[Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

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[Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Deryck Chan-2
Dear trusty Wikimedians,

The FDC decisions are out on Sunday. Despite my desperate attempts to
assist WMHK's board to keep up with deadlines and comply with seemingly
endless requests from WMF grantmaking and FDC support staff, we received an
overwhelmingly negative assessment which resulted in a complete rejection
of our FDC proposal.

At this point, I believe it's an appropriate time for me to announce my
resignation and retirement from all my official Wikimedia roles - as
Administrative Assistant and WCA Council Member of WMHK. I will carry out
my remaining duties as a member of Wikimania 2013 local team.

My experience with the FDC process, and the outcome of it, has convinced me
that my continued involvement will simply be a waste of my own time, and of
little benefit to WMHK and the Wikimedia movement as a whole.

My experience with the FDC process has confirmed my ultimate scepticism
about the WMF's direction of development. WMF has become so conservative
with its strategies and so led into "mainstream" charity bureaucracy that
it is no longer tending to the needs of the wider Wikimedia movement.

My experience with the FDC process has shown me that WMF is expecting fully
professional deliverables which require full-time professional staff to
deliver, from organisations run by volunteers who are running Wikimedia
chapters not because they're charity experts, but because they love
Wikimedia.

My experience with the FDC process has demonstrated to me that WMF is
totally willing to perpetuate the hen-and-egg problem of the lack of staff
manpower and watch promising initiatives dwindle into oblivion.

WMHK isn't even a new chapter. We've been incorporated and recognised by
WMF since 2007. Our hen-and-egg problem isn't new either. We've been vocal
about the fact that our volunteer force is exhausted, and can't do any
better without funding for paid staff and an office since 2010. Our request
for office funding was rejected. The year after, our request to become a
payment-processing chapter was rejected. The year after, we've got
Wikimania (perhaps because WMF fortunately doesn't have too much to do with
the bidding process), which gave us hope that we might finally be helped to
professionalise. But it came to nothing - this very week our FDC request
was rejected.

And the reason? Every time the response from WMF was, effectively, we
aren't good enough therefore we won't get help to do any better. We don't
have professional staff to help us comply with the endless and
ever-changing professional reporting criteria, therefore we can't be
trusted to hire the staff to do precisely that.

My dear friends and trusty Wikimedians, do you now understand the irony and
the frustration?

Wikimedia didn't start off as a traditional charity. It is precisely
because of how revolutionary our mission and culture are, that we as a
movement have reached where we are today. A few movement entities,
particularly the WMF, managed to expand and take on the skin of a much more
traditional charity. But most of us are still youthful Wikimedia
enthusiasts who are well-versed with Wikimedia culture, but not with
charity governance. Imposing a professional standard upon a movement entity
as a prerequisite of giving it help to professionalise, is like judging
toddlers by their full marathon times.

Is this what we want Wikimedia to become? To turn from a revolutionary idea
to a charity so conservative that it would rather perpetuate a
chicken-and-egg problem than support long-awaited growth? I threw in days
and days of effort in the last few years, often at the peril of my degree
studies, with the wishful thinking that one day the help will come to let
WMHK and all the other small but well-established chapters professionalise.

I was wrong.

With the FDC process hammering the final nail into my scepticism about
where WMF and the movement is heading, I figured that with a degree in
environmental engineering from Cambridge my life will be much better spent
helping other worthy causes than wasting days on Wikimedia administration
work only to have them go unappreciated time and time again.

But I feel that it is necessary for me to leave a parting message to my
fellow Wikimedians, a stern warning about where I see our movement heading.
I feel that we're losing our character and losing our appreciation for
volunteers, in particular the limitations of volunteer effort.

I leave you all with a final thought from Dan Pallotta: charitable efforts
will never grow if we continue to be so adverse about "overheads" and
staffing.
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong.html

With Wiki-Love,
Deryck

PS. I wish there was an appropriate private mailing list for me to send
this to. Unfortunately, most of the important WMF stakeholders aren't
subscribed to internal-l, and most veteran chapters folks know what I want
to say already. I just hope that trolls wouldn't blow this out of
proportion. Or perhaps I do want this to be blown out of proportion so that
my voice will actually be heard. Thanks for reading.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Fae-6
I am very sorry to read this Deryck. I know how completely committed you
are to our movement and you have my sincere respect.

