom, dismantling a community which was
> hanging around Wikimedia since 2008.
>
> And then the recent case which happened to myself where an old and
> exclusively Wikipedia-related case was somehow morphed and cooked in secret
> inside WMF, deceitfully presenting it as affiliate related, and secretly
> judged, with false accusations and sanctions issued without even informing
> the target of what was happening.
>
> One thing common to all those situations is the environment of secrecy and
> obscurity cultivated by AffCom, completely at odds with the values of the
> Wikimedia Movement - starting with the way AffCom deceitfully defines and
> presents itself - "a Wikimedia community-run committee" [1], when it is all
> but run by the Wikimedia community. It's not even chosen by the community,
> to start with, but by the committee itself. But the main question probably
> is: Why is AffCom cultivating all this environment of secrecy and obscurity
> in what should be straightforward and clear proceedings? What may be
> secretive at all, in the quest of a group of Wikimedians to become an
> affiliate? Why those processes do not occur in daylight from their start
> till the end - with the obvious exception of sensitive information
> involving privacy, such as real names? And then - who is AffCom accountable
> to? Who oversees AffCom? The BoT? Are they monitoring AffCom? Does the BoT
> agrees with this way of acting?
>
> All this cult of secrecy by AffCom and other powers-that-be inside WMF
> creates a very unhealthy and toxic environment for everyone. I personally
> appreciate and hold in high esteem a number of members of AffCom, possibly
> the majority of them. And it has been very much mind-boggling watching the
> way AffCom choses to act as a whole. I've suggested to the Strategy WG of
> Roles & Responsibilities that AffCom should be wholly redefined, to make it
> more transparent, community-connected and accountable. The way it is now, I
> don't believe it is properly filling and complying with its role.
>
> I really hope things improve, and our Wikimedian brothers at WMIN - who I
> believe have made the right decision of bringing their case into the
> clarity of daylight - will manage to revert the suspension and continue
> working for a world of free knowledge accessible to everyone, despite the
> difficulties they are passing through at this moment.
>
> And it would be much more motivating for everyone if we could get out of
> this kind of Age of Darkness at AffCom (and WMF in general).
>
> [1] - https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Affiliations_Committee
>
> Best,
> Paulo
>
>
> Abhinav srivastava  escreveu no dia terça, 9/07/2019
> à(s) 08:10:
>
> > Hi Lodewijk,
> >
> > I will try and simplify
> >
> > (a) *What is the exact and complete set of reasons that Affcom put the
> > 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimediaindia-l] Fwd: Open Letter to Affiliations Committee : Wikimedia India's Demand For A Fair And Transparent Hearing

2019-07-09 Thread Paulo Santos Perneta
Hello,

Reading about these developments in India has been absolutely painful, and
a sad reminiscent of a number of past situations.

Most of all, the case with Wikimedia Portugal, when AffCom started imposing
restrictions and "mediation plans" without having any kind of official
hearing with the chapter; the whole environment of secrecy and power/fear
games; the prerogative of making all kinds of unsubstantiated affirmations,
presented as if they were god's truth; the notice of suspension for the
chapter, based on information which remains to be substantiated till today;
the feeling of hopelessness.

Then the old, cold case of Brazil, where back in 2010, like in India, the
WMF decided to experiment with local WMF representations, with very tragic
consequences, heavily disturbing the progress of the local Wikimedia
community, and hindering its progress for about a decade; the reckless
approval by AffCom, and subsequent WMF support of clone/conflicting local
affiliates with the one (s) already existing in the region; and the way it
was unilaterally "solved" by AffCom, dismantling a community which was
hanging around Wikimedia since 2008.

And then the recent case which happened to myself where an old and
exclusively Wikipedia-related case was somehow morphed and cooked in secret
inside WMF, deceitfully presenting it as affiliate related, and secretly
judged, with false accusations and sanctions issued without even informing
the target of what was happening.

