[Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

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[Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Erik Moeller-4
Hi folks,

I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
specific goal established in a grant agreement.

This comes up from time to time. One of the few historic precedents
I'm aware of is the $5,000 donation that WMF made to FreeNode in 2006
[1]. But there are of course many other organizations/communities that
the Wikimedia movement is indebted to.

On the software side, we have Ubuntu Linux (itself highly indebted to
Debian) / Apache / MariaDB / PHP / Varnish / ElasticSearch / memcached
/ Puppet / OpenStack / various libraries and many other dependencies [2],
infrastructure tools like ganglia, observium, icinga, etc. Some of
these projects have nonprofits that accept and seek sponsorship and
support, some don't.

One could easily expand well beyond the software we depend on
server-side to client-side open source applications used by our
community to create content: stuff like Inkscape, GIMP and LibreOffice
(used for diagrams). And there are other communities we depend on,
like OpenStreetMap.

So, should we steer clear of this type of sponsorship altogether
because it's a slippery slope, or should we try to come up with
evaluation criteria to consider it on a case-by-case basis (e.g. is
there a trustworthy non-profit that has a track record of
accomplishment and is in actual need of financial support)?

I could imagine a process with a fixed "giving back" annual budget
and a community nominations/review workflow. It'd be work to create
and I don't want to commit to that yet, but I would be interested to
hear opinions.

MariaDB specifically invited WMF to become a sponsor, and we're
clearly highly dependent on them. But I don't think it makes sense for
us to just write checks if there's someone who asks for support and
there's a justifiable need. However, if there's broad agreement that
this is something Wikimedia should do more of, then I think it's worth
developing more consistent sponsorship criteria.

Thanks,
Erik


[1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Freenode_Donation
[2] Cf. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Upstream_projects
--
Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Mike Peel
Hi Erik,

I'd say 'maybe'. I think this sort of work is worth supporting in general, but the question should be whether providing the support would improve the content and/or provision of the Wikimedia projects. I'd like to see a good community-driven process that would determine whether such sponsorship would be helpful or whether it would be a waste of money.

Thanks,
Mike

On 15 Apr 2014, at 20:50, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi folks,
>
> I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
> extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
> that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
> specific goal established in a grant agreement.
>
> This comes up from time to time. One of the few historic precedents
> I'm aware of is the $5,000 donation that WMF made to FreeNode in 2006
> [1]. But there are of course many other organizations/communities that
> the Wikimedia movement is indebted to.
>
> On the software side, we have Ubuntu Linux (itself highly indebted to
> Debian) / Apache / MariaDB / PHP / Varnish / ElasticSearch / memcached
> / Puppet / OpenStack / various libraries and many other dependencies [2],
> infrastructure tools like ganglia, observium, icinga, etc. Some of
> these projects have nonprofits that accept and seek sponsorship and
> support, some don't.
>
> One could easily expand well beyond the software we depend on
> server-side to client-side open source applications used by our
> community to create content: stuff like Inkscape, GIMP and LibreOffice
> (used for diagrams). And there are other communities we depend on,
> like OpenStreetMap.
>
> So, should we steer clear of this type of sponsorship altogether
> because it's a slippery slope, or should we try to come up with
> evaluation criteria to consider it on a case-by-case basis (e.g. is
> there a trustworthy non-profit that has a track record of
> accomplishment and is in actual need of financial support)?
>
> I could imagine a process with a fixed "giving back" annual budget
> and a community nominations/review workflow. It'd be work to create
> and I don't want to commit to that yet, but I would be interested to
> hear opinions.
>
> MariaDB specifically invited WMF to become a sponsor, and we're
> clearly highly dependent on them. But I don't think it makes sense for
> us to just write checks if there's someone who asks for support and
> there's a justifiable need. However, if there's broad agreement that
> this is something Wikimedia should do more of, then I think it's worth
> developing more consistent sponsorship criteria.
>
> Thanks,
> Erik
>
>
> [1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Freenode_Donation
> [2] Cf. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Upstream_projects
> --
> Erik Möller
> VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Martijn Hoekstra
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 9:50 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi folks,
>
> I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
> extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
> that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
> specific goal established in a grant agreement.
>
> This comes up from time to time. One of the few historic precedents
> I'm aware of is the $5,000 donation that WMF made to FreeNode in 2006
> [1]. But there are of course many other organizations/communities that
> the Wikimedia movement is indebted to.
>
> On the software side, we have Ubuntu Linux (itself highly indebted to
> Debian) / Apache / MariaDB / PHP / Varnish / ElasticSearch / memcached
> / Puppet / OpenStack / various libraries and many other dependencies [2],
> infrastructure tools like ganglia, observium, icinga, etc. Some of
> these projects have nonprofits that accept and seek sponsorship and
> support, some don't.
>
> One could easily expand well beyond the software we depend on
> server-side to client-side open source applications used by our
> community to create content: stuff like Inkscape, GIMP and LibreOffice
> (used for diagrams). And there are other communities we depend on,
> like OpenStreetMap.
>
> So, should we steer clear of this type of sponsorship altogether
> because it's a slippery slope, or should we try to come up with
> evaluation criteria to consider it on a case-by-case basis (e.g. is
> there a trustworthy non-profit that has a track record of
> accomplishment and is in actual need of financial support)?
>
> I could imagine a process with a fixed "giving back" annual budget
> and a community nominations/review workflow. It'd be work to create
> and I don't want to commit to that yet, but I would be interested to
> hear opinions.
>
> MariaDB specifically invited WMF to become a sponsor, and we're
> clearly highly dependent on them. But I don't think it makes sense for
> us to just write checks if there's someone who asks for support and
> there's a justifiable need. However, if there's broad agreement that
> this is something Wikimedia should do more of, then I think it's worth
> developing more consistent sponsorship criteria.
>
> Thanks,
> Erik
>
>
> [1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Freenode_Donation
> [2] Cf. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Upstream_projects
> --
> Erik Möller
> VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
>


