Re: [Wikimedia-l] Funding the endowment

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Funding the endowment

Jonathan Cardy
I haven't taken part in discussions about the endowment for several
years, not least because the argument appears to have been won and an
endowment is being established. But if things have changed so much
that people are arguing that there is a choice between long-term
stability and short-term content contribution, then perhaps it is time
that I restated two of the arguments for an endowment.

For some of us who volunteer our time for these projects long term
stability or at least survival of content is itself a motivation. I
have put tens of hours of my time into sites that have sputtered and
then died. I have put far far more time into Wikimedia sites, and part
of my motivation is that my small contributions are part of something
much bigger that will probably help people for a long long time to
come.

There is also an important incentive re short term contributions from
digital curators in the GLAM sector. One of the positives that we
offer our GLAM partners is the increased probability that their
digitisation will persist and still be available for the foreseeable
future if they upload a copy on commons. An endowment increases the
credibility of that offer. What I'd like to see coming from the WMF re
the endowment is communication as to when the endowment has reached
the point where the WMF can commit to hosting Wikimedia Commons for
the foreseeable future. Ideally both as a blogpost for external
audiences and a contribution to the GLAM newsletter for internal
audiences.

Regards

Jonathan / WereSpielChequers


> On 23 Aug 2017, at 07:44, [hidden email] wrote:
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> Today's Topics:
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>   1. Re: RFC on wikimedia-l posting limits (Alessandro Marchetti)
>   2. t (Rogol Domedonfors)
> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2017 07:25:23 +0100
> From: Rogol Domedonfors <[hidden email]>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Funding the endowment
> Message-ID:
>    <CAN5-TAymNh_S76QOqLpB60j9BrxKtbgmo=[hidden email]>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
>
> James
>
> Certainly.  When the probability of last year's fundraising effort
> generating more income than had been expected emerged, there was a
> discussion here about how that "surplus" might be used.  There were some
> suggestions for using it to directly assist the members of the volunteer
> community in their work of contributing content -- such as funding books,
> on- and off-line library subscriptions, for the content contributors -- or
> improving the contributing environment -- such as hiring more devs for
> community tech projects -- or building the community -- such as extra
> funding for community events.  That money, once gone, would be gone
> forever, and there is the risk that further donations would not be
> forthcoming at the same rate.  The alternative, which was adopted, was to
> give it to the Endowment to generate a permanent income which might be used
> to fund such acitivities in the future.  That money once in the Endowment
> is, presumably, always in the Endowment, and the income can be relied on to
> a reasonable extent.
>
> The Board has chosen to favour long-term stability over short-term content
> contribution.  That is clearly their prerogative, but it is a choice, and a
> choice that affects the community her and now.  It seems reasonable to ask
> the Board to explain to the community, who provide the content, and whose
> work sustains the entire mission, and which ultimately motivates people to
> make such generous donations, why, given that opportunity, they did not see
> it as so important to give them more in the way of direct help in
> contributing that content and building that community.
>
> Rod
>
> On Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 11:31 PM, Joseph Seddon <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
>> Rogol I don't understanding how you have interpreted this as a choice
>> between community and stability.
>>
>> Could you explain?
>>
>> Seddon
>>
>> On Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 9:08 PM, Rogol Domedonfors <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Lisa
>>>
>>> Thanks anyway.  Perhaps one of the members of the Board will comment, in
>>> the interests of transparency.
>>>
>>> Ronald
>>>
>>> On Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 8:57 PM, Lisa Gruwell <[hidden email]>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Sorry, I wasn't at the meeting, so I can't speak to that.
>>>>
>>>> On Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 12:09 PM, Rogol Domedonfors <
>>> [hidden email]
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Lisa
>>>>>
>>>>> Thanks for that explanation.  If it had already been decided to
>>>> contribute
>>>>> the $5M to the Endowment before the offer of matching funds, then
>> there
>>>>> would be no appearance of the offer influencing the Board's decision.
>>>> Can
>>>>> you confirm that was the case?  But the main point of my question to
>>> the
>>>>> Board is to ask why they decided that placing this large sum into the
>>>>> Endowment was more important than using it to support the work of the
>>>>> volunteer community (whether or not the offer of matching funds was
>>> part
>>>> of
>>>>> that decision) directly.  Can you throw any light on their reasons?
>>>>>
>>>>> Rudyard
>>>>>
>>>>> On Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 6:38 PM, Lisa Gruwell <
