So as the discussion gotten off-track, as 100% volunteer for the past 7
years, I'll echo and support every line which Nicole, as a WMDE employee
wrote. Thank you for summarize what many of us feel and think in a clear
and detailed response.


On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 10:40 PM, Nicole Ebber <nicole.eb...@wikimedia.de>wrote:

> Dear members of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, dear
> Wikimedians,
>
> I would like to share a few thoughts and questions with you. Thoughts
> and questions that I would love to see being addressed when talking
> about these movement issues. I have the feeling that this substantial
> decision is coming somewhat out of the blue, without a prior
> discussion among the broader movement – at least none that I am aware
> of. It would be helpful if you can provide some insights into the
> bigger picture or broader evaluation these decisions are based upon.
>
> == User Groups ==
> Not only two years ago, two new movement affiliate models were
> introduced, resulting from an extensive, transparent and collaborative
> process that involved all movement stakeholders. The current decision
> kind of neglects this process, the people involved, and its outcome.
>
> At first sight, I can understand your approach of giving UGs time to
> develop governance as well as structures and experiment with their
> capacities. But since there is hardly any structured support for these
> young and aspiring volunteer groups to grow, to develop and to become
> trusted partners, I fear that time alone won’t do the trick.
>
> Defining affiliates’ goals and providing guidance for development
> paths are inevitable tasks for a healthy movement, but it remains
> completely unclear who has (or should have) a mandate for this
> support. Without securing this support and empowerment, our movement
> might miss the unique chance to uncover the treasures of Free
> Knowledge around the world.
>
> The most pressing question here remains: In an ideal world, how would
> an organization model for Wikimedia look like? And does the
> restriction of choices for affiliations' models help us to reach this
> goal? I’ve got the impression that this step is more a patch for the
> symptoms, while we as a movement should strive for a fix for a – yet
> unspecified – “problem”.
>
> == FDC funding ==
> Similar questions arise regarding the FDC freeze. Why now? Wouldn’t it
> make sense to wait for the FDC Advisory Group, who is charged with
> reviewing and evaluating the funds dissemination process as a whole?
> Do we have to understand this decision as a declaration of bankruptcy
> of the FDC process already? Which data is this freeze based upon?
>
> For a young movement like ours, with a cause that is so new and
> unique, how can we even dare not to invest into exploring new
> territory, into finding the right things to do? Why do we not embrace
> all the exciting projects that the affiliate volunteers and staff are
> offering to our movement, and which fulfill our common mission?
> Together, we have to figure out the best balance between
> effectiveness-driven and money-driven decisions. We need to define
> what is meant by “healthy growth”, taking different circumstances and
> stages of development into account. The Wikimedia movement is in the
> luxury position that our donors generously support our endeavors, they
> trust us with our efforts to advance our mission, and I wonder if it
> is reasonable if we artificially limit the support that is available
> to our global movement.
>
> Our whole grantmaking process is unique, we are pioneers within the
> non-profit world. And the same goes for the evaluation of our work. Of
> course, we are all – big and small – facing growing pains and need to
> scrutinize our processes over and over again. Does retracting from
> this experiment at such an early stage, without proper assessment and
> evaluation, reflect our movement’s culture of being bold and
> innovative?
>
> What also puzzles me is the fact that on the one hand your decision
> encourages affiliates to seek funding from outside sources, but on the
> other hand speaks against building structures. One of the reasons for
> centralizing the fundraising in 2012 was the argument that chapters
> should focus on their work and leave the collection of funds to the
> WMF. Now that they have lost their capability and skills for raising
> funds, you not only ask affiliates and volunteer groups to start
> building up these capacities again, you also put them in jeopardy of
> becoming dependent from corporations, governments and other sponsors
> that we as a movement hardly have any control over. Would it not be a
> good idea to at least support the process and make WMF funds available
> to build up structures for a sustainable external fundraising, full of
> integrity?
>
> == Outlook ==
> My hope is that these decisions can serve as an initial spark to bring
> all involved parties together and frankly (I mean it!) discuss
> questions relevant for the future of our movement and the
> organizational structures that benefit our mission in the most
> effective way. I see several occasions in the not too distant future,
> for example:
>
> In the FAQ, you are referring to the strategy process as the place to
> discuss and solve all these issues. It would be really helpful to know
> more about this process and the involvement of the different movement
> stakeholders.
>
> Some of the topics covered in the decisions and FAQs are already on
> the agenda for the Wikimedia Conference[1], but it is still early
> enough to adjust the agenda accordingly. The program team is surely
> happy to help with figuring out how to best address these topics at
> the conference.
>
> Best regards,
>
> Nicole Ebber
>
> [1]
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Conference_2014/Programme#Theme_1:_Organisation.2C_structures_and_grants
>
> On 11 February 2014 19:46, Dariusz Jemielniak <dar...@alk.edu.pl> wrote:
> > that is correct (about the FDC involvement; we have not participated in
> > consulting or idea exchange in any systematic way).