Hi Erik,

It's a difficult question. I'm in favour in general, and I think it's a
good idea to support projects that we use and need the money. The problem I
have with it (and that is absent in your points above) is in how far we
have the "moral right" to spend the money donors gave us on other projects.
Transparency to sponsors - especially since we get a lot of small donations
- is something I feel strongly about. If this were set up in a way
integrated in our fundraising policy (Donate X, allow for Y to be spent on
projects we are dependent on for example) I'd be in favour, but I'm
uncomfortable with re-gifting some random donors money to Varnish.

--Martijn


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
On 15 April 2014 20:50, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
> extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
> that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
> specific goal established in a grant agreement.


Creative Commons, OpenStreetMap spring to mind. What are their budgets
like? I expect ours dwarfs theirs. We should throw money at Freenode
on a regular basis.

CC is a charity, I think OSM is a nonprofit but not actually a UK
charity as yet (though WMUK achieving charity status makes that more
achievable if they want to go for that).

Internet Archive and Archiveteam is not something we use as heavily as
any of those, but they need it too.

Is there anyone else whose stuff we prevail upon that we really should
be helping?


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Martijn Hoekstra
On 15 April 2014 21:08, Martijn Hoekstra <[hidden email]> wrote:

> It's a difficult question. I'm in favour in general, and I think it's a
> good idea to support projects that we use and need the money. The problem I
> have with it (and that is absent in your points above) is in how far we
> have the "moral right" to spend the money donors gave us on other projects.


In the case of CC, OSM or Freenode, we prevail upon these
organisations' resources considerably; it's akin to outsourcing
infrastructure. We use their stuff to a degree that I think it's an
obviously right thing, and defensible as such, to support them
financially.


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
There is a reason if the last precedent is in 2006. Search your mail
archives for later discussions on FreeNode.

Erik Moeller, 15/04/2014 21:50:
> MariaDB specifically invited WMF to become a sponsor,

Do they only accept unrestricted donations? If not, they could consider
that the WMF grants are very flexible.
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:Start
Most IEG proposals, for instance, seem to propose software development
projects (and other contractor work) with wages in the tens thousands
dollars.

Nemo

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

metasj
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
Hello Erik, there are cases in which this is clearly the right thing
for us to do.

1) An annual 'supporting the ecosystem' program, that channels grants
and visibility to important partners, seems interesting.  Could this
be implemented as a targeted grants program?  Or just targeted
outreach encouraging groups to apply for existing programs?

I wouldn't call it 'giving back' -- that seems to minimize the way in
which this is integral to our work. (I see almost no difference, from
the perspective of our mission, between supporting OSM or Wikieducator
and supporting Wikiversity).

However we should be clear that this is where some of our resources
go, and update related messaging; or raise funds specifically for
those goals with their own campaigns.

2) We need a free toolchain that we can build upon and digitize /
gather / curate / format / publish knowledge with.  There are
currently major gaps in this toolchain -- core projects and
collaborations rely on non-free tools or non-free hosted service.
Every time we use or work to interoperate with such tools and
services, we should also support replacing them with free ones.  (That
support can include everything from publicity and matchmaking to
in-kind support to funds)

So we should be supporting, in some fashion:  free formats; free
fonts; free tools for annotation, real-time text collaboration,
spreadsheet editing, media editing; the ecosystem needed to support
free media codecs.  We should be framing and broadcasting to the FK
ans FOSS world where the biggest gaps lie and what needs to be done.

