Hi Erik,

I personally like all these ideas a lot (and I also agree with most of
the comments that have been made so far); in particular, the fact that
you mention both the server and the client side (as well as other
communities) is very appealing to me.

Within Wikimedia CH, this is an idea that we have discussed a few years
ago: how can we support software and other communities that our
community depends on, while avoiding to just give away money. In the
end, we supported financially one edition of the Libre Graphics Meeting.
This looked like a good investment, as most of the tools discussed
during this meeting are used by the Wikimedia community. The money was
mostly used by Swiss participants -- not necessarily members of the
Wikimedia community, but people we were eager to connect to, as their
competences could be useful to us (kill two birds with one stone...). We
had ideas about how to collaborate further, but they haven't
materialised yet.  We did not further discuss this kind of funding at
the level of our chapter, however, mostly because it was difficult to
assess its impact (and even more its impact on the Wikimedia projects).
But I can easily imagine that a global effort could have a clear impact.

Talking about other communities, we also had projects planned with the
local CC people, such as helping to adapt/translate the licenses to the
Swiss legal system and in French. In the end they managed to fund this
effort without our help (Wikimedia CH's lawyer mostly funded it, so we
still helped indirectly :-). We still have some ideas there, and this is
a local collaboration that could be very useful.

However, I can see clearly the slippery slope you mention: in the recent
past, several new friends of Wikimedia CH appeared from neighboring
communities, and they had no shortage of projects they wanted us to help
funding... (and we mostly had to say no).

As an aside, coming back to software, I have noted that the WMF gets
gets a special thank you note on the git-annex web page
(https://git-annex.branchable.com/thanks/); is it a tool that has been
supported financially ? (and, I assume, a tool that the WMF uses
regularly) ?  If it is the case, I applaud this support.

Best wishes,


On 15/04/14 21:50, Erik Moeller wrote:
> Hi folks,
> I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
> extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
> that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
> specific goal established in a grant agreement.
> This comes up from time to time. One of the few historic precedents
> I'm aware of is the $5,000 donation that WMF made to FreeNode in 2006
> [1]. But there are of course many other organizations/communities that
> the Wikimedia movement is indebted to.
> On the software side, we have Ubuntu Linux (itself highly indebted to
> Debian) / Apache / MariaDB / PHP / Varnish / ElasticSearch / memcached
> / Puppet / OpenStack / various libraries and many other dependencies [2],
> infrastructure tools like ganglia, observium, icinga, etc. Some of
> these projects have nonprofits that accept and seek sponsorship and
> support, some don't.
> One could easily expand well beyond the software we depend on
> server-side to client-side open source applications used by our
> community to create content: stuff like Inkscape, GIMP and LibreOffice
> (used for diagrams). And there are other communities we depend on,
> like OpenStreetMap.
> So, should we steer clear of this type of sponsorship altogether
> because it's a slippery slope, or should we try to come up with
> evaluation criteria to consider it on a case-by-case basis (e.g. is
> there a trustworthy non-profit that has a track record of
> accomplishment and is in actual need of financial support)?
> I could imagine a process with a fixed "giving back" annual budget
> and a community nominations/review workflow. It'd be work to create
> and I don't want to commit to that yet, but I would be interested to
> hear opinions.
> MariaDB specifically invited WMF to become a sponsor, and we're
> clearly highly dependent on them. But I don't think it makes sense for
> us to just write checks if there's someone who asks for support and
> there's a justifiable need. However, if there's broad agreement that
> this is something Wikimedia should do more of, then I think it's worth
> developing more consistent sponsorship criteria.
> Thanks,
> Erik
> [1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Freenode_Donation
> [2] Cf. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Upstream_projects

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