I hope that those with influence carefully consider the issues you raise,
and take a moment for doubt and serious review.

Fae (mobile)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Erik Moeller-4
In reply to this post by Deryck Chan-2
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Nathan Awrich
Asking for money to do something you are passionate about, and being
subject to the scrutiny and criticism of your valued peers, was always
going to be a wrenching and soul-sucking process. This is a good time
to acknowledge that, and to think about how the FDC can make
volunteers more comfortable and reduce the stress and burden imposed
upon them.

That said... It seems to be an eminently legitimate point, that taking
a chapter from essentially no funding to US$200k in one year is a
massive leap that is both risky and unnecessary.  Maybe it would make
more sense to go from zero staff members to one, instead of three? Pay
on a contract basis for book-keeping and legal assistance, and hire a
program person to help coordinate volunteer programmatic efforts?

Perhaps what's needed from the FDC is better guidance in advance about
what the organic growth chart of chapter organizations should look
like, and what level of funding increases year to year can be expected
vs. what is out of bounds. We don't want volunteers to feel encouraged
to shoot for the moon, and then suffer when their dreams are
punctured. While predictably will accrue on its own over time and
experience, better guidance on what to expect might make those
experiences less painful for all involved.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Alex Peek
Honest hardworking non-profits deserve more taxpayer money. I am optimistic
that future generations figure this out


On 28 April 2013 16:42, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Asking for money to do something you are passionate about, and being
> subject to the scrutiny and criticism of your valued peers, was always
> going to be a wrenching and soul-sucking process. This is a good time
> to acknowledge that, and to think about how the FDC can make
> volunteers more comfortable and reduce the stress and burden imposed
> upon them.
>
> That said... It seems to be an eminently legitimate point, that taking
> a chapter from essentially no funding to US$200k in one year is a
> massive leap that is both risky and unnecessary.  Maybe it would make
> more sense to go from zero staff members to one, instead of three? Pay
> on a contract basis for book-keeping and legal assistance, and hire a
> program person to help coordinate volunteer programmatic efforts?
>
> Perhaps what's needed from the FDC is better guidance in advance about
> what the organic growth chart of chapter organizations should look
> like, and what level of funding increases year to year can be expected
> vs. what is out of bounds. We don't want volunteers to feel encouraged
> to shoot for the moon, and then suffer when their dreams are
> punctured. While predictably will accrue on its own over time and
> experience, better guidance on what to expect might make those
> experiences less painful for all involved.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Jeromy-Yu Chan (Jerry~Yuyu)
In reply to this post by Deryck Chan-2
Hi all

I am ACTUALLY PANIC when reading this.

Normally I would say please don't go,
but realizing myself I am not on the Local Chapter board already
and even myself start to feel don't know what to do next

And I am sorry to say, the decision had totally stir up the emotion of the
whole Wikimania Local Team
I frankly don't know whether if it will lead to a melt down of our
volunteer power
after frustrations of all these years as Deryck said, as I was on the Board
and knew most of the stories.

--
Jeromy-Yu Chan, Jerry
http://plasticnews.wf/
http://about.me/jeromyu
UID: Jeromyu
(on Facebook, Twitter, Plurk & most sites)

Tel (Mobile): +852 9279 1601
Οὔτε τι τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων ἄξιον ὂν μεγάλης σπουδῆς
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

MZMcBride-2
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
Erik Moeller wrote:
>As background, relevant links I was able to find regarding the WMHK
>funding discussions:
>
>[...]

Thanks for the links.

I took a look at the current FDC members list[1] and the decision-making
information[2] but I'm still a bit unclear how decisions like this[3] are
made. Is there a vote on each individual request (and subsequent
recommendation)? If so, is that vote public? Or is it a single
recommendation encompassing all requests for that round and members vote
on that? And if so, is that vote public?

From the round 2 recommendation[3] we find the following snippet of text.

"""
We are concerned about the general increase in staff hiring that has been
taking place over the last year, in particular where staff are performing
functions that volunteers have been leading. We encourage entities to
focus on balancing the work done by staff and volunteers in line with the
Wikimedia movement's ethos of volunteers leading work, and to focus on
having staff coordinate volunteer activities. We are also concerned about
the growth rates of both staff and budgets. We would ask entities to
consider whether their growth rates are sustainable in the long term, and
whether they are leading to the most impact possible.
"""

Is the FDC commenting on the Wikimedia chapters here or on the Wikimedia
Foundation (or both)? The scope of both the FDC and these comments is
unclear to me.