And we should be able to point to how and where we are investing in
this -- for instance when we get into debates about whether or not to
include non-free fonts in our default fontstack; or about how to
support people trying to convert and publish media in encumbered
formats.

3) Many projects that we rely on run on a very small budget, but may
need specific skills.  I would separate how we think about supporting
this sort of work, from how we think about supporting larger projects
such as CC and OSM.

SJ

On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 3:50 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi folks,
>
> I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
> extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
> that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
> specific goal established in a grant agreement.
>
> This comes up from time to time. One of the few historic precedents
> I'm aware of is the $5,000 donation that WMF made to FreeNode in 2006
> [1]. But there are of course many other organizations/communities that
> the Wikimedia movement is indebted to.
>
> On the software side, we have Ubuntu Linux (itself highly indebted to
> Debian) / Apache / MariaDB / PHP / Varnish / ElasticSearch / memcached
> / Puppet / OpenStack / various libraries and many other dependencies [2],
> infrastructure tools like ganglia, observium, icinga, etc. Some of
> these projects have nonprofits that accept and seek sponsorship and
> support, some don't.
>
> One could easily expand well beyond the software we depend on
> server-side to client-side open source applications used by our
> community to create content: stuff like Inkscape, GIMP and LibreOffice
> (used for diagrams). And there are other communities we depend on,
> like OpenStreetMap.
>
> So, should we steer clear of this type of sponsorship altogether
> because it's a slippery slope, or should we try to come up with
> evaluation criteria to consider it on a case-by-case basis (e.g. is
> there a trustworthy non-profit that has a track record of
> accomplishment and is in actual need of financial support)?
>
> I could imagine a process with a fixed "giving back" annual budget
> and a community nominations/review workflow. It'd be work to create
> and I don't want to commit to that yet, but I would be interested to
> hear opinions.
>
> MariaDB specifically invited WMF to become a sponsor, and we're
> clearly highly dependent on them. But I don't think it makes sense for
> us to just write checks if there's someone who asks for support and
> there's a justifiable need. However, if there's broad agreement that
> this is something Wikimedia should do more of, then I think it's worth
> developing more consistent sponsorship criteria.
>
> Thanks,
> Erik
>
>
> [1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Freenode_Donation
> [2] Cf. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Upstream_projects
> --
> Erik Möller
> VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>



--
Samuel Klein          @metasj           w:user:sj          +1 617 529 4266

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Kat Walsh-4
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
In general, I do think Wikimedia should do this.

Briefly:

Wikimedia is in an extremely fortunate position: it can raise all the
money it needs from many small donors, and can expect to be able to do
so continually into the future. This is partially because it is a
great thing that many people value, of course, but it's partially by
accident because of the type of thing it is--a public resource that
most potential donors visit directly on its website, probably even
every day.

Part of that fortunate position is because of the work of other
organizations which have much less visibility--infrastructural
software, which silently and invisibly makes Wikimedia's work possible
and means we don't have to spend the resources we do take in
reinventing the wheel because they have already done it. The tools
that make it possible for us to create, edit, and display multimedia
content freely--whose users often download once and then have no other
contact with the organization's site or materials. The organizations
who are working with us to advance our common goals, but who do so
less visibly.

Almost none of these have the same ability to raise money as Wikimedia
does, even if they were doing so as effectively as possible, and this
is especially true if they also wish to minimize their dependence on
corporations and foundations with differing goals. But Wikimedia's
mission depends on their survival also--we are able to do what we do
more effectively because of them, and it seems only right that some of
the value we get from them should go back to supporting them.

-Kat

(Disclaimer: I work for CC now, which has received a donation from
Wikimedia since my leaving the board; however, this is an opinion I've
held for a long time.)

