I'm going to respond to both Chris and Gerard in one email.

Gerard:

* I agree that it's possible to over-bureaucratize projects, including
small projects. This is one of the reasons that I think that performance
analysis should mostly be done with staff or contractor time rather than
volunteer time. I don't want small projects to get exempted from
accountability, but I also don't want small projects to be weighed down
with unreasonable administrative overhead.

* I agree that WMF Community Resources has room for improvement. I may have
accidentally implied that I think that WMF always does things well and
always makes good decisions. I too have had experiences of WMF Community
Resources staff taking far too long to respond to inquiries. However, WMF
has the money for grants for Wikimedia activities, and there are few
alternatives to WMF for financial support of Wikimedia affiliate and
individual projects. If WMF Community Resources' level of responsiveness is
going to improve then WMF will need to choose to make changes.

Chris:

* I make a distinction between the formation of a user group, and that user
group running programs. If a user group runs a single small program, and
correspondingly has little money, then there should be little to report. A
user group which runs multiple programs and is handling many thousands of
dollars' worth of funds will have more extensive reporting requirements. I
think that staff or contractors should complete most of the reporting and
analysis so that volunteers are not burdened with that work. I would like
volunteers to be able to focus on mission, on the creation and execution of
programs, on developing supportive relationships, and on the strategic
decision-making for their user group, rather than spending significant time
and effort on administrative activities like writing reports.

* I don't see a way to get out of having multiple reporting systems, such
as for national tax authorities and for grantmakers such as WMF. Many
charities deal with this. I think that most of the reporting work can be
done with staff or contractor time rather than volunteer time.

* Regarding "There is no consensus around what metrics actually matter.
Global Metrics were only ever presented as a first draft of an answer, and
for many projects they are simply poor metrics. The movement's focus for
the last 3-4 years has been on movement entities developing their own
metrics that are relevant to their own activities. Standardising on naive
metrics would be a step backwards.", I partly agree and partly disagree. I
think that we should have ways to compare performance of programs
affiliates, so that everyone can learn which affiliates and programs tend
to be especially good or problematic. Over time, as affiliates learn from
each other, ideally this should lead to more efficient uses of resources,
and to more effective programs and affiliates. Having common metrics goes a
long way toward determining which practices are most effective and which
should be changed or discontinued. I agree that custom metrics may in
various cases be good to have in addition to Global Metrics. Maybe a way to
think about this is that Global Metrics are necessary but not always
sufficient.

* I have very mixed feelings about WMF and Affcom issuing edicts to
affiliates. I want affiliates and WMF to make good use of money and
volunteers' time. For better and for worse WMF owns the trademarks and is
the most significant source of funds for Wikimedia affiliates. Also, Affcom
currently sets the reporting requirements for affiliates' annual reports.
So WMF and Affcom have significant ability to use their authorities for
good purposes. In the longer term, I would like to see more peer leadership
from affiliates and less reliance on WMF for both grantmaking and
trademarks. Perhaps in the course of the strategy work there will be some
good developments. But I don't think that the ongoing development of
long-term strategy is a reason to wait to require standardized financial
and performance information in affiliates' annual reports, or to wait to
provide staff or contractor time to produce and analyze financial and
performance information. Ideally, affiliates and WMF will both benefit from
these enhanced requirements by using the information to make decisions
about what types of programs to run, so that volunteers make good use of
their time and so that everyone makes good use of funds. In my unpaid
capacity, one of the most demoralizing and frustrating experiences that I
have is my time being wasted, which has happened on too many occasions. I
am hoping that the actions that I am proposing here will lead to improved
effectiveness of volunteers' time, and more effective use of WMF and
affiliate financial resources.

Pine
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
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