MZMcBride

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/FDC_members/Current_round
[2] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Decision-making
[3] https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=5440314



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Christophe Henner
In reply to this post by Jeromy-Yu Chan (Jerry~Yuyu)
Hi sorry to hear about that Deryck. Hope we'll get to see you back around here.

As said during the feedback session, we still have to figure out how to fund the first employee.

The FDC process is a really heavy process that do take a huge amount of time and energy. This is a process everyone should want to avoid as much as possible.

As you said we mostly are volunteers not used, or even expecting, that level of scrutiny. And the toll the FDC takes is high.

What we would need:
1/ remember that GAC can fund external expert support (accountant, ...)
2/ FDC process is not the only way to get funds
3/ a simpler step to get the first employee. Either more complex GAC proposal or simpler FDC proposal. Either way :)

We are not different from other charities. We need a process to disseminate funds within the movement. And with high amount of money comes high amount of responsability.

Again, I'm sorry FDC toll is so high on you and your fellow board member. I hope that Wikimania will energize you and will get you back in the movement.

Best

Christophe
Envoye depuis mon Blackberry

-----Original Message-----
From: "Jeromy-Yu Chan (Jerry~Yuyu)" <[hidden email]>
Sender: [hidden email]
Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2013 02:37:36
To: <[hidden email]>
Reply-To: Wikimedia Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement,
        and a parting remark to everyone

Hi all

I am ACTUALLY PANIC when reading this.

Normally I would say please don't go,
but realizing myself I am not on the Local Chapter board already
and even myself start to feel don't know what to do next

And I am sorry to say, the decision had totally stir up the emotion of the
whole Wikimania Local Team
I frankly don't know whether if it will lead to a melt down of our
volunteer power
after frustrations of all these years as Deryck said, as I was on the Board
and knew most of the stories.

--
Jeromy-Yu Chan, Jerry
http://plasticnews.wf/
http://about.me/jeromyu
UID: Jeromyu
(on Facebook, Twitter, Plurk & most sites)

Tel (Mobile): +852 9279 1601
Οὔτε τι τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων ἄξιον ὂν μεγάλης σπουδῆς
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list
[hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

David Gerard-2
On 29 April 2013 06:14, Christophe Henner <[hidden email]> wrote:

> As said during the feedback session, we still have to figure out how to fund the first employee.
> The FDC process is a really heavy process that do take a huge amount of time and energy. This is a process everyone should want to avoid as much as possible.


This sort of disastrous outcome seems, IIRC, precisely what chapters
were expecting, and were up in arms about, when the WMF first asserted
absolute control of the funding. These arguments being what WMF staff
decided they weren't interested in listening to any more, leading to
internal-l falling into disuse. Unfortunately, as Deryck notes,
ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away.


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Tilman Bayer
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
On Sun, Apr 28, 2013 at 4:19 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:
> As background, relevant links I was able to find regarding the WMHK
> funding discussions:
>
> WMHK FDC proposal:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Proposals/2012-2013_round2/Wikimedia_Hong_Kong/Proposal_form
>
> Responses:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:FDC_portal/Proposals/2012-2013_round2/Wikimedia_Hong_Kong/Proposal_form
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Proposals/2012-2013_round2/Wikimedia_Hong_Kong/Staff_proposal_assessment
I'm not familiar with the case, but reading that page, it seems that
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants_talk:WM_HK/Education_Toolkits_For_Liberal_Studies/Report#Remaining_funds
might also have played a role for the FDC's recommendation?

>
> FDC round 2 results:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/FDC_recommendations/2012-2013_round2
>
> Erik
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l



--
Tilman Bayer
Senior Operations Analyst (Movement Communications)
Wikimedia Foundation
IRC (Freenode): HaeB

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Anders Wennersten-2
In reply to this post by MZMcBride-2

