Keeping this post in mind, the idea of Rs 110 Lakh budget for the
Chapter really raises a lot of disquiet in my mind.

Frankly, imho budget growth should be organic, not catastrophic. The
items proposed for expenditure should be discussed amongst the
community and explicit support got for this. Plus last year's budget
details & what they were planned for & how  many objectives were met
needs to be clear to the public.


On Sun, Oct 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM, Anirudh Bhati <> wrote:
> Mashable:  Where Do Wikipedia Donations Go? Outgoing Chief Warns of
> Corruption
> When Wikipedia decided to roll out an aggressive fundraising effort a few
> years ago, the free encyclopedia came with a remarkably effective battle
> plan. For the entirety of the campaign, co-founder Jimmy Wales stared
> visitors down from the top of every page, making you feel guilty every time
> you viewed an article without paying a dime.
> It worked. From 2011 to 2012, Wikipedia's fundraising arm, the Wikimedia
> Foundation, pulled in $38.4 million. It was a major increase from the $5
> million raised from 2007 to 2008, one that occurred even as editorial
> involvement with Wikipedia was on the decline.
> But where does all this money go?
> In an unusually candid statement last month, outgoing Wikimedia Foundation
> Chair Sue Gardner criticized the way her organization has doled out funds.
> Too much is being spent on groups that do too little to enhance the value of
> the encyclopedia itself, she argued. What's worse, many of those being
> awarded grants are the same people responsible for giving them out, which
> Gardner warned could lead to "log-rolling, self-dealing and other corrupt
> practices."
> Though not in charge of Wikipedia's content, the Wikimedia Foundation, or
> WMF, is the most powerful promoter of the open-source encyclopedia. It
> manages the technical infrastructure and day-to-day business operations of
> Wikipedia — one of the most-visited sites in the world.
> WMF is based in San Francisco, but more than 40 independent-chapter
> Wikimedia organizations exist around the world, ostensibly advancing the
> foundation's agenda in their native regions. These chapters are the biggest
> recipients of Wikimedia grant funding. But according to Gardner, it's not
> clear how filling the coffers of the chapter organizations benefits the site
> as a whole.
> Last year, the Funds Dissemination Committee gave out $5.65 million in
> grants, the lion's share of which — 89% — went to affiliate chapters. And 12
> chapters in particular received 83% of the total grants.
> "I believe that currently, too large a proportion of the movement's money is
> being spent by the chapters," Gardner, who has largely been responsible for
> the foundation's transition into a fundraising behemoth, wrote in response
> to the FDC's latest report.
> "The value in the Wikimedia projects is primarily created by individual
> editors: individuals create the value for readers, which results in those
> readers donating money to the movement."
> In an email to the Daily Dot, Gardner noted that these opinions were "not
> new, nor are they unique to" her.
> Indeed, Gardner's statement echoed the criticism of a number of prominent
> Wikipedia editors and critics in recent years. The concern is that all this
> funding has done less to help the site than it has to create a "professional
> bureaucratic class” surrounding the Wikipedia project,” as the Register’s
> Andrew Orlowski put it. Orlowski points out that the foundation’s staff grew
> from three full-timers in 2006 to 174 in 2012-13.
> Gardner herself notes that there are very few members on the FDC who aren't
> also chapter members. In fact, the majority of the committee's members are
> either former or current chapter board members.
> The coziness that exists between the FDC and chapter board members calls up
> memories of past chapter improprieties. In 2012, a former chapter board
> member was accused of using his position within the organization to promote
> Gibraltar on the site. At the same time, he served on the Gibraltar
> government payroll as a PR consultant.
> Though Gardner believes the FDC is uniquely transparent and that its members
> are capable of acting without self-interest, others aren't quite so
> convinced.
> One critic, Gregory Kohs, co-founder of the muckraking site Wikipediocracy,
> describes the foundation’s appetite for expansion as “empire building.” He
> argues that the work of a nearly 200-member Wikimedia staff could easily be
> done by a workforce a fraction of the size.
> But it's not just the longtime critics. Many everyday Wikipedians are
> concerned about whether WMF still exists to serve Wikipedia, or vice versa.
> Conflicts of interest are a major area of concern throughout Wikipedia
> culture, and editors like Tango say they are unavoidable with so much money
> involved.
> "'Assume Good Faith' is a great policy when writing an collaborative
> encyclopaedia," Tango writes, referring to a fundamental principle on
> Wikipedia whereby editors are encouraged to assume all contributions to the
> encyclopedia are done with good intent. "It's not so simple when you are
> dealing with [$11 million]."
> But others are less concerned about corruption and more worried about how
> chapters actually spend all that money. Andreas Kolbe, an active Wikipedian
> and Wikipediocracy moderator, says many of the chapters have a propensity
> for spending on projects intended to bring publicity rather than genuinely
> enhancing the site.
> "I see little evidence of a customer (i.e. reader) focus in chapters'
> spending decisions," Kolbe wrote.
> Despite those frank statements on Wikimedia and the FDC, Gardner heaps lots
> of praise on the organization she's leaving. She insists the WMF is
> adaptable and that, with the right changes, it can shift funding priorities.
> One way to do that is to make the FDC more diverse. And Grant seekers,
> Gardner said, "should need to be able to say clearly how their plan will
> make an important contribution to helping Wikimedia movement achieve its
> mission."
> At any rate, Gardner plans to step down soon. Will her successor heed her
> advice?
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Warm regards,

Ashwin Baindur

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