One thing common to all those situations is the environment of secrecy and
obscurity cultivated by AffCom, completely at odds with the values of the
Wikimedia Movement - starting with the way AffCom deceitfully defines and
presents itself - "a Wikimedia community-run committee" [1], when it is all
but run by the Wikimedia community. It's not even chosen by the community,
to start with, but by the committee itself. But the main question probably
is: Why is AffCom cultivating all this environment of secrecy and obscurity
in what should be straightforward and clear proceedings? What may be
secretive at all, in the quest of a group of Wikimedians to become an
affiliate? Why those processes do not occur in daylight from their start
till the end - with the obvious exception of sensitive information
involving privacy, such as real names? And then - who is AffCom accountable
to? Who oversees AffCom? The BoT? Are they monitoring AffCom? Does the BoT
agrees with this way of acting?

All this cult of secrecy by AffCom and other powers-that-be inside WMF
creates a very unhealthy and toxic environment for everyone. I personally
appreciate and hold in high esteem a number of members of AffCom, possibly
the majority of them. And it has been very much mind-boggling watching the
way AffCom choses to act as a whole. I've suggested to the Strategy WG of
Roles & Responsibilities that AffCom should be wholly redefined, to make it
more transparent, community-connected and accountable. The way it is now, I
don't believe it is properly filling and complying with its role.

I really hope things improve, and our Wikimedian brothers at WMIN - who I
believe have made the right decision of bringing their case into the
clarity of daylight - will manage to revert the suspension and continue
working for a world of free knowledge accessible to everyone, despite the
difficulties they are passing through at this moment.

And it would be much more motivating for everyone if we could get out of
this kind of Age of Darkness at AffCom (and WMF in general).

[1] - https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Affiliations_Committee

Best,
Paulo


Abhinav srivastava  escreveu no dia terça, 9/07/2019
à(s) 08:10:

> Hi Lodewijk,
>
> I will try and simplify
>
> (a) *What is the exact and complete set of reasons that Affcom put the
> chapter on suspension?*
> This has been listed under six bullet points in my initial mail. I
> encourage you and everyone reading here to have a look at them. I have
> further shared a synopsis for the same again in part (c) along with WMIN
> responses.
>
> (b)* what additional complaints are part of the big picture ?*
> The trouble of having a Staff-based organisation (CIS-A2K) at national
> level where there is lesser transparency such that there MoU is not in
> public domain [1] and the trouble caused to India Chapter like attribution
> grabbing for WMIN's self-financed projects etc. [2]
>
> (c) w*hat is the response from WMIN.*
>  Our primary concern remains that Affcom on a good-faith could have asked
> for a clarification and if found they could have proceeded with the
> suspension. They took an official position without even hearing us once.
> There basis has been further described again in brief
>
> * Legal Structure : Affcom asked WMIN to resolve their necessary financial
> licenses. WMIN informed them that Government directives [3] have been
> restrictive in this regard, however, to keep the movement active,
> activities have been happening by members self-financing 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimediaindia-l] Fwd: Open Letter to Affiliations Committee : Wikimedia India's Demand For A Fair And Transparent Hearing

2019-07-09 Thread Abhinav srivastava
Hi Lodewijk,

I will try and simplify

(a) *What is the exact and complete set of reasons that Affcom put the
chapter on suspension?*
This has been listed under six bullet points in my initial mail. I
encourage you and everyone reading here to have a look at them. I have
further shared a synopsis for the same again in part (c) along with WMIN
responses.

(b)* what additional complaints are part of the big picture ?*
The trouble of having a Staff-based organisation (CIS-A2K) at national
level where there is lesser transparency such that there MoU is not in
public domain [1] and the trouble caused to India Chapter like attribution
grabbing for WMIN's self-financed projects etc. [2]

(c) w*hat is the response from WMIN.*
 Our primary concern remains that Affcom on a good-faith could have asked
for a clarification and if found they could have proceeded with the
suspension. They took an official position without even hearing us once.
There basis has been further described again in brief

* Legal Structure : Affcom asked WMIN to resolve their necessary financial
licenses. WMIN informed them that Government directives [3] have been
restrictive in this regard, however, to keep the movement active,
activities have been happening by members self-financing programs. Affcom
has further cited problems with WMIN's leadership. WMIN regrets such
statements, it is a nation-wide problem.