MZMcBride skrev 2013-04-29 07:13:
> I took a look at the current FDC members list[1] and the
> decision-making information[2] but I'm still a bit unclear how
> decisions like this[3] are made. Is there a vote on each individual
> request (and subsequent recommendation)? If so, is that vote public?
> Or is it a single recommendation encompassing all requests for that
> round and members vote on that? And if so, is that vote public?
As stated, all seven FDC members before the meeting asses all proposals
and write down the sum recommended for each. During the deliberation
these seven figures are presented  and they can differ very much, even
that for the same proposal some member recommends full funding, others
no funding and others partial funding. Seeing these figures, a very
intense discussion start where we argue and reason, each fully
paticipaing and often very passionate. If the difference still is wide,
we then each prepare a new set of figures, which then normally show a
level of convergence in recommended funding figures.  In some cases
there is still incompatible positions among the FDC members and in other
there is mostly then a concern where within a span we should find the
recommended figures, which also is discussed and argued. In most cases
we then all agree on a recommended figure, and in other we fully agree
with some expressing some level of reluctance on the agreed amount. So
no votes, and the reason why we manage to come to an agreement is, i
believe, that we are used on the way we reach consensus on Wikipedia.  I
myself, have in no other of the hundreds of groups I have been involved
in, seen the same constructiveness of the participants to come to an
agreement with consensus.


> From the round 2 recommendation[3] we find the following snippet of
> text. """ We are concerned about the general increase in staff hiring
> that has been taking place over the last year, in particular where
> staff are performing functions that volunteers have been leading. We
> encourage entities to focus on balancing the work done by staff and
> volunteers in line with the Wikimedia movement's ethos of volunteers
> leading work, and to focus on having staff coordinate volunteer
> activities. We are also concerned about the growth rates of both staff
> and budgets. We would ask entities to consider whether their growth
> rates are sustainable in the long term, and whether they are leading
> to the most impact possible. """ Is the FDC commenting on the
> Wikimedia chapters here or on the Wikimedia Foundation (or both)?

The key word is "coordinating". we want to highlight that employed staff
should not be seen to  replace volunteers but support/empower/encourage
their efforts. And this is relevant for WMF as well when hey are
involved in activities where there are volunteers involved.

Anders
Secretary of FDC


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Thehelpfulone
In reply to this post by Tilman Bayer
On 29 Apr 2013, at 07:52, Tilman Bayer <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'm not familiar with the case, but reading that page, it seems that
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants_talk:WM_HK/Education_Toolkits_For_Liberal_Studies/Report#Remaining_funds
> might also have played a role for the FDC's recommendation?

Indeed, yet it looks like there has been no (public) follow up by the paid WMF grants staff for over a month. In addition, https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Proposals/2012-2013_round2/Wikimedia_Hong_Kong shows WMHK to still be an eligible entity.

Winifred/Asaf, please can you clarify whether WMHK is still an eligible entity and what follow up was done after that message a month ago?

---
Thehelpfulone
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Thehelpfulone
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Ilario Valdelli
In reply to this post by Anders Wennersten-2
Personally I think that these two points are relevant like weaknesses of
the FDC.

I would read three main important weaknesses:

a) if there is a conflictual position inside the members of the FDC and
a big difference of opinions probably there are no specific criteria to
evaluate the projects. It seems to me that someone has a feeling and
gives their *personal* opinion. To solve the incompatibilities the best
solution is to agree in a matrix of criteria and to evaluate the
submissions mainly with these criteria, the personal opinion should be
reduced a lot
b) with the point a) is associated the point b. The knowledge of these
criteria helps the chapters to submit a plan leaving any bad point and
it means less wasting of time for both (chapter and FDC)
c) It seems to me that the evaluation of the FDC doesn't consider the
context. Hong Kong is a town and is a small chapter, probably the
support/empower/encourage of volunteers may not work for Hong Kong
because they don't have a potential number of volunteers but they have
opportunities because Hong Kong is the seat of relevant companies

I think that the study of the context of each country may help a lot to
solve conflicts.

It's for the same reason that I have fear of people speaking about "peer
review" and people speaking about a single model of chapter.

Speaking with no-European chapters their main request is to make clearer
that they have different needs and cannot be evaluated like the European
chapters.

Imagine what happens if an European chapter will do a "peer review"
evaluating it with European parameters!

