Tinu, respectfully, your argument for inability to segregate roles does not
hold water.

In the mean, cold harsh world of legalese, things like demarcation of
roles, disclosures, incompatibility of holding conflicting appointments,
having code of ethics are all normal and these instruments in fact are
found inadequate and there is now clamour for more oversight not less.

We have to have a code of ethics for the WMF employee - they must remain
true to their salt to the organisation which pays them. While it is nice
that good people like Shiju are always as helpful as they were as community
volunteers, the simple fact is that there has been a change of role. We see
them as paid employees which is a fact. We do not mean that as a derogatory
term but that is what they chose to be - paid. So volunteer activities must
only be done in a way that does not conflict with their employer. There is
a great obligation for them to do this. They cannot and should not act as
community because it means the setting up of COI with their employer. They
owe it to their employer. They cannot hunt with the hare and run with the
hounds all at once.

The chapter has volunteer teams - like communication etc. I'm sure it is
okay and desirable for Noopur, Shiju etc to be part of them and assuming
good faith, I'm sure they are not intending any wrong thing. But COI can
easily arise if one is not painstakingly correct and careful. For that
reason, I suggest that the WMF employees on any team be demarcated as
WMF-IP representatives - so that there is a clear-cut understanding of who
is a volunteer and who is not and those who are not volunteers are expected
to be suitably circumspect in their participation when policy is sought to
formed by discussion in the community - that is the price they have to pay
for choosing a paid job from WMF.

The way I see it, some people say Chapter is independent from WMF but that
can only happen if their funding is independent. Whoever pays the piper
chooses the tune. WMF is gracious not to interfere much with Chapter, I
assume they are not interfering at all, but that is because of their
goodness or choice. Should WMF become dictatorial, Chapter has to kowtow or
face the consequences. So like it or not, chapter/WMF are related
organisations which are in the same field with objectives of their own. COI
will arise, you cant prevent it, only resolve it in good ways by having
good policy, good communication and sensible interaction.

We have enough "turbulence" in the system already. Questions like cost
effectiveness of WMF driven activities as compared to that of volunteer led
activities are taken as personal attacks by one side and as righteous
crusades by the other. IEP 2 will soon be open us - heaven forbid! The
Global South program is just gaining momentum and the amount of attention,
money, effort being put into India programs is going to increase not
reduce. The coming about of the Trust is going to complicate issues - I
cant even think how to handle that time-bomb! At the same time, the demand
is growing; more editors are volunteering. Each Wikipedia is inflating,
some explosively, others with bits and spurts,some are sill-born.

In such a backdrop, more prudence and probity are the need of the hour.
More transparency, not more laissez faire. More care, not more "chalta hai".

We have to make it our business to be above board in whatever we do. Imho
COI is by far the easiest to solve - there are greater challenges out there
for us to tackle  - things which really matter, like the hundreds of
thousands of school children waiting for Offline Wikipedia for Indian
Schools!

Warm regards,

Ashwin Baindur
------------------------------------------------------


On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 4:38 PM, CherianTinu Abraham
<tinucher...@gmail.com>wrote:

> And to add
>
> "That is why they have two accounts and rather large disclaimers on their
> user pages, demarcating this very difference".
>
> This is only possible in virtual worlds, while editing Wikipedia or
> writing mails. Not in real life work !
>
> I cannot have one face or voice when I am acting as board member of the
> chapter and another when I am helping the community. Many of us, live and
> breathe Wikimedia, making it difficult to separate on which capacity each
> of our action is.
>
> You are a long time community member, you were working as Wikimedia
> Foundation paid contractor for some time, does that mean all the volunteer
> work you would have done before/after or during being a full time and paid
> staff of Foundation cease to have any value ?
>
> -TC
>
>
>
>
> On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 4:14 PM, CherianTinu Abraham <tinucher...@gmail.com
> > wrote:
>
>> If it matters, if you have read the MoA or the Chapters agreement of the
>> Wikimedia India Chapter or most of the chapters, the Foundation and
>> Chapters are independent organizations. Wikimedia Foundation is NOT a
>> parent organization of the Wikimedia India Chapter.
>>
>> IMHO, It would be only a conflict of interest if I am both a paid
>> employee of the chapter and also a board member of the chapter as well.
>>
>> The bigger problem is we have lots of work to do, very very little hands
>> and too many arm chair advisers. Period.
>>
>> -TC
>>
>> On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 3:59 PM, Theo10011 <de10...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 3:37 PM, CherianTinu Abraham <
>>> tinucher...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>>
>>>> Everyone is encouraged to volunteer for the chapter , regardless of
>>>> what his or her day job is. There is nothing that prevents even a
>>>> foundation staff or contractor even being the board member of the chapter ,
>>>> less alone any volunteer or member.  There are several Wikimedia chapters
>>>> in the world who has paid and full time staff working for them. The
>>>> Secretary ( volunteer) of the Dutch chapter is also a Foundation Full time
>>>> Contractor.
>>>>
>>>> Hope that clarifies
>>>
>>>
>>> I'm not sure what you are talking about above.
>>>
>>> The issue with Siebrand is a conflict of interest, as far as I know,
>>> they should/would have declared it to their members. Laws in several
>>> countries dictate that board of non-profit can not be paid employees of
>>> their own or parent organizations. Several chapter board members usually
>>> resign to take up employee position. It used to be that they had to resign
>>> to take up any position as staff, but contractor is a relatively new
>>> feature with confusing legality, but there are still individuals who see
>>> the distinction and resign or declare their conflicts upfront. Board
>>> members by definition can not be paid employees, this is not my distinction
>>> but a legal one. Something I believe all WIkimedia organizations should
>>> adhere to.
>>>
>>> I believe Ashwin explained it much better than I could. If we can
>>> demarcate what role someone does something as, it would help a lot. The
>>> community staff at WMF usually keep 2 accounts to demarcate this clearly,
>>> on wiki.
>>>
>>> It might not be "practically separate whether  we does something as a
>>> volunteer...." the distinction is actually quite simple. One that en.wp,
>>> staff and majority of the community holds- paid vs. non-paid. What one does
>>> as an employee is separate from what one does as an employee. That is why
>>> they have two accounts and rather large disclaimers on their user pages,
>>> demarcating this very difference.
>>>
>>> Regards
>>> Theo
>>>
>>> P.S. @achal lol
>>>
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>>>
>>>
>>
>
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