>> [hidden email]>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Just jumping in with a few points of information regarding the
>>>> Endowment:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> 1) I met with Lukas at Wikimania regarding SRI and the endowment.
>> As
>>>>> James
>>>>>> indicated, the endowment is invested through the Tides Foundation
>> and
>>>>> this
>>>>>> is one of the areas of expertise.  We have been looking at
>>>> environmental,
>>>>>> social, and governance (ESG) ratings as well as how funds perform
>>>> against
>>>>>> the benchmarks financially.  We are going to be publishing more
>>>>> information
>>>>>> about this soon.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> 2) Regarding the matching grant, this funder has made large grants
>> to
>>>> the
>>>>>> Wikimedia Foundation for general support for our annual work for
>>>> almost a
>>>>>> decade.  They have also now provided major support to the
>> endowment.
>>>>> They
>>>>>> have provided generous support for our present work and our future
>>>> work.
>>>>>> It is positive thing that this grant was positioned as a matching
>>>> grant.
>>>>>> It doubles the impact of a portion of the contributions that our
>>> online
>>>>>> donors made this year.  It is a great story that we are sharing
>> with
>>>>> other
>>>>>> potential endowment donors.  We are hoping to find another major
>>> donor
>>>>> (or
>>>>>> donors) that will match the $5 million for the endowment that is in
>>> the
>>>>> FY
>>>>>> 2017-18 annual plan as well.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Best,
>>>>>> Lisa
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 9:15 AM, James Heilman <[hidden email]>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I have been send further details. As expected Tides (who runs our
>>>>>>> endowment) has a strong philosophy around social justice.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> https://www.tides.org/
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> James
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> On Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 11:01 AM, Cristian Consonni <
>>>>> [hidden email]>
>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> On 22/08/2017 17:03, James Heilman wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Andrea I agree completely that movement monies should be
>>> invested
>>>>>>> inline
>>>>>>>>> with our values. We should not be invested in stuff that
>>> promotes
>>>>> war
>>>>>>> or
>>>>>>>>> surveillance for example. I would image this is currently the
>>>> case
>>>>>> but
>>>>>>>>> would have to verify.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> I wholeheartedly agree with Andrea.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> C
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>> James Heilman
>>>>>>> MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
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>>
>> --
>> Seddon
>>
>> *Advancement Associate (Community Engagement)*
>> *Wikimedia Foundation*
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>
> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2017 23:44:55 -0700
> From: George Herbert <[hidden email]>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] RFC on wikimedia-l posting limits
> Message-ID: <[hidden email]>
> Content-Type: text/plain;    charset=utf-8
>
> The 15 limit is busted regularly by normal active posters.  I disagree with that one.
>
> George William Herbert
> Sent from my iPhone
>
>> On Aug 22, 2017, at 9:03 PM, John Mark Vandenberg <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Hi list members,
>>
>> The list admins (hereafter 'we', being Austin, Asaf, Shani and I, your
>> humble narrator) regularly receive complaints about the frequent
>> posters on this list, as well as about the unpleasant atmosphere some
>> posters (some of them frequent) create.
>>
>> It is natural that frequent posters will say specific things that more
>> frequently annoy other list members, but often the complaints are due
>> to the volume of messages rather than the content of the messages.
>>
>> We are floating some suggestions aimed specifically at reducing the
>> volume, hopefully motivating frequent posters to self-moderate more,
>> but these proposed limits are actually intending to increasing the
>> quality of the discourse without heavy subjective moderation.
>>
>> The first proposal impacts all posters to this list, and the last
>> three proposals are aimed at providing a more clear framework within
>> which criticism and whistle-blowing are permitted, but that critics
>> are prevented from drowning out other discussions. The bandwidth that
>> will be given to critics should be established in advance, reducing
>> need to use subjective moderation of the content when a limit to the
>> volume will often achieve the same result.
>> --
>>
>> Proposal #1: Monthly 'soft quota' reduced from 30 to 15
>>
>> The existing soft quota of 30 posts per person has practically never
>> been exceeded in the past year, and yet many list subscribers still
>> clearly feel that a few individuals overwhelm the list. This suggests
>> the current quota is too high.
>>
>> A review of the stats at
>> https://stats.wikimedia.org/mail-lists/wikimedia-l.html show very few
>> people go over 15 in a month, and quite often the reason for people
>> exceeding 15 per month is because they are replying to other list
>> members who have already exceeded 15 per month, and sometimes they are
>> repeatedly directly or indirectly asking the person to stop repeating