Regards

On 29.04.2013 09:25, Anders Wennersten wrote:

>
> MZMcBride skrev 2013-04-29 07:13:
>> I took a look at the current FDC members list[1] and the
>> decision-making information[2] but I'm still a bit unclear how
>> decisions like this[3] are made. Is there a vote on each individual
>> request (and subsequent recommendation)? If so, is that vote public?
>> Or is it a single recommendation encompassing all requests for that
>> round and members vote on that? And if so, is that vote public?
> As stated, all seven FDC members before the meeting asses all
> proposals and write down the sum recommended for each. During the
> deliberation these seven figures are presented  and they can differ
> very much, even that for the same proposal some member recommends full
> funding, others no funding and others partial funding. Seeing these
> figures, a very intense discussion start where we argue and reason,
> each fully paticipaing and often very passionate. If the difference
> still is wide, we then each prepare a new set of figures, which then
> normally show a level of convergence in recommended funding figures.  
> In some cases there is still incompatible positions among the FDC
> members and in other there is mostly then a concern where within a
> span we should find the recommended figures, which also is discussed
> and argued. In most cases we then all agree on a recommended figure,
> and in other we fully agree with some expressing some level of
> reluctance on the agreed amount. So no votes, and the reason why we
> manage to come to an agreement is, i believe, that we are used on the
> way we reach consensus on Wikipedia.  I myself, have in no other of
> the hundreds of groups I have been involved in, seen the same
> constructiveness of the participants to come to an agreement with
> consensus.
>
>
>> From the round 2 recommendation[3] we find the following snippet of
>> text. """ We are concerned about the general increase in staff hiring
>> that has been taking place over the last year, in particular where
>> staff are performing functions that volunteers have been leading. We
>> encourage entities to focus on balancing the work done by staff and
>> volunteers in line with the Wikimedia movement's ethos of volunteers
>> leading work, and to focus on having staff coordinate volunteer
>> activities. We are also concerned about the growth rates of both
>> staff and budgets. We would ask entities to consider whether their
>> growth rates are sustainable in the long term, and whether they are
>> leading to the most impact possible. """ Is the FDC commenting on the
>> Wikimedia chapters here or on the Wikimedia Foundation (or both)?
>
> The key word is "coordinating". we want to highlight that employed
> staff should not be seen to  replace volunteers but
> support/empower/encourage their efforts. And this is relevant for WMF
> as well when hey are involved in activities where there are volunteers
> involved.
>
> Anders
> Secretary of FDC
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l


--
Ilario Valdelli
Wikimedia CH
Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens
Association pour l’avancement des connaissances libre
Associazione per il sostegno alla conoscenza libera
Switzerland - 8008 Zürich
Tel: +41764821371
http://www.wikimedia.ch


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Christophe Henner
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
Hi David,

I changed the topic to not flood Deryck parting email. Though the
topics are related, I'd rather not flood his thread.

Yes, the process is flawed, and everyone recognise it, even FDC staff
and FDC members in their comments do.
Yes, the process is a heavy burden to all the organisations
Yes, we're still missing some steps

Now, I believe because of the situation in which the FDC was created,
a lot of chapters thought that the FDC would become their way to get
funds and so made a proposal.
But the FDC is not the "normal" way to get fund, GAC should be. FDC is
like a EU grant system, where you ask for a lot of money, explaining
the main reasons you need the money (money is not earmarked for a
specific project) and you report back on the use of the money on a
regular basis.

This is not a "light" process.

I am sorry to hear of deeply commited people leaving because of the
FDC toll. And to be quiet honest, even within WMFr the FDC was not a
painless process... and we went through it twice already. I can
totally relate to their feelings and exhaustion. But I believe the FDC
role is, and there's much way of improvement on that, to help
Wikimedia organisations get to the next stage regarding
personification, goals definition, metrics, etc.. In fact we're at
that moment when a start-up starts *really* thinking about ROI. Though
in our case the ROI is not money but in furthering our goals,
fostering Wikimedia community.

And when I say Wikimedia organisations, I include WMF, because all of
our standards are rather low. When I look at the proposals with an
outside perspective, or with the level of quality I ask to my team,
we're all far from the quality I could expect. If I was to judge those
demands only on my professional criteria, no one would have 100% of
the allocation. But we have

And that change in perspective, from start-up to "company" always
comes with its toll. You always see founders stepping back or even
leaving, you see employees leaving too.
I lived the exact same thing in a company I joined at founding 4 years
ago and left last December.

That is a normal step in the life of any organisation. It is a painful
one, but a needed one I believe.

Do we really believe it was better the way it was? Everybody doing
pretty much what they want with the movement funds and little
reporting? I do not.

