I hope a few remarks are valid.

As a chapter volunteer responsible for leading the local application
during round 2, I recognize much of the frustration from WMKH.

The process is not on its right track, as things are. The WMF is
understandably under legitimate scrutiny over the use of donations and
other funds. Legislation and general ethics call for a thorough application
process.

However, the gap between the legitimate demands of a donation-backed
funding process, and the resources available in a chapter with 0 employees,
is too big. Thus the hen-and-egg-problem that some have already pinpointed:
Getting the first employee demands the resources that only come with the
first employee. One result is the frustration of valuable volunteers,
another is the under-utilization of critical resources.

The gap between WMF headquarters and national hubs has rapidly increased,
until now. WMF has a great number of employees in San Fransisco, and a very
low number of resources in other global hubs, let alone elsewhere in the
USA or in national language "markets" overseas. For any global
organisation, this imbalance is not optimal.  The FCA initiative is a
reflex of this imbalance, but is presently to weak to cure it. Resources
pile up in the center, with a headquarter location probably given by its
address of registry. Are there really more wikipedians in California, than
in the rest of the world combined?

One major problem then, is that countries attracting millions of dollars in
donations, have insufficient organisational resources to make full use of
that local enthusiasm. We must not forget how few volunteers really are,
and how valuable their energy is to the projects rather than applied in
planning and book-keeping. What it the WMF tried to post some foundation
resources more evenly between regions and time zones, to assist chapters
and community processes more directly in the region. Serving Eastern Europe
or the Middle East time zones from San Fransisco is next to impossible, for
obvious reasons. Assistance presently restricts itselves to reporting,
planning and spread-sheet scrutiny, as apart from a more directly
supportive approach.

To just illustrate the point, we have existed for five years as a chapter
in Norway, supporting  a high project production, but with a modest
population. Denmark, Finland, and the Baltic states are in more or less the
same situation. During the three years I have served at the chapter board,
I have never heard of any initiative from the WMF staff to neither visit,
meet, inspect, or support directly the projects and activities that are
taking place locally. There are no regular or even sporadic support visits,
campaign or outreach efforts from WMF in the region. Valuable but
complicated campaign initiatives that often require substantial
administrative effort, are totally left to the efforts of volunteers, with
an increasing gap towards the growing resources in the other and of the
organisational chain. "Translate this press brief, and try to get on local
tv". One result will be an even more unevenly distributed outreach and
campaigning power between some professionalised hubs (Germany, India, UK,
Switzerland, Israel), and totally amateur hubs (Hong Kong, Egypt, Japan,
Pakistan, Vietnam, Denmark, Norway, etc).

Normally, organisational resources would be dispersed to reach out to the
most promising "markets" (for example, chinese or arabic language
communities) and adjust for local "market failure" in reaching that goal.
Instead, WMF resources are presently dispersed to the chapters and
communities that coincidently did fundraising before a certain date, or
reach through with their FDC submissions. Among them are hardly any
arab-speaking or chinese-speaking chapters, representing the two billion
people of those immensely large cultures.

This is in no way an effort to deny the hard work, entrepreneurship and
creativity of successful chapters. The problem lies not in London and
Berlin, but in Cairo and Lahore. Countries with hundreds of millions
of inhabitants are devoid of even the slightest organizational resource to
mobilize. This is too important to leave to an application process. The WMF
will eventually have to disperse resources more directly to overseas,
regional centras covering important time-zones. The WCA initiative and the
failure of WMHK to establish an outreach hub for its 1,3 billion strong
language-community, should be a powerful wake-up-call to start parting up
some of the resource at least for occasional focused efforts. India was a
good start.

Personally, it took the grants and funding processes to realizehow critical
this is. For many amateur chapters, the reporting regime inherent in such
processes is simply too much. In stead of draining lcal organizational
resources towards San Fransisco (by way of applications), turn the table
and start distributing some headquarter resources directly outwards, to the
chapters.

I am probably mistaken in much of the above, please excuse that, but I hope
for some common reflection and effort as a result of all this.

Kind regards
Erlend Bjørtvedt
WMNO



2013/4/29 phoebe ayers <phoebe.w...@gmail.com>

> On Sun, Apr 28, 2013 at 3:52 PM, Deryck Chan <deryckc...@wikimedia.hk
> >wrote:
>
> > Dear trusty Wikimedians,
> >
> > The FDC decisions are out on Sunday. Despite my desperate attempts to
> > assist WMHK's board to keep up with deadlines and comply with seemingly
> > endless requests from WMF grantmaking and FDC support staff, we received
> an
> > overwhelmingly negative assessment which resulted in a complete rejection
> > of our FDC proposal.
> >
> > At this point, I believe it's an appropriate time for me to announce my
> > resignation and retirement from all my official Wikimedia roles - as
> > Administrative Assistant and WCA Council Member of WMHK. I will carry out
> > my remaining duties as a member of Wikimania 2013 local team.
>
>
> Deryck! I'm also sorry to read this message, and sorry that it has been so
> frustrating for you and the rest of the HK team.
>
> It sounds like it was tough to communicate what was going on with the other
> grant, and there is disagreement and confusion about whether the end of
> that grant was appropriately communicated to WMF. Perhaps this is a good
> time for the ombudsperson to step in and take a look at what happened.
>
> I'd also say that this is an area of FDC process we need to shore up and
> clarify (eligible entities should expect to stay eligible, or know clearly
> that they might become ineligible under certain circumstances).
>
> I can't wait to attend Wikimania, and visit Hong Kong for the first time. I
> know that planning the conference is incredibly stressful on top of
> everything else. Hang in there,
>
> -- Phoebe
> _______________________________________________
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> Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
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>



-- 
*Erlend Bjørtvedt*
Nestleder, Wikimedia Norge
Vice chairman, Wikimedia Norway
Mob: +47 - 9225 9227
 http://no.wikimedia.org <http://no.wikimedia.org/wiki/About_us>
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