On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 12:50 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi folks,
>
> I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
> extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
> that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
> specific goal established in a grant agreement.
>
> This comes up from time to time. One of the few historic precedents
> I'm aware of is the $5,000 donation that WMF made to FreeNode in 2006
> [1]. But there are of course many other organizations/communities that
> the Wikimedia movement is indebted to.
>
> On the software side, we have Ubuntu Linux (itself highly indebted to
> Debian) / Apache / MariaDB / PHP / Varnish / ElasticSearch / memcached
> / Puppet / OpenStack / various libraries and many other dependencies [2],
> infrastructure tools like ganglia, observium, icinga, etc. Some of
> these projects have nonprofits that accept and seek sponsorship and
> support, some don't.
>
> One could easily expand well beyond the software we depend on
> server-side to client-side open source applications used by our
> community to create content: stuff like Inkscape, GIMP and LibreOffice
> (used for diagrams). And there are other communities we depend on,
> like OpenStreetMap.
>
> So, should we steer clear of this type of sponsorship altogether
> because it's a slippery slope, or should we try to come up with
> evaluation criteria to consider it on a case-by-case basis (e.g. is
> there a trustworthy non-profit that has a track record of
> accomplishment and is in actual need of financial support)?
>
> I could imagine a process with a fixed "giving back" annual budget
> and a community nominations/review workflow. It'd be work to create
> and I don't want to commit to that yet, but I would be interested to
> hear opinions.
>
> MariaDB specifically invited WMF to become a sponsor, and we're
> clearly highly dependent on them. But I don't think it makes sense for
> us to just write checks if there's someone who asks for support and
> there's a justifiable need. However, if there's broad agreement that
> this is something Wikimedia should do more of, then I think it's worth
> developing more consistent sponsorship criteria.
>
> Thanks,
> Erik
>
>
> [1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Freenode_Donation
> [2] Cf. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Upstream_projects
> --
> Erik Möller
> VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>



--
Your donations keep Wikipedia free: https://donate.wikimedia.org

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Sage Ross
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
TL;DR: Yes, I think we should be pro-actively putting significant
financial resources into the open source ecosystems we rely on.

Thanks Erik! This is a great discussion to have.

As I see it, we have a whole lot of potential fundraising revenue that
we leave unraised, simply because WMF doesn't have effective ways of
spending it or allocating it within the movement. The fundraising
system has become extremely efficient, so we've increasingly shifted
toward minimizing reader annoyance instead of increasing raising
money. But the annoyance factor of fundraising is so low right now
that (to me) it seems wasteful *not* to be raising and distributing
more, if it can be done in ways that support our mission (broadly
construed).

Wikipedia is the most prominent project of the top, public-facing
layer of a deep free culture / free software ecosystem. It wouldn't be
able to exist without that ecosystem, but because it's in that top
layer that directly serves the public, it generates most of the
goodwill and donation potential. But much of what donors love and
value and want to support about Wikipedia has deeper roots than they
realize. I used to be a regular donor to Wikimedia Foundation, but as
I've learned more about that deeper ecosystem, I've felt it my
responsibility -- because I know how things work beneath that surface
layer -- to focus my giving elsewhere in the free software and free
culture ecosystem. I would happily donate to WMF if I knew that the
fundraising system was aggressively working to gather money to improve
that whole ecosystem. (Instead, donating right now would feel like
making a donation to slightly decrease the number of fundraising
banners seen by readers; if I don't donate, I know there are more than
enough readers who will.)

One strategy for supporting other free software/free culture
organizations would be to make few-strings-attached grants for
specific work that will benefit us. (For example, we give a grant that
lets them pay  a developer's salary for a year to work on this or that
project that will result in better MediaWiki performance, or easier
management of our stack.) That would be consistent with what our
donors intend when they give.

-Sage (ragesoss)

On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 3:50 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi folks,
>
> I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
> extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
> that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
> specific goal established in a grant agreement.
>
> This comes up from time to time. One of the few historic precedents
> I'm aware of is the $5,000 donation that WMF made to FreeNode in 2006
> [1]. But there are of course many other organizations/communities that
> the Wikimedia movement is indebted to.
>
> On the software side, we have Ubuntu Linux (itself highly indebted to
> Debian) / Apache / MariaDB / PHP / Varnish / ElasticSearch / memcached
> / Puppet / OpenStack / various libraries and many other dependencies [2],
> infrastructure tools like ganglia, observium, icinga, etc. Some of
> these projects have nonprofits that accept and seek sponsorship and
> support, some don't.
>
> One could easily expand well beyond the software we depend on
> server-side to client-side open source applications used by our
> community to create content: stuff like Inkscape, GIMP and LibreOffice
> (used for diagrams). And there are other communities we depend on,
> like OpenStreetMap.
>
> So, should we steer clear of this type of sponsorship altogether
> because it's a slippery slope, or should we try to come up with
> evaluation criteria to consider it on a case-by-case basis (e.g. is
> there a trustworthy non-profit that has a track record of
> accomplishment and is in actual need of financial support)?
>
> I could imagine a process with a fixed "giving back" annual budget
> and a community nominations/review workflow. It'd be work to create
> and I don't want to commit to that yet, but I would be interested to
> hear opinions.
>
> MariaDB specifically invited WMF to become a sponsor, and we're
> clearly highly dependent on them. But I don't think it makes sense for
> us to just write checks if there's someone who asks for support and
> there's a justifiable need. However, if there's broad agreement that
> this is something Wikimedia should do more of, then I think it's worth
> developing more consistent sponsorship criteria.
>
> Thanks,
> Erik
>
>
> [1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Freenode_Donation
> [2] Cf. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Upstream_projects
> --
> Erik Möller
> VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Kevin Gorman
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
Just mentioning it because David mentioned the Internet Archive.  The IA is
actively interested in collaborating with Wikimedia, and I think they have
a lot to offer us - the reason nothing has come to fruition yet has been a
combination of funding constraints and time constraints for everyone
involved in the discussions.  They have the technical infrastructure to
eliminate deadlinks pretty much universally across our sites, and Andrew
Lih and I have also been speaking with them about a very interesting video
project that would get around a lot of the video limitations we currently
have.  So even if we don't currently use them heavily, I think there are a
lot of opportunities there :)