Now, I don't believe anyone is hiding. Everyone acknowledges the
process is far from perfect. In The initial timeline there was meant
to be a review period after the first rounds (the second just ended).
I believe this period's goals are to on one hand improve the process
in itself and on the other hand make it clearer how heavy a process
the FDC is.

As I said in my previous email:
* Most of the chapters should go through the GAC first, to get used
with a formal process
* We need the first employee/office space budget being a specific GAC
or FDC process (there's pros and cons in having one or the other
handling it). Because let's be honest, the actual FDC process is way
to heavy for those needs and the GAC is not meant to handle such
requests

Best,
--
Christophe


On 29 April 2013 08:31, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 29 April 2013 06:14, Christophe Henner <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> As said during the feedback session, we still have to figure out how to fund the first employee.
>> The FDC process is a really heavy process that do take a huge amount of time and energy. This is a process everyone should want to avoid as much as possible.
>
>
> This sort of disastrous outcome seems, IIRC, precisely what chapters
> were expecting, and were up in arms about, when the WMF first asserted
> absolute control of the funding. These arguments being what WMF staff
> decided they weren't interested in listening to any more, leading to
> internal-l falling into disuse. Unfortunately, as Deryck notes,
> ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away.
>
>
> - d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Abbas Mahmood
Hi Christophe,

> From: [hidden email]
> Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2013 10:07:45 +0200
> To: [hidden email]
> CC: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone
> As I said in my previous email:
> * Most of the chapters should go through the GAC first, to get used
> with a formal process
Uhm, isn't this what is already happening? All those who are eligible for FDC funding have already gone through the normal Grants Program a multiple times.
> * We need the first employee/office space budget being a specific GAC
> or FDC process (there's pros and cons in having one or the other
> handling it). Because let's be honest, the actual FDC process is way
> to heavy for those needs and the GAC is not meant to handle such
> requests

I'm sorry I don't understand that "you need a specific GAC process..." Do you mind rephrasing?
Thanks,Abbas.    
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Christophe Henner
On 29 April 2013 10:21, Abbas Mahmood <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Christophe,
>
>> From: [hidden email]
>> Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2013 10:07:45 +0200
>> To: [hidden email]
>> CC: [hidden email]
>> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement,  and a parting remark to everyone
>> As I said in my previous email:
>> * Most of the chapters should go through the GAC first, to get used
>> with a formal process
> Uhm, isn't this what is already happening? All those who are eligible for FDC funding have already gone through the normal Grants Program a multiple times.

Not all, and many only for project grants not for operations grants
(like part time accounting). This is a flaw of how the process is
perceive I think.

>> * We need the first employee/office space budget being a specific GAC
>> or FDC process (there's pros and cons in having one or the other
>> handling it). Because let's be honest, the actual FDC process is way
>> to heavy for those needs and the GAC is not meant to handle such
>> requests
>
> I'm sorry I don't understand that "you need a specific GAC process..." Do you mind rephrasing?
> Thanks,Abbas.

GAC is not able to provide grant for a full time employee right now.
The only way to get funds for that first employee is through the FDC.
Which, as I said earlier, is a really heavy process.

That being said, GAC can already provide funds for external
contractors on specific tasks, like accounting.

Is my rephrasing better? :s

--
Christophe

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Anders Wennersten-2
In reply to this post by Ilario Valdelli
The beauty of the process, is in my mind, that is set up so that each
member can have their personal preferences on criteria to be used. This
ensues that as many perspectives as possible is up on the table during
the deliberation, and certainly not only what is in the staff assessment.

And culture context is central for most of us and it is fascinating the
broad understanding of cultural context, country specifics and specific
chapters operations there exist among the group of us

Anders







Ilario Valdelli skrev 2013-04-29 10:07:

