Le 4/30/13 11:22 AM, Jan-Bart de Vreede a écrit :
On Apr 30, 2013, at 1:12 AM, Florence Devouard <anthe...@yahoo.com> wrote:
Le 4/30/13 12:04 AM, Nathan a écrit :
It's not logical to assume that because the WMF has funds it should in
some way equitably distribute those funds around the world.
What happens to the idea according to which the funds belong to the Wikimedia
mouvement rather than to Wikimedia Foundation ?
Please note that you are disagreeing with Nathan, not with others (like me and
as far as I know the entire board) who have supported the idea of the FDC
because it is a great way to ensure that the funds are distributed amongst the
movement in the interest of the movement. The funds are those of the movement,
and although we might disagree on how the funds are divided we agree on that. I
am happy to see that the FDC as a body (and the community review process as a
important addition) ensures much more transparent processes.
No worry there. I know the board is largely (or unanimously ?)
supporting the concept of FDC. My question was definitly to Nathan...
chapter operations, and funding offices and staff in dozens of
countries, is not the chief object of the money raised from donors. We
need to get away from the belief that chapters are unquestionably the
best use of movement resources. There is a place for outreach,
publicity, and targeted educational programs. But the WMF is best
situated to supplement the efforts begun by volunteers, in the same
way the WMF itself was created and has grown.
I would object to the idea that WMF is best situated to supplement efforts
started by volunteers and that statement parts from the decision made some
months ago to deflate WMF role.
But we may agree to disagree on this.
I would agree with you here. I think that the WMF is in a good position to help
certain initiatives and that in several cases there are better alternatives.
This is why I am so excited about chapters helping chapters and all
affiliations being able to join the wikimedia conference in Milan this year. It
is that kind of exchange of experience which is perfect for all involved, and
lets remember that what works for some might not work for others.
Additionnaly... I must add that when WMF was precisely at the current stage of
most chapters (with no staff and no office), it was run in a rather creative
fashion that would make everyone cough today in comparison to the requirements
and obligations made mandatory to chapters. Uh. You may have a slightly more
ideal view of the past :)
True, but just because things used to be "bad" is no reason that they should be "bad" now
if we can prevent it (I was there with you, and we are both happy that we outgrew that phase with a minimal
of damage and a LOT of luck in finding the right ED) the scale of the organisation now makes it impossible
to tolerate that kind of "creativity" when not absolutely necessary.
True. But I would argue that's in good part because we had so little
that things were operated in a "bad" way. And it is not because WMF was
so tight on money for its first 3-4 years of operations that we should
somehow make it so that all organizations should also go through such
It would be a poor use
of movement funds indeed if the WMF decided to pour money into infant
chapters with minimal development and fuzzy strategic goals. That's a
recipe for, at an absolute minimum, good-faith mismanagement and waste
of scarce donor resources. Avoiding this path was a very wise decision
by the trustees, and I only hope they remain resolute despite
criticism and Sue's impending departure.
I mostly hope that they stay consistant with their own past decisions (=we were
sold the fact that the money collected belong to the mouvement, not to the
entity collecting it. If so, decisions of allocations should not become WMF
Agreed, which is why I think the FDC's advice is so important and I hope to
never have to question it (although the board does have to have a final say in
these matters as a matter of governance)
In any cases... I know not if WM HK should have been funded or not. What I know
is that the mouvement need happy and rested and humanly treated volunteers to
True, but volunteers also have to ensure not to force themselves into positions of
"make or break" and thereby put themselves at risk.
Which is why I stepped down at last year elections on WM FR board. I am
really glad I did it. I knew this year was going to be really tough. And
it is not deceiving me.... annus horribilis :(
We keep talking about editors decrease. Maybe in the future, we'll talk about irl
volunteers (as in "chapter members") decrease as well.
I think we should, and I think that some of that discussion took place in Milan. As we
know there are different kind of volunteers who organise affiliates (because the problem
is not limited to chapters) and it takes different ways to keep motivated. These are
important topics to discuss and keep track of. But lets not fall into the trap of blaming
the "big bureaucratic body of the WMF" for all the problems we have. Volunteers
burn out because of lots of reasons and we should all take care to fix those problems
that are within our reach to control, and try to reduce the risk of burnout for all those
involved (and again: meeting each other physically and exchanging experiences is a really
good way of recharging)...
I do not think WMF bureaucracy is to blame in this case.
In the past years, we have seen several times organizers of Wikimania plain
disappear after the event. Burn-out. I do not think it is a good outcome. For
And I do not think it is a good idea to slap a chapter organizing Wikimania this year with words
such as "infant, minimal development, fuzzy strategic goals" whose funding would be
"at an absolute minimum, mis-management and waste of donor resources".
I would never characterise it that way, but I would also not
Organizing Wikimania is an effort which deserve a little bit more respect than
this. Either we trust the chapter to host Wikimania or we do not. I do.
I do trust them for organising Wikimania (its looking to be great!) , but I
think that their FDC proposal was too optimistic in growth and share the other
criticism of the FDC and the community on the talk page. The two are not
isolated, but they are not the same either.
And to be clear: I think that WMHK should reapply to the GAC (because I do
think we need to fund them as a movement) with a modest proposal (and reading
Asaf's long mail it seems to me that this is a much better place for their
proposal… I just wonder how we can ensure that affiliates apply to the right
funding the first time around. Of course a condition to any funding is being in
Yeah, but the rules of the GAC probably need to be refreshed so that it
can cover administrative costs which would not be directly related to a
specific project but would be more general support to an organization
(this organization would still need to show decent programming of
course). Admin stuff is probably what is right now toughest for most
I was thinking of the numerous (quite successful) associations in
France, which are simply made of entrepreneurs wishing to do things
together (from networking, to training, to visits, conferences etc.).
Most of those associations have only one staff member, a long-term hired
secretary who takes care of secretarial work. The rest of the
association activity is 100% taken care of by the volunteer
entrepreneurs (usually through an extended board of volunteer members).
In many cases, the secretary is paid with sponsorship and membership
fees. Oftenly, the city or the region offers a free-of-charge office
corner in a public building. With only one full time or 50% time
secretary knowing all details of the association, the members of these
associations do miracles because they are relieved of the burden of
doing paperworks, renting spaces, giving phone calls, sending general
assemblies invitation, sending receipt, cashing checks and doing doodles
to organize meetings. In most cases where I have seen this secretary
position missing, the association is suffering because members get stuck
in simple paperwork stuff. That's sad. Just a stable position of the
sort can change things dramatically and balance the turnover of members.
But this recipe which I think is generally a good practice amongst such
associations is not possible for our organizations through the GAC
system and pushes them toward the FDC at a much too early stage of
Compliance or lack there-of is a different issue.
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