Best,
Kevin Gorman


On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 1:27 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 15 April 2014 20:50, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
> > extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
> > that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
> > specific goal established in a grant agreement.
>
>
> Creative Commons, OpenStreetMap spring to mind. What are their budgets
> like? I expect ours dwarfs theirs. We should throw money at Freenode
> on a regular basis.
>
> CC is a charity, I think OSM is a nonprofit but not actually a UK
> charity as yet (though WMUK achieving charity status makes that more
> achievable if they want to go for that).
>
> Internet Archive and Archiveteam is not something we use as heavily as
> any of those, but they need it too.
>
> Is there anyone else whose stuff we prevail upon that we really should
> be helping?
>
>
> - d.
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Nathan Awrich
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
I agree with Mike Peel on 'maybe' - I think donations from the WMF to
non-profit organizations could be great and very useful, but that the WMF
should

1) ensure that the donations have a substantial impact (i.e. not $500 to
ICRC, where WMF funds would get lost in a sea of other contributors),
2) that donors have a strong track record of management such that the WMF
does not find it necessary to oversee how the funds are used (i.e. a
donation and not a grant),
3) and that the mission of the organization is linked to the overall
mission of the WMF (avoid general "good thing" advocacy such as is
sometimes suggested on this list).

I'd also personally support in-kind donations (i.e. dedicate an FTE or
portion of an FTE to integration work that benefits a non-profit, or
implements a feature that is requested for a specific platform, etc.).
Training or consultation provided by a paid employee to a non-profit at no
charge would also fall into this category. I don't know that it would be
beneficial to have the vetting process be community driven, and I'd like to
see the implications for affiliates considered (i.e. does the WMF/FDC have
a position on whether affiliates should be redirecting WMF funding to third
party non-profits?).
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[Wikimedia-l] Funding of decentralized... Re: Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Mathias Damour
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
Le 15/04/2014 21:50, Erik Moeller a écrit :
> Hi folks,
>
> I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
> extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
> that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
> specific goal established in a grant agreement.

Indeed that's a good suggestion considering both that they are (when
they are) "organizations/communities that
the Wikimedia movement is indebted to" and the fact that they have much
less easy access to the general public for fundraising than the
Wikimedia movement has through its projects.
In the meantime,  in accordance with the significant message of Ting
Chen five days ago ([Wikimedia-l] Funding of decentralized
organizational structure - Thu, 10 Apr 2014 13:23:39 +0200
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2014-April/071044.html 
) I believe that not only the WMF but the chapters should be entitled to
support such organizations for they are often the ones that have the
opportunity to know these organizations locally. The chapters are likely
to be aware of the smooth running, needs or dysfunctioning of some of
these organizations when they operate in the same area, and be more
approachable to them.


> This comes up from time to time. One of the few historic precedents
> I'm aware of is the $5,000 donation that WMF made to FreeNode in 2006
> [1]. But there are of course many other organizations/communities that
> the Wikimedia movement is indebted to.
>
> On the software side, we have Ubuntu Linux (itself highly indebted to
> Debian) / Apache / MariaDB / PHP / Varnish / ElasticSearch / memcached
> / Puppet / OpenStack / various libraries and many other dependencies [2],
> infrastructure tools like ganglia, observium, icinga, etc. Some of
> these projects have nonprofits that accept and seek sponsorship and
> support, some don't.
>
> One could easily expand well beyond the software we depend on
> server-side to client-side open source applications used by our
> community to create content: stuff like Inkscape, GIMP and LibreOffice
> (used for diagrams). And there are other communities we depend on,
> like OpenStreetMap.
>
> So, should we steer clear of this type of sponsorship altogether
> because it's a slippery slope, or should we try to come up with
> evaluation criteria to consider it on a case-by-case basis (e.g. is
> there a trustworthy non-profit that has a track record of
> accomplishment and is in actual need of financial support)?
>
> I could imagine a process with a fixed "giving back" annual budget
> and a community nominations/review workflow. It'd be work to create
> and I don't want to commit to that yet, but I would be interested to
> hear opinions.
>
> MariaDB specifically invited WMF to become a sponsor, and we're
> clearly highly dependent on them. But I don't think it makes sense for
> us to just write checks if there's someone who asks for support and
> there's a justifiable need. However, if there's broad agreement that
> this is something Wikimedia should do more of, then I think it's worth
> developing more consistent sponsorship criteria.
>
> Thanks,
> Erik
>
>
> [1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Freenode_Donation
> [2] Cf. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Upstream_projects