* Open Governance : WMIN has repeatedly informed Affcom that a member need
not be in physical presence to cast vote or raise voice during assembly.
To do so as claimed by Affcom, WMIN would have to change it bylaws and also
inform WMF as per Chapter Agreement. No evidence have been brought to
notice for any violation.

* Active Contributor Involvement : Affcom claims we do not have members and
have made some allegations (check initial mail for details) but haven't
provided any evidence. WMIN is always open to sharing its member's data
base with them after discussing privacy.

* Capacity : Affcom claims that WMIN has not been doing activities and
Chapter has repeatedly informed that WMIN has been hosting zero-budget,
self-financed activities. All reports are available [4]. Affcom has also
cited concerns over delay in report submission and WMIN has informed about
problems with government regulations. Detailed response in initial mail.

* Organizational Best Practices : Affcom claims that WMIN has not been
abiding to Best Practices, however they haven't informed the respective
areas. WMIN has shared the document with them, however they say late
submission hence proceeding with de-recognition.

* Action Plan : Based on all five points, WMIN has been asked to prepare an
action plan. WMIN continues to contest all the five basis and asked Affcom
to review Organizational Best Practices to understand the action-items.
Affcom claims late hence proceeding with de-recognition.

Also responding to few other statements categorically from your mail

* *It sounds more like they heard your responses *
As stated in my initial mail, WMIN has been providing justifications in
writing over mail however Affcom does not address them and invites for a
Call and shares expectation gap response over Cloud Document. Hence, during
Call,clarifications are again provided for they being not justified (eg -
Affcom finding WMIN's leadership flaws when 13,000 institutes struggle
with foreign funding) however nothing is taken into consideration.

*  *it is their job to make the best decision both for the best decision
both for the movement as a whole and the Wikimedia movement in India.*
Absolutely, it is for the very reason I ask them to make this public. If
Affcom is more transparent about its investigation and decision making,
community can provide valuable inputs and no reason to question them.

* *I was unable to find the resolution that explains this decision*
WMIN has been repeatedly asking Affcom to put everything in public domain
including the resolution. Please find Annexure [A] in my initial mail.

[1]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2013-November/010627.html
[2] Board of Directors at CIS, acknowledged in March, 2019 for a compliant
made in August, 2018 for CIS-A2K Staff not doing their duty to the order.
[3] Foreign Currency (Regulation) Act, 1960 compliance do not permit India
Chapter to receive money from its primary fiscal sponsor, Wikimedia
Foundation.
[4]
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Reports/Wikimedia_India#Wikimedia_India

On Tue, 9 Jul 2019 at 08:52, effe iets anders 
wrote:

> Thanks Abhinav for your email. I'm having a hard time splitting the email
> out in a) what is the exact and complete set of reasons that Affcom put the
> chapter on suspension. b) what additional complaints are part of the big
> picture. c) what is the response from WMIN.
>
> I realize it is really hard for you to separate these components, because
> you have been living this discusion for the past 8 months (at least), if I
> read this 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimediaindia-l] Fwd: Open Letter to Affiliations Committee : Wikimedia India's Demand For A Fair And Transparent Hearing

2019-07-08 Thread effe iets anders
Thanks Abhinav for your email. I'm having a hard time splitting the email
out in a) what is the exact and complete set of reasons that Affcom put the
chapter on suspension. b) what additional complaints are part of the big
picture. c) what is the response from WMIN.

I realize it is really hard for you to separate these components, because
you have been living this discusion for the past 8 months (at least), if I
read this correctly.

