I whole-heartily agree with many of Christophe's comments. Whenever
possible, GAC should take precedent before the FDC in my opinion. The FDC
should typically involve those entities, which have grown significantly
(often also through part-time staff hired for specific projects well

Ilario - I disagree with your view that we should have an algorithm of
evaluating projects, mainly because projects vary quite a lot. Also, it is
my strong personal belief that it is imperative that if we see brilliant
projects, with visionary impact for our movement, we should be able to
support them, irrespective of some minor formal imperfections. I do serve
on another funds dissemination committee relying on a sort of algorithmic
method and quite often it is difficult to appreciate great projects with
high impact, if they fail to tap into some of the application fields (btw,
there we're giving grants of about $5k, while requiring more paperwork than
in the FDC).

The level of expectations in terms of professional preparation of a project
also partly depends on the size of an entity. I believe that budgets below
100k should be treated with more lenience than those of over 1m, and the
medium-sized budgets in between require some medium approach as well. Yet,
ultimately, projects are written to show that the money is really worth
spending on them.

What is essential in evaluating proposals, is seeing their impact for the
movement. For instance (and bear with me for this theoretical example), I
would rather be reluctant to support a project in which the vast majority
of expenses are to cover only office work and staff, with minimal direct
relation to projects and initiatives themselves. The discussion on what
proportions of overheads to other expenses are good is ongoing and, all in
all, we probably should be flexible here (because of different labor laws,
taxation, customs, etc.). But generally, all projects funded through the
FDC should be the ones really worth funding. Also, I think it would be
really good if there was more interaction with the prospective applicants
prior to applying, so as to help them and make sure they do not invest
their time in vain. We are going to suggest changes to the FDC application
process soon (and hope to get the community's insight into this, especially
from the entities which applied).

I'm writing this reply on the spot to acknowledge the discussion, more to
follow tomorrow.


dariusz ("pundit")

On Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 10:07 AM, Christophe Henner <
christophe.hen...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi David,
> I changed the topic to not flood Deryck parting email. Though the
> topics are related, I'd rather not flood his thread.
> Yes, the process is flawed, and everyone recognise it, even FDC staff
> and FDC members in their comments do.
> Yes, the process is a heavy burden to all the organisations
> Yes, we're still missing some steps
> Now, I believe because of the situation in which the FDC was created,
> a lot of chapters thought that the FDC would become their way to get
> funds and so made a proposal.
> But the FDC is not the "normal" way to get fund, GAC should be. FDC is
> like a EU grant system, where you ask for a lot of money, explaining
> the main reasons you need the money (money is not earmarked for a
> specific project) and you report back on the use of the money on a
> regular basis.
> This is not a "light" process.
> I am sorry to hear of deeply commited people leaving because of the
> FDC toll. And to be quiet honest, even within WMFr the FDC was not a
> painless process... and we went through it twice already. I can
> totally relate to their feelings and exhaustion. But I believe the FDC
> role is, and there's much way of improvement on that, to help
> Wikimedia organisations get to the next stage regarding
> personification, goals definition, metrics, etc.. In fact we're at
> that moment when a start-up starts *really* thinking about ROI. Though
> in our case the ROI is not money but in furthering our goals,
> fostering Wikimedia community.
> And when I say Wikimedia organisations, I include WMF, because all of
> our standards are rather low. When I look at the proposals with an
> outside perspective, or with the level of quality I ask to my team,
> we're all far from the quality I could expect. If I was to judge those
> demands only on my professional criteria, no one would have 100% of
> the allocation. But we have
> And that change in perspective, from start-up to "company" always
> comes with its toll. You always see founders stepping back or even
> leaving, you see employees leaving too.
> I lived the exact same thing in a company I joined at founding 4 years
> ago and left last December.
> That is a normal step in the life of any organisation. It is a painful
> one, but a needed one I believe.
> Do we really believe it was better the way it was? Everybody doing
> pretty much what they want with the movement funds and little
> reporting? I do not.
> Now, I don't believe anyone is hiding. Everyone acknowledges the
> process is far from perfect. In The initial timeline there was meant
> to be a review period after the first rounds (the second just ended).
> I believe this period's goals are to on one hand improve the process
> in itself and on the other hand make it clearer how heavy a process
> the FDC is.
> As I said in my previous email:
> * Most of the chapters should go through the GAC first, to get used
> with a formal process
> * We need the first employee/office space budget being a specific GAC
> or FDC process (there's pros and cons in having one or the other
> handling it). Because let's be honest, the actual FDC process is way
> to heavy for those needs and the GAC is not meant to handle such
> requests
> Best,
> --
> Christophe
> On 29 April 2013 08:31, David Gerard <dger...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > On 29 April 2013 06:14, Christophe Henner <christophe.hen...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> >> As said during the feedback session, we still have to figure out how to
> fund the first employee.
> >> The FDC process is a really heavy process that do take a huge amount of
> time and energy. This is a process everyone should want to avoid as much as
> possible.
> >
> >
> > This sort of disastrous outcome seems, IIRC, precisely what chapters
> > were expecting, and were up in arms about, when the WMF first asserted
> > absolute control of the funding. These arguments being what WMF staff
> > decided they weren't interested in listening to any more, leading to
> > internal-l falling into disuse. Unfortunately, as Deryck notes,
> > ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away.
> >
> >
> > - d.
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dr hab. Dariusz Jemielniak
profesor zarządzania
kierownik katedry Zarządzania Międzynarodowego
i centrum badawczego CROW
Akademia Leona Koźmińskiego
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