--
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
On 15 April 2014 21:57, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'd also personally support in-kind donations (i.e. dedicate an FTE or
> portion of an FTE to integration work that benefits a non-profit, or
> implements a feature that is requested for a specific platform, etc.).
> Training or consultation provided by a paid employee to a non-profit at no
> charge would also fall into this category. I don't know that it would be
> beneficial to have the vetting process be community driven, and I'd like to
> see the implications for affiliates considered (i.e. does the WMF/FDC have
> a position on whether affiliates should be redirecting WMF funding to third
> party non-profits?).


Yeah, one of the first things to do is to talk to these partner
organisations (because they are partner organisations) and ask what
would actually be helpful, rather than helpy. Perhaps an engineer,
perhaps some server space, perhaps just an unrestricted grant (on the
principle that if you trust a charity enough to donate, you trust them
enough to do good stuff with it).


- d.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Charles Andrès-2
In reply to this post by Mike Peel
In a period where all the fund dissemination of the movement is driven by the question "what's the impact on wikimedia project" and a community-driven process, I would suggest that any redistribution of the funds done by the WMF would follow the same rules.


Charles



Le 15 avr. 2014 à 21:57, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> a écrit :

> Hi Erik,
>
> I'd say 'maybe'. I think this sort of work is worth supporting in general, but the question should be whether providing the support would improve the content and/or provision of the Wikimedia projects. I'd like to see a good community-driven process that would determine whether such sponsorship would be helpful or whether it would be a waste of money.
>
> Thanks,
> Mike
>
> On 15 Apr 2014, at 20:50, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Hi folks,
>>
>> I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
>> extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
>> that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
>> specific goal established in a grant agreement.
>>
>> This comes up from time to time. One of the few historic precedents
>> I'm aware of is the $5,000 donation that WMF made to FreeNode in 2006
>> [1]. But there are of course many other organizations/communities that
>> the Wikimedia movement is indebted to.
>>
>> On the software side, we have Ubuntu Linux (itself highly indebted to
>> Debian) / Apache / MariaDB / PHP / Varnish / ElasticSearch / memcached
>> / Puppet / OpenStack / various libraries and many other dependencies [2],
>> infrastructure tools like ganglia, observium, icinga, etc. Some of
>> these projects have nonprofits that accept and seek sponsorship and
>> support, some don't.
>>
>> One could easily expand well beyond the software we depend on
>> server-side to client-side open source applications used by our
>> community to create content: stuff like Inkscape, GIMP and LibreOffice
>> (used for diagrams). And there are other communities we depend on,
>> like OpenStreetMap.
>>
>> So, should we steer clear of this type of sponsorship altogether
>> because it's a slippery slope, or should we try to come up with
>> evaluation criteria to consider it on a case-by-case basis (e.g. is
>> there a trustworthy non-profit that has a track record of
>> accomplishment and is in actual need of financial support)?
>>
>> I could imagine a process with a fixed "giving back" annual budget
>> and a community nominations/review workflow. It'd be work to create
>> and I don't want to commit to that yet, but I would be interested to
>> hear opinions.
>>
>> MariaDB specifically invited WMF to become a sponsor, and we're
>> clearly highly dependent on them. But I don't think it makes sense for
>> us to just write checks if there's someone who asks for support and
>> there's a justifiable need. However, if there's broad agreement that
>> this is something Wikimedia should do more of, then I think it's worth
>> developing more consistent sponsorship criteria.
>>
>> Thanks,
>> Erik
>>
>>
>> [1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Freenode_Donation
>> [2] Cf. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Upstream_projects
>> --
>> Erik Möller
>> VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikimedia-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Frédéric Schütz
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
Hi Erik,

I personally like all these ideas a lot (and I also agree with most of
the comments that have been made so far); in particular, the fact that
you mention both the server and the client side (as well as other
communities) is very appealing to me.