> Personally I think that these two points are relevant like weaknesses
> of the FDC.
>
> I would read three main important weaknesses:
>
> a) if there is a conflictual position inside the members of the FDC
> and a big difference of opinions probably there are no specific
> criteria to evaluate the projects. It seems to me that someone has a
> feeling and gives their *personal* opinion. To solve the
> incompatibilities the best solution is to agree in a matrix of
> criteria and to evaluate the submissions mainly with these criteria,
> the personal opinion should be reduced a lot
> b) with the point a) is associated the point b. The knowledge of these
> criteria helps the chapters to submit a plan leaving any bad point and
> it means less wasting of time for both (chapter and FDC)
> c) It seems to me that the evaluation of the FDC doesn't consider the
> context. Hong Kong is a town and is a small chapter, probably the
> support/empower/encourage of volunteers may not work for Hong Kong
> because they don't have a potential number of volunteers but they have
> opportunities because Hong Kong is the seat of relevant companies
>
> I think that the study of the context of each country may help a lot
> to solve conflicts.
>
> It's for the same reason that I have fear of people speaking about
> "peer review" and people speaking about a single model of chapter.
>
> Speaking with no-European chapters their main request is to make
> clearer that they have different needs and cannot be evaluated like
> the European chapters.
>
> Imagine what happens if an European chapter will do a "peer review"
> evaluating it with European parameters!
>
> Regards
>
> On 29.04.2013 09:25, Anders Wennersten wrote:
>>
>> MZMcBride skrev 2013-04-29 07:13:
>>> I took a look at the current FDC members list[1] and the
>>> decision-making information[2] but I'm still a bit unclear how
>>> decisions like this[3] are made. Is there a vote on each individual
>>> request (and subsequent recommendation)? If so, is that vote public?
>>> Or is it a single recommendation encompassing all requests for that
>>> round and members vote on that? And if so, is that vote public?
>> As stated, all seven FDC members before the meeting asses all
>> proposals and write down the sum recommended for each. During the
>> deliberation these seven figures are presented  and they can differ
>> very much, even that for the same proposal some member recommends
>> full funding, others no funding and others partial funding. Seeing
>> these figures, a very intense discussion start where we argue and
>> reason, each fully paticipaing and often very passionate. If the
>> difference still is wide, we then each prepare a new set of figures,
>> which then normally show a level of convergence in recommended
>> funding figures.  In some cases there is still incompatible positions
>> among the FDC members and in other there is mostly then a concern
>> where within a span we should find the recommended figures, which
>> also is discussed and argued. In most cases we then all agree on a
>> recommended figure, and in other we fully agree with some expressing
>> some level of reluctance on the agreed amount. So no votes, and the
>> reason why we manage to come to an agreement is, i believe, that we
>> are used on the way we reach consensus on Wikipedia.  I myself, have
>> in no other of the hundreds of groups I have been involved in, seen
>> the same constructiveness of the participants to come to an agreement
>> with consensus.
>>
>>
>>> From the round 2 recommendation[3] we find the following snippet of
>>> text. """ We are concerned about the general increase in staff
>>> hiring that has been taking place over the last year, in particular
>>> where staff are performing functions that volunteers have been
>>> leading. We encourage entities to focus on balancing the work done
>>> by staff and volunteers in line with the Wikimedia movement's ethos
>>> of volunteers leading work, and to focus on having staff coordinate
>>> volunteer activities. We are also concerned about the growth rates
>>> of both staff and budgets. We would ask entities to consider whether
>>> their growth rates are sustainable in the long term, and whether
>>> they are leading to the most impact possible. """ Is the FDC
>>> commenting on the Wikimedia chapters here or on the Wikimedia
>>> Foundation (or both)?
>>
>> The key word is "coordinating". we want to highlight that employed
>> staff should not be seen to  replace volunteers but
>> support/empower/encourage their efforts. And this is relevant for WMF
>> as well when hey are involved in activities where there are
>> volunteers involved.
>>
>> Anders
>> Secretary of FDC
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikimedia-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>
>


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by Deryck Chan-2
Deryck Chan, 29/04/2013 00:52:
> [...]
> At this point, I believe it's an appropriate time for me to announce my
> resignation and retirement from all my official Wikimedia roles - as
> Administrative Assistant and WCA Council Member of WMHK. [...]

Thanks Deryck for your commitment. I'm very sorry that you invested so
much energy in serving as guinea pig for the FDC process, and I
sympathise with your decision: as volunteers, we must focus on what lets
us achieve more.

It's very clear (to me) that the WMF grants system is not designed to
make Wikimedia entities grow, but only to reinforce those which are
already strong enough, keeping them at the same level they're at. On the
bright side, experienced and valuable movement members like you and WMHK
can always find a way to use their intelligence and have an impact
within Wikimedia, despite external obstacles, *if* you don't rely on a
blocker/bottleneck outside your wiki/project/chapter/group (it's the
wiki way). Applying to FDC proved a mistake but now you and your fellow
chapter members can support each other in reassessing priorities and
finding a new motivation.