You mention that AffCom has not heard your objections, but from the rest of
your email, it sounds more like they heard your responses (you mention both
written and oral communication), but they hold a different opinion on the
value of those objections. That may be because of a different set of
expectations. I know these discussions are always painful for everyone, and
I'm confident that AffCom does not enjoy suspending chapters. While this is
no legal procedure, it is their job to make the best decision both for the
movement as a whole and the Wikimedia movement in India.

Anyhow, I was unable to find the resolution that explains this decision, so
it's hard to really understand it. I do hope that you and affcom will be
able to work towards a solution together - probably by addressing the
underlying concerns.

Best,
Lodewijk

On Mon, Jul 8, 2019 at 4:19 PM ravinder jadeja  wrote:

> It is such a long message and what I understand a very painful one for the
> writer. Asking Affcom to come in public with data is a right demand
> everyone can read then.
>
> I know FCRA is very tough thing today and I feel sorry reading that point
>
> What is this problem with CIS I am new and would like to know.
>
> On Tue, 9 Jul 2019 at 00:04, Subhashish Panigrahi 
> wrote:
>
>> Forwarding esp. for those Indian Wikimedians who are on the Wikimedia-l
>> list
>>
>> Subha
>>
>> -- Forwarded message -
>> From: Abhinav srivastava 
>> Date: Sun, Jul 7, 2019 at 2:20 PM
>> Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Open Letter to Affiliations Committee : Wikimedia
>> India's Demand For A Fair And Transparent Hearing
>> To: Wikimedia Mailing List 
>>
>>
>> Dear Friends From Affcom,
>>
>> I am posting an open public request for your notice of Suspension moved at
>> Wikimedia India (WMIN) which we continue to contest and to our ignored
>> demand of having a public hearing as shared with you all over mail and
>> shared again here under Annexure [A]. You have taken an official position
>> on suspension without even hearing us even once, unexplained accusations
>> have been provided and we continue to believe Affcom has been
>> insufficiently investigating facts before making judgements. We repeatedly
>> over and over again provided justifications over Mail but you never took
>> them to your notice and only over calls you heard us, provided your
>> rationale for expectation gaps but never took our oral commentary which
>> refutes your claims,in any action, anywhere. Now you say WMIN won’t remain
>> a Chapter after 14th September and be transformed into a User Group.
>>
>> Republic of India happens to be one of the only few countries where
>> besides
>> volunteer driven Chapter and User Groups has a full-time staff based WMF’s
>> Allied Organisation CIS-A2K [1]. Wikimedia India activities [2] may be
>> less
>> due to no source of funds [3] however, Community Members from India put
>> their efforts, strive hard to take the movement ahead.  Whether it be the
>> previous financial year or the present, no Wikimedia Foundation Grants
>> like
>> Rapid Grant, Project Grant etc have been applied by Wikimedia India
>> members
>> to support any Chapter activity. They remain self-financed. We received
>> your notice last year when Wikimedia India was contesting a dispute with
>> CIS-A2K over attribution grabbing for our self-financed projects and
>> ignoring Chapter at important National level initiaves [4]. While working
>> with virtually no source of funds and struggles with WMF’s Allied
>> Organisation, your notice of suspension was the least bad we could have
>> had.
>>
>> We continue to contest your suspension notice. It was Suo Moto (on its
>> own)
>> decision making and as found and re-stated above and below in detail,
>> there
>> were gaps and misunderstanding in your basis. We also continue to contest
>> there has been a Rush-to-decision making. No written responses via Mail to
>> Chapter’s clarification are being provided and invitation for calls are
>> initiated where brief responses are shared on a Cloud Document. It has
>> been
>> subsequently found by both parties on there being gaps in communication.
>> However, even after clarity during call, Affcom has not taken any action
>> over them.
>>
>> The basis of your suspension notice has been shared here for the wider
>> audience.
>>
>>
>>1.
>>
>>Legal Structure : Affcom asked Wikimedia India to resolve and obtain
>> its
>>necessary license in order to obtain funds. At present, as per
>> Government
>>of India restrictions it is difficult to obtain