Within Wikimedia CH, this is an idea that we have discussed a few years
ago: how can we support software and other communities that our
community depends on, while avoiding to just give away money. In the
end, we supported financially one edition of the Libre Graphics Meeting.
This looked like a good investment, as most of the tools discussed
during this meeting are used by the Wikimedia community. The money was
mostly used by Swiss participants -- not necessarily members of the
Wikimedia community, but people we were eager to connect to, as their
competences could be useful to us (kill two birds with one stone...). We
had ideas about how to collaborate further, but they haven't
materialised yet.  We did not further discuss this kind of funding at
the level of our chapter, however, mostly because it was difficult to
assess its impact (and even more its impact on the Wikimedia projects).
But I can easily imagine that a global effort could have a clear impact.

Talking about other communities, we also had projects planned with the
local CC people, such as helping to adapt/translate the licenses to the
Swiss legal system and in French. In the end they managed to fund this
effort without our help (Wikimedia CH's lawyer mostly funded it, so we
still helped indirectly :-). We still have some ideas there, and this is
a local collaboration that could be very useful.

However, I can see clearly the slippery slope you mention: in the recent
past, several new friends of Wikimedia CH appeared from neighboring
communities, and they had no shortage of projects they wanted us to help
funding... (and we mostly had to say no).

As an aside, coming back to software, I have noted that the WMF gets
gets a special thank you note on the git-annex web page
(https://git-annex.branchable.com/thanks/); is it a tool that has been
supported financially ? (and, I assume, a tool that the WMF uses
regularly) ?  If it is the case, I applaud this support.

Best wishes,

Frédéric



On 15/04/14 21:50, Erik Moeller wrote:

> Hi folks,
>
> I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
> extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
> that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
> specific goal established in a grant agreement.
>
> This comes up from time to time. One of the few historic precedents
> I'm aware of is the $5,000 donation that WMF made to FreeNode in 2006
> [1]. But there are of course many other organizations/communities that
> the Wikimedia movement is indebted to.
>
> On the software side, we have Ubuntu Linux (itself highly indebted to
> Debian) / Apache / MariaDB / PHP / Varnish / ElasticSearch / memcached
> / Puppet / OpenStack / various libraries and many other dependencies [2],
> infrastructure tools like ganglia, observium, icinga, etc. Some of
> these projects have nonprofits that accept and seek sponsorship and
> support, some don't.
>
> One could easily expand well beyond the software we depend on
> server-side to client-side open source applications used by our
> community to create content: stuff like Inkscape, GIMP and LibreOffice
> (used for diagrams). And there are other communities we depend on,
> like OpenStreetMap.
>
> So, should we steer clear of this type of sponsorship altogether
> because it's a slippery slope, or should we try to come up with
> evaluation criteria to consider it on a case-by-case basis (e.g. is
> there a trustworthy non-profit that has a track record of
> accomplishment and is in actual need of financial support)?
>
> I could imagine a process with a fixed "giving back" annual budget
> and a community nominations/review workflow. It'd be work to create
> and I don't want to commit to that yet, but I would be interested to
> hear opinions.
>
> MariaDB specifically invited WMF to become a sponsor, and we're
> clearly highly dependent on them. But I don't think it makes sense for
> us to just write checks if there's someone who asks for support and
> there's a justifiable need. However, if there's broad agreement that
> this is something Wikimedia should do more of, then I think it's worth
> developing more consistent sponsorship criteria.
>
> Thanks,
> Erik
>
>
> [1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Freenode_Donation
> [2] Cf. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Upstream_projects
>


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Erik Moeller-4
On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 3:25 PM, Frédéric Schütz <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Within Wikimedia CH, this is an idea that we have discussed a few years
> ago: how can we support software and other communities that our
> community depends on, while avoiding to just give away money. In the
> end, we supported financially one edition of the Libre Graphics Meeting.

That's a great choice! LGM is a fantastic meeting and directly relates
to tools that support content contributors in our projects.

> As an aside, coming back to software, I have noted that the WMF gets
> gets a special thank you note on the git-annex web page
> (https://git-annex.branchable.com/thanks/); is it a tool that has been
> supported financially ? (and, I assume, a tool that the WMF uses
> regularly) ?

As I recall we contracted with Joey (the maintainer) to do some
development work that relates to the git-based deployment tooling we
use for some services.

Cheers,
Erik

--
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VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Erik Moeller-4
In reply to this post by metasj
On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 1:40 PM, Samuel Klein <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello Erik, there are cases in which this is clearly the right thing
> for us to do.
>
> 1) An annual 'supporting the ecosystem' program, that channels grants
> and visibility to important partners, seems interesting.  Could this
> be implemented as a targeted grants program?  Or just targeted
> outreach encouraging groups to apply for existing programs?
>
> I wouldn't call it 'giving back' -- that seems to minimize the way in
> which this is integral to our work. (I see almost no difference, from
> the perspective of our mission, between supporting OSM or Wikieducator
> and supporting Wikiversity).
>
> However we should be clear that this is where some of our resources
> go, and update related messaging; or raise funds specifically for
> those goals with their own campaigns.