Nemo

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

David Gerard-2
On 29 April 2013 09:33, Federico Leva (Nemo) <[hidden email]> wrote:

> It's very clear (to me) that the WMF grants system is not designed to make
> Wikimedia entities grow, but only to reinforce those which are already
> strong enough, keeping them at the same level they're at.


It's not clear this was a design criterion. It was, however, obvious
that this was what would occur. When the chapters screamed blue murder
about it on internal-l, Sue and Erik decided they didn't like the tone
and weren't going to listen any more.

Unfortunately, this doesn't make an actual problem go away.


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Seb35
In reply to this post by Anders Wennersten-2
Le Mon, 29 Apr 2013 09:25:16 +0200, Anders Wennersten  
<[hidden email]> a écrit:

> MZMcBride skrev 2013-04-29 07:13:
>> I took a look at the current FDC members list[1] and the  
>> decision-making information[2] but I'm still a bit unclear how  
>> decisions like this[3] are made. Is there a vote on each individual  
>> request (and subsequent recommendation)? If so, is that vote public? Or  
>> is it a single recommendation encompassing all requests for that round  
>> and members vote on that? And if so, is that vote public?
> As stated, all seven FDC members before the meeting asses all proposals  
> and write down the sum recommended for each. During the deliberation  
> these seven figures are presented  and they can differ very much, even  
> that for the same proposal some member recommends full funding, others  
> no funding and others partial funding. Seeing these figures, a very  
> intense discussion start where we argue and reason, each fully  
> paticipaing and often very passionate. If the difference still is wide,  
> we then each prepare a new set of figures, which then normally show a  
> level of convergence in recommended funding figures.  In some cases  
> there is still incompatible positions among the FDC members and in other  
> there is mostly then a concern where within a span we should find the  
> recommended figures, which also is discussed and argued. In most cases  
> we then all agree on a recommended figure, and in other we fully agree  
> with some expressing some level of reluctance on the agreed amount. So  
> no votes, and the reason why we manage to come to an agreement is, i  
> believe, that we are used on the way we reach consensus on Wikipedia.  I  
> myself, have in no other of the hundreds of groups I have been involved  
> in, seen the same constructiveness of the participants to come to an  
> agreement with consensus.

So, are there public minutes of the discussions or a public comprehensive  
text about pros and cons of the FDC decision?

>> From the round 2 recommendation[3] we find the following snippet of  
>> text. """ We are concerned about the general increase in staff hiring  
>> that has been taking place over the last year, in particular where  
>> staff are performing functions that volunteers have been leading. We  
>> encourage entities to focus on balancing the work done by staff and  
>> volunteers in line with the Wikimedia movement's ethos of volunteers  
>> leading work, and to focus on having staff coordinate volunteer  
>> activities. We are also concerned about the growth rates of both staff  
>> and budgets. We would ask entities to consider whether their growth  
>> rates are sustainable in the long term, and whether they are leading to  
>> the most impact possible. """ Is the FDC commenting on the Wikimedia  
>> chapters here or on the Wikimedia Foundation (or both)?
>
> The key word is "coordinating". we want to highlight that employed staff  
> should not be seen to  replace volunteers but support/empower/encourage  
> their efforts. And this is relevant for WMF as well when hey are  
> involved in activities where there are volunteers involved.

I’m not familiar with the case, but I cannot understand, in case of a  
contradictory debate, how the outcome of this debate could be "absolutely  
no money", no even a similar amount than the last year (and the same for  
WMCZ), with simple arguments as "concerns about […] internal governance,  
financial management capacity, and capacity of volunteers to manage a plan  
of this [too big] size" and "not sufficiently demonstrate a […] high  
impact".

As Deryck stated, if volunteers are exhausted with the current workload,  
they obviously cannot do more in these fields, and their proposal of an  
accountant and ED could help improving the situation and by the way free  
time to volunteers to do programmatic activities. By receiving no money,  
they will have to do the administrative stuff themselves (so less time for  
program), find themselves money or support to do programmatic activities  
[by comparison all big chapters have a dedicated staff with this task],  
and if they have time and energy, do some programmatic activities. In  
other words there is probably little chance they will have a professionnal  
system next year as the FDC wants.

So I fully understand Deryck’s decision. When volunteers work hard to try  
to do good job and they are granted nothing, they leave.

Sébastien

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