> >
> > dj "pundit"
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 7:37 PM, Gregory Varnum <
> gregory.var...@gmail.com>wrote:
> >
> >> While AffCom will likely be making an official statement later, I am
> having
> >> a hard time not chiming in and I do think it is worth pointing out that
> >> AffCom was not consulted in a manner I think most of us would have
> imagined
> >> occurring. I have noticed it mentioned a few times that our feedback was
> >> taken into consideration, but that may give the wrong idea of what
> >> happened.
> >>
> >> While it is true we provided feedback before the decision was made, I
> would
> >> not consider it consulting with us or even communicating with AffCom in
> a
> >> way that allowed us to provide the level of feedback I think the
> community
> >> has come to expect. Frankly we got a lot of our information second-hand,
> >> and am still not sure personally we know the full story. My personal
> >> expectation would have involved a lot more communication before the
> >> decision was made, and most importantly, some two-way dialogue. At the
> very
> >> least I think the chairs of FDC and AffCom should have been looped into
> >> parts of the conversation during the meeting.
> >>
> >> I think it is fair to say that AffCom got notice before the broader
> >> community, and we had opportunities to express our concerns and
> objections
> >> - however I would not characterize it as a conversation or true feedback
> >> gathering. I am not personally convinced it was taken into much
> >> consideration as the people proposing this bad idea were physically
> there
> >> to speak to their idea, but no one opposed to it was invited. My
> >> understanding is the same was true for FDC - but I obviously cannot
> speak
> >> to that.
> >>
> >> Aside from my disappointment in the decision, I am perhaps even more
> >> disappointed with the process. Without going into lengthy details, I was
> >> not impressed with how AffCom was consulted on this (or not consulted
> >> depending on your take) and frankly the board's attitude I think calls
> into
> >> question their true interest in utilizing FDC and AffCom as actual
> advisors
> >> to the board. In a world and movement so woven into technology, the
> notion
> >> that we could not bring some "advisors" in for parts of these meetings
> just
> >> doesn't make sense to me. I recognize that has not generally been done,
> but
> >> that seems like something to change and not a pattern to stay within.
> >>
> >> I also want to be clear that I have a lot of empathy for the board,
> these
> >> are difficult roles, and I think the people in them are genuinely trying
> >> their best. I like them all on a personal level, and am confident these
> >> disagrees won't harm that. I also know that while the board stands
> united,
> >> these decisions are not privately made without debate. However, they are
> >> our board and I think sharing concerns like this is a healthy part of
> the
> >> process. Some of the tone people have taken on this thread is less
> helpful,
> >> and I hope we can get it back on a more civil track.
> >>
> >> -greg
> >>
> >> PS. I send this a volunteer and not wearing any official AffCom or WM
> >> anything hat (although that hat obviously formed my opinion).
> >>
> >>
> >> On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 12:59 PM, Cynthia Ashley-Nelson <
> >> cindam...@gmail.com
> >> > wrote:
> >>
> >> > Consensus indicates that the implementation of this decision will
> greatly
> >> > hinder the work of affiliates.It may help to disclose the initial
> problem
> >> > statement presented to the Board, which resulted in the establishment
> of
> >> > these new guidelines.What resolution is the Board seeking to achieve?
> In
> >> > the Board discussion that took place, were there other options
> presented?
> >> > If so, can the Board disclose what these were and why they were
> >> > disregarded? How will the implementation of this decision bring about
> >> > progress and benefit the movement on a global basis?
> >> >
> >> > Best regards,
> >> >
> >> > Cynthia Ashley-Nelson
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 5:36 AM, Jan-Bart de Vreede <
> >> > jdevre...@wikimedia.org
> >> > > wrote:
> >> >
> >> > > Dear Frederic,
> >> > >
> >> > >
> >> > > On 11 Feb 2014, at 10:44, Frédéric Schütz <sch...@mathgen.ch>
> wrote:
> >> > >
> >> > > > 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
> >> > > > organization".
> >> > > >
> >> > > > How can this possibly be something positive for the movement ?
> >> > >
> >> > > I think you misunderstand us, can you tell me where you got this
> >> > > impression, because it is the wrong one. We are saying that a track
> >> > record
> >> > > is important, and much more important that the previous focus on
> having
> >> > > bylaws. This because we know that a proven track record is a very
> good
> >> > > indicator of the chances of succes of a chapter or thematic
> >> organisation.
> >> > >
> >> > > >
> >> > > >>> 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.
