Hi Yohann, Thanks for the comments that you have made as spokesperson of the Wikimedia India Chapter. I was away from the Internet - trekking in the Eastern Ghats - and of course at my own cost. A number of images will go into Commons as I process them. That might perhaps help the proposers of the project understand that we are kindred souls.
I have responded in detail to the comments you have made with a little more context for outsiders - non-Chapter members and non-Indians. I know that we are all doing a thankless job of volunteering but we can make it better if we can discuss this properly and without the actual delineation between Chapter members and non-members stakeholders. My responses with formatting are at https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants_talk:PEG/Sujay25/Wikipedia_Treks_Kalindi_Khal#Responses_-_questions_on_policy_and_process_followed best wishes Shyamal Here is the text of the response I have posted at meta: In the absence of policy statements, this looks too much like an ad-hoc discretionary decision of the executive committee of the Wikimedia India Chapter. Most of us who are early adopters of the Wikimedia Movement have appreciated the culture of the Wikimedia Movement where policies and guidelines are evolved through bottom-up consultation, consensus, and decision making where required by elected representatives. These processes stand in contrast to many colonial and authoritarian systems that are accepted and in use in India. Explicit formulation of Chapter role and philosophy. The aims of the Foundation are associated with knowledge which really is infinite and unbounded. The activities of the Foundation and the Chapter do however have practical limitations and the scope needs to be defined, re-evaluated and evolved over time. The role of the Chapter is broadly to support activities within the Indian political and geographical region that are in line with the aims of the Wikimedia Foundation. The Chapter adds value to the Foundation by being aware and sensitive to the specific context of the region and its range of languages. The Wikimedia India Chapter is registered as a Society under the Indian legal framework. This means that it has a set of executives who are elected by members. The Society is the legal model used by a number of "clubs". Clubs are formed for the benefit of a group of individuals who form it. The executives are voted according to the benefits accorded to the members. Dissent, criticism of the system and insubordination by members is normally not acceptable. The philosophy of the Wikimedia Foundation is something far removed from this kind of a membership-oriented organization and aims to benefit all beyond members. What this implies is that the Chapter cannot merely use the legal framework required under Indian law to guide its functioning but needs to formulate an extended philosophical guide. Considering that the elected members keep changing, this constitution/guide/policy/philosophy document needs to be clear, explicit, open, transparent and evolved by consensus (and because the benefits are not supposed to be merely for members, the need for openness to the involvement of all possible stakeholders cannot be be considered optional). I have not seen such a document nor have any philosophical principles been stated in the statements made by the spokesperson(s) chosen by the Chapter. To be fair, this has been the operation mode even in the past and is not the fault of the current spokesperson (Yohann) and my comments are not to be taken personally. The very personal and emotional response from an elected member writing on behalf of the Chapter and all its members is somewhat unexpected. Explicit policy on paid and borderline paid-activities The conflict and delineation of activities as volunteer and paid professional activities is something that is a constant one and will always be a grey area. Whether the Chapters should also have the same delineations as the Foundation are unclear. By and large the idea of volunteer contribution in the Wiki[p|m]edia Movement (or indeed many forms of crowdsourcing / citizen science) had worked because of the lowered cost involved in bringing together the work of people in distributed geographies and times with varying skills. The idea of funding travel to aid photography or to produce travelogues for Wikivoyage or content for Wikipedia is therefore an area of conflict. The specific idea that a self-selected group of people from Kolkata should travel about 1300 km west to the Garhwal region to document the Himalayas because of a supposed gap in knowledge a whole slew of questions. To support or to not support them without a clear policy statement would be unjust simply because a very large number of us do incur expenditure on various things that are part of our interest. We however would like to see more people to benefit from our interest and expertise. - Should we cover the expenses involved in following our interests or work in our area of expertise? If so, what are the criteria? Have a uniform set of criteria been applied for all cases so far and to cover potential cases in future? Evolving a policy that is applied uniformly for all applicants and not neccessarily in this specific instance would be what is called "just" or "fair". Not following an explicit policy would be "unfair" - hope that answer a question raised. S pecific questions to be answered based on guiding criteria that are explicitly documented by the Chapter - Has the supposed gap in knowledge of the Himalayas been discussed? - Assuming that the gap is indeed real, have solutions to filling that gap been brainstormed? - Is the trek by a very specific self-selected team to a part of the Himalayas quite far from their home area appropriate for a pilot project? - Are the claims to expertise made by the self-selected team verified? How was it verified? - Does the activity build long-term partnerships with expert-organizations or special interest groups? - Does the activity build community? - Does the activity have potential for spinoffs? - Is the activity sustainable? - Does it involve local stakeholders? - Does it involve the relevant and established special-interest-groups associated with the field? - Has the costing been verified? Are there alternatives? Can material be hired rather than bought? How would the criteria hold if applied to a series of fictional applications that follow - Member X claims that research is a bottleneck. Wants to build up a library of books relevant to a field so that X can edit content on that area. Would WMIN+PEG support such a funding requirement or would WMIN help tie up with a relevant library or organization dealing with that field? - Member X claims that Wikivoyage does not have details on how to visit a specific location. X would like to be funded so as to backpack this remote region and find out how to visit, travel and explore this region. Would WMIN+PEG support this? - Member X lacks a good enough camera and seeks funds to buy a new SLR kit. What criteria would WMIN+WMF use to support this? [Note that this is not fictional and actually had an Indian commons contributor going through a crowdfunding approach to achieve this <https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-macro-lens-to-record-the-biodiversity-in-kerala#/story> - Member X notes that Wikipedia has a size bias and does not cover vital microscopic subjects related to India. X is an expert on a field that looks at miscroscopic objects needs to acquire a tabletop electron microscope so that extremely difficult to obtain images of microscopic subjects. Would WMIN+WMF fund this or will it be preferred to enable a tie-up with an organization that is willing to give time at the instrument? - Member X claims to be one of very few experts on topic Y which is not having sufficient coverage on Wikipedia. X would like to conduct research and contribute content if funded. How would WMIN+WMF examine the expertise claim? - Member X claims to belong to a very rare and vanishing ethnic group and would like to document life within the group if funded for various technical means for it. Should this be within the scope of WMIN/WMF? - Member X claims to belong to a very closed religious faith about which Wikipedia has no information or is claimed to have biased information. X demonstrates the ability to work where no-one else would be allowed and would like to be funded to conduct video interviews and other forms of documentation. Is this within the scope of WMIN/WMF? On Fri, Sep 4, 2015 at 1:06 PM, Yohann Thomas <yohan...@gmail.com> wrote: > Hi Shyamal > > Sorry for the late reply, I was purposely waiting one week , to reply to > your questions. > I have replied to your objections on the PEG page. Hope they should > suffice. > I ll be replying to some doubts which were not on the PEG page but you > have included in the email > > " It is about whether WMIN can open up the organization to ideas from > outside, to not behave as a club but be an ennabling organization with > everyone being as useful as a member.." > > Have we ever denied or rejected any idea from outside. We welcome all > suggestions & try our best to include them in our plan. > WMIN members have a definite right in the say of each & every step of the > chapter. If they see that the EC is doing something wrong or disapprove of > our actions, the members can always pick this issue on our WMIN mailing > list. > > I would again invite you to be a member of the chapter & when you join, > you can start discussions on which projects WMIN should endorse !! > > Thanks > Yohann Thomas > > >
_______________________________________________ Wikimediaindia-l mailing list Wikimediaindiaemail@example.com To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaindia-l