On 27 April 2014 12:37, Michael Peel <em...@mikepeel.net> wrote:

> Hi Risker,
> On 27 Apr 2014, at 16:01, Risker <risker...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > However, having accepted the validity of the "proposal", the FDC does not
> > have the authority to delegate its role.
> I think you're misunderstanding what has been delegated here. The FDC is
> asking WMDE to do the 'staff assessment' of the proposals, e.g. here's the
> one for WMDE from last round:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Proposals/2013-2014_round1/Wikimedia_Deutschland_e.V./Staff_proposal_assessment
> This is normally done by the WMF/FDC staff, not by the FDC itself. It's a
> separate document from the recommendations that the FDC makes each round.
> None of the role of the FDC itself has been delegated here.

Well, no, I'm not misunderstanding.  If a staff assessment is needed, then
it needs to be done by staff.  The FDC doesn't have the authority to
delegate that, either.

> > particularly when there are obvious conflicts of
> > interest involved.  The lack of recognition of that conflict of interest
> on
> > the part of the FDC is a very serious matter, and raises doubts about the
> > impartiality of the FDC as a whole.
> In my personal opinion, WMDE has no more a COI here than the WMF/FDC staff
> has when they do the staff assessments of the other FDC applications.
> Remember that WMDE/WMF aren't in direct competition for money from the same
> pot here.

There's no money involved in this proposal, in case you haven't noticed.
Your job isn't programmatic review, and you should have rejected the
request.  If you can't do it right, don't do it at all, and tell the WMF to
go to the community as a whole, or recommend to the Board that a completely
independent party do the programmatic review.  The amount of feedback that
is coming in for WMF proposals under the FDC is significantly reduced from
what happened when they went to the community.

WMDE has stated it intends to review only two areas, one of which is an
area where there is significant WMF/WMDE interface and historical
friction.  If they can't do the whole job, then the assessment will be of
little value, as the staff assessments balance all aspects of proposals
against each other.  And really, it's unreasonable to expect another
organization to take on a very time-consuming and technical process for
which they have no experience and expect them to do so without payment -
but the FDC doesn't have authority to spend money in that way.

> > It's all well and good for your
> > members to step out of the room while discussing certain applications,
> but
> > with 4 of 9 FDC members being directly affiliated with supplicant groups,
> > your standards for avoidance of conflict of interest need to be
> > significantly stronger.  There was good reason for concern that the FDC
> is
> > becoming a self-dealing group without this delegation of responsibility.
> I think you're going off on a tangent here, and I don't think there's a
> big problem with how things are working at the moment with COI handling on
> the FDC, but I'd be interested to know how you'd strengthen this?
I can accept that perhaps 2 seats be reserved for appointees from
supplicant groups, and that all other members be unaffiliated to any group
that meets the baseline requirements for requesting FDC funding  *even if
their affiliate does not request funds*.   If supplicant groups  are one
seat short of a majority, it seriously affects the ability of the committee
to consider big-picture issues from a non-affiliated perspective; remember
that the overwhelming majority of people active in the Wikimedia movement
are unaffiliated with anything outside of editing a few specific projects.

With the Board's resolution restricting the total value of FDC grants in
the coming two years, and the proposals being made by affiliates routinely
seeking increases in funding that very significantly outstrips the
limitations set by the Board, the FDC will very soon be in a position where
they are not just assessing proposals on their own merits.  In the near
future, the FDC is going to have to say "no" to full funding of good
proposals because the total cost of good projects is higher than the pool
of funds the FDC has to dispense; the FDC will have to weigh proposals
against each other, so that any member who has a conflict of interest for
*one* proposal will have a conflict of interest for *all* proposals they
are considering within a round (and possibly within a fiscal year).

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