> >> > >
> >> > > Its not like the community does not have a chance to comment on how
> it
> >> > > should organise itself. There are several ways to organise yourself
> >> > > (including the user group entity which can benefit greatly from the
> >> > > recently improved trademark policy). The board has indicated that
> there
> >> > is
> >> > > now an additional requirement for becoming a chapter/thematic
> >> > organisation,
> >> > > which is just ONE way of organising yourself. The chapter/thematic
> >> choice
> >> > > brings with it a lot of responsibility and we feel that our measure
> >> will
> >> > > help us fulfil our responsibility of being able to approve both
> >> chapters
> >> > > and thematic organisations while adhering to our governance
> >> > responsibility.
> >> > >
> >> > > For the record: The board took the feedback from both the AffCom and
> >> FDC
> >> > > into account and then made its decision, based on factors that were
> >> > really
> >> > > the responsibility of the board. I respect the volunteers within
> both
> >> > > committees tremendously, but it in the end it really was a decision
> >> which
> >> > > was taken while taking into account the entire picture (pieces of
> which
> >> > > were provided by the Affcom and FDC).
> >> > >
> >> > > <SNIP>
> >> > >
> >> > > >>
> >> > > >> 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
> >> > > > exceptions.
> >> > >
> >> > > Hmmm.... I would say that
> >> > > 1) We made a decision in which we took several factors into account
> >> > > 2) We recognise that there might be situations which we might not
> have
> >> > > taken into account and we invite you to let us know it you think
> this
> >> is
> >> > > the case.
> >> > >
> >> > > would be better than the alternative of not being open to feedback
> >> about
> >> > > the decision's impact in specific cases.
> >> > >
> >> > >
> >> > > >
> >> > > > 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 ?")
> >> > >
> >> > > I really think that the FAQ gives a pretty good indication. What
> >> concerns
> >> > > me (and other board members) is the fact that there is a natural
> >> tendency
> >> > > to incorporate a group of volunteers into a chapter or thematic
> >> > > organisation even if there is no real track record or a good reason
> to
> >> > want
> >> > > to do so (especially since the revised trademark policy gives user
> >> groups
> >> > > much more freedom to make use of the trademarks). Chapters and
> Thematic
> >> > > organisations are an essential part of the movement and we would
> like
> >> > each
> >> > > and every one to succeed in furthering the goals of the movement as
> a
> >> > > whole. Asking these groups to be a user group for the first two
> years
> >> > while
> >> > > doing programmatic work really gives a good indication of the
> ability
> >> of
> >> > > the "future chapter/thematic organisation" to succeed.
> >> > >
> >> > > We also reference the strategic planning which is due to start this
> >> > > summer. One of the things we really have to solve is the
> >> > > roles/responsibilities/privileges of each player in the movement.
> The
> >> > basic
> >> > > answer to the questions:
> >> > >
> >> > > 1) What are our long term goals
> >> > > 2) Who is best positioned to achieve these goals
> >> > >
> >> > > should lead to a "who does what" picture of the movement (and maybe
> >> just
> >> > > as important "who will stop doing what"), and it is on the basis of
> >> this
> >> > > picture and the underlying goals that we should create and fund
> >> different
> >> > > players in the movement. I would argue that at this time the
> picture is
> >> > not
> >> > > as clear as it should be before committing the resources we
> currently
> >> > > commit to it.
> >> > >
> >> > > (just as a small note: when I talk about movement I mean the range
> from
> >> > > the individual volunteer to the Wikimedia Foundation itself)
> >> > >
> >> > > >
> >> > > > 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.
> >> > >
> >> > > This is true. But to be clear, its not the possible "bureaucratic"
> >> aspect
> >> > > which concerns us greatly (as I mentioned above).
> >> > >
> >> > >
> >> > > >
> >> > > > Frédéric
> >> > >
> >> > > Regards
> >> > >
> >> > > Jan-Bart de Vreede
> >> > > Chair Board of Trustees
> >> > > Wikimedia Foundation
> >> > >
> >> > >
> >> > >
> >> > > >
> >> > > > _______________________________________________
> >> > > > Wikimedia-l mailing list
> >> > > > Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> >> > > > Unsubscribe:
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> >> > >
> >> > >
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> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > --
> >> >
> >> > Best regards,
> >> >
> >> > Cynthia Ashley-Nelson
> >> > "Yes. *Her again.*"
> >> > _______________________________________________
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> >
> >
> >
> > --
> >
> > __________________________
> > dr hab. Dariusz Jemielniak
> > profesor zarządzania
> > kierownik katedry Zarządzania Międzynarodowego
> > i centrum badawczego CROW
> > Akademia Leona Koźmińskiego
> > http://www.crow.alk.edu.pl
> > _______________________________________________
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>
>
> --
> Nicole Ebber
> Leiterin Internationales
> Head of International Affairs
>
> Wikimedia Deutschland e.V. | Tempelhofer Ufer 23-24 | 10963 Berlin
> Tel. +49 30 219158 26-0
>
> http://wikimedia.de
>
> Wikimedia Deutschland - Gesellschaft zur Förderung Freien Wissens e.V.
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