>> themselves to allow some space for other list members also have their
>> opinion heard.
>> --
>>
>> Proposal #2: Posts by globally banned people not permitted
>>
>> As WMF-banned people are already banned from mailing lists, this
>> proposal is to apply the same ‘global’ approach to any people who have
>> been globally banned by the community according to the
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Global_bans policy.
>>
>> This proposal does not prevent proxying, or canvassing, or “meat
>> puppetry” as defined by English Wikipedia policy.  The list admins
>> would prefer that globally banned people communicate their grievances
>> via established members of our community who can guide them, rather
>> than the list admins initially guiding these globally banned people on
>> how to revise their posts so they are suitable for this audience, and
>> then required to block them when they do not follow advice.  The role
>> of list moderators is clearer and simpler if we are only patrolling
>> the boundaries and not repeatedly personally engaged with helping
>> globally banned users.
>> --
>>
>> Proposal #3: Identity of an account locked / blocked / banned by two
>> Wikimedia communities limited to five (5) posts per month
>>
>> This proposal is intended to strike a balance between openness and
>> quality of discourse.
>>
>> Banned people occasionally use the wikimedia-l mailing list as a
>> substitute of the meta Request for comment system, and banned people
>> also occasionally provide constructive criticisms and thought
>> provoking views.  This proposal hopes to allow that to continue.
>>
>> However people who have been banned on a few projects also use this
>> list as their “last stand”, having already exhausted the community
>> patience on the wikis.  Sometimes the last stand is brief, but
>> occasionally a banned person is able to maintain sufficient decorum
>> that they are not moderated or banned from the list, and mailing list
>> readers need to suffer month after month of the banned person
>> dominating the mailing lists with time that they would previously have
>> spent editing on the wikis.
>> --
>>
>> Proposal #4: Undisclosed alternative identities limited to five (5)
>> posts per month
>>
>> Posting using fake identities allows people to shield their real life
>> *and* their Wikimedia editing 'account' from the repercussions of
>> their actions. This provision to allow fake identities on wikimedia-l
>> is necessary for whistle-blowing, and this mailing list has been used
>> for that purpose at important junctures in the history of the
>> Wikimedia movement.
>>
>> However it is more frequently abused, especially by some ‘critics’ who
>> have used incessant hyperbole and snark and baiting to generally cause
>> stress to many readers. Sometimes this is also accompanied with many
>> list posts on various unrelated threads as the ‘critic’ believes their
>> criticism is so important that all other discussions about Wikimedia
>> should be diverted until their problem has been resolved to their
>> satisfaction, which is unlikely anyway.
>>
>> Note this explicitly does not include anyone posting using their real
>> world identity, whether or not they have a Wikimedia account.
>>
>> Where a poster does not clearly link to either Wikimedia account, or
>> does not appear to be using a real identity, and only after it is
>> exceeding the five post limit, the list admins will privately ask the
>> poster to either verify their identity or stop posting until the end
>> of the month.  Very frequently a whistle-blower is able and even
>> prefers to be documenting the problem on meta, but needs the high
>> profile of this list to spark the discussion and draw attention to
>> their meta page.
>>
>>
>> ---
>>
>> The five post allowance for proposals 3 and 4 are to ensure that
>> anyone who has not been globally banned can post criticisms without
>> repercussions, which is vital for whistleblowing and  transparency
>> generally, but they need to use their five posts per month wisely.
>> Once they have used their five posts, community members can reply with
>> less concern about being drawn into a direct argument with the poster.
>> It aims to force the poster to listen to others in the community once
>> their limit of five posts has been reached.
>>
>> If there is support for these proposals, the list admins would not
>> immediately add moderation or bans, but would implement them as
>> needed, when we notice someone has exceeded one of these limits, and
>> we would make a note on a meta page where the community can review
>> these actions without allowing moderation meta-discussion to dominate
>> the discourse on the mailing list. Refinements to the list moderation
>> limits can then occur organically as we see how these rules plays out
>> in practise.
>>
>>
>> The RFC is at https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_comment/wikimedia-l-post-limits
>>
>> However please also feel welcome to reply on-list if you wish to
>> express explicit support or opposition to any of the four proposals
>> above (please identify them by number, to ease counting).  We will
>> count votes (here and on the meta RFC) after two weeks, and post a
>> more refined final version back to this mailing list.
>>
>> The list administrators will default to *enacting* all four proposals,
>> but will refrain from enacting any proposal receiving more opposition
>> than support.
>>
>> --
>> John Vandenberg
>>
>> _______________________________________________
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>
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