Yeah - it seems pretty complex to get right, and I don't want to
shovel work onto our fundraising team's very full plate, or distract
from our main fundraising efforts.

There are some interesting models to study at least. I like what the
Freedom of the Press Foundation is doing with its flexible, permanent
fundraiser for projects related to anonymity/privacy, which seems to
be inspired by the Humble Bundle UI:

https://pressfreedomfoundation.org/

> 2) We need a free toolchain that we can build upon and digitize /
> gather / curate / format / publish knowledge with.  There are
> currently major gaps in this toolchain -- core projects and
> collaborations rely on non-free tools or non-free hosted service.
> Every time we use or work to interoperate with such tools and
> services, we should also support replacing them with free ones.  (That
> support can include everything from publicity and matchmaking to
> in-kind support to funds)
>
> So we should be supporting, in some fashion:  free formats; free
> fonts; free tools for annotation, real-time text collaboration,
> spreadsheet editing, media editing; the ecosystem needed to support
> free media codecs.  We should be framing and broadcasting to the FK
> ans FOSS world where the biggest gaps lie and what needs to be done.

I agree, and this seems more straightforward to integrate with
existing grantmaking practices. In fact we've seen a few "toolchain"
related grant applicants lately, such as the ShareMap proposal (which
was turned down, in significant part because it's very Flash-based):

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IEG/ShareMap

But the scope of the project is not such that, if I was (say) a
contributor to Blender, I would apply for funding through it.

Focusing on grantmaking that directly supports content contributors
might be a good area to hone in on, while deferring the larger
sponsorship question for now.

> 3) Many projects that we rely on run on a very small budget, but may
> need specific skills.  I would separate how we think about supporting
> this sort of work, from how we think about supporting larger projects
> such as CC and OSM.

Sure - we do in fact do a lot of the non-financial stuff (upstream
code contributions, legal or other advice, providing space for
meetups, etc.).

Erik
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Liam Wyatt
I too think the idea, in the general sense, is a good one (we SHOULD be
supporting our fellow-travellers) but there are lots of difficulties in the
detail.

Forgive me if this is not correct, but isn't the idea of having a close
(potentially financial) relationship to likeminded organisations what the
"movement partners" concept was for?
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_affiliation_models/Movement_Partners

That page was created by, and has only been edited by, members of the WMF
Board of Trustees and specifically lists possible examples of "Mozilla,
Creative Commons, WikiEducator, Freenode" and says "They may have access to
Wikimedia grants as per minimum rights". Unlike Chapters, user groups and
thematic organisations, this quadrant of the Affiliations Model
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_affiliation_models>has never
really been elaborated upon. I think it has a lot of great potential to
formalise the relationship between Wikimedia and external organisations
that have related missions and values to us.

Perhaps elaborating the "movement partners" concept and specifically the
financial rights that it brings would be useful for this discussion....
Importantly the concept is already "on the books" and not starting from
scratch.

-Liam

wittylama.com
Peace, love & metadata
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

James Salsman-2
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
I would love to see the Foundation support archive.org and
webcitation.org. I have seen dozens of community members express hopes
for Foundation monetary support of both continued survival and faster
response time for both. But I am not aware of any acknowledgement from
the Foundation other than Jimmy saying that he hoped someone would
help them apply for grants. Did anyone in the Foundation ever do that?

And in line with my hopes that the Foundation will some day start
acting in direct support of the volunteer community, I would love to
see some direct financial support for e.g. paywatch.org and
healthcare-now.org.

Systematic polling of the community is the correct way to decide the
allocation of scarce resources. We need more than the goals that were
set back when the community was growing apparently exponentially. We
need something that proves to editors, would-be editors, and former
editors that the Foundation is trying to improve their lives.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Sponsorship/donations to other organizations

Tomasz Ganicz
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
IMHO it would be absolutely OK to support such organizations/groups
with works related to Wikimedia project, which could also benefit
general public.

2014-04-15 22:27 GMT+02:00 David Gerard <[hidden email]>:

> On 15 April 2014 20:50, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> I'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
>> extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
>> that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
>> specific goal established in a grant agreement.
>
>
> Creative Commons, OpenStreetMap spring to mind. What are their budgets
> like? I expect ours dwarfs theirs. We should throw money at Freenode
> on a regular basis.

OSM Foundation  budget is roughly 100 000 GBP per year.

http://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Finances/Income_2012

http://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Finances/Balance_Sheet_2012

and they are not charity, however I can imagine supporting them via
WMF Grant Program for specific projects (for example buying and
maintaining separate server for tiles for Wikimedia Projects, which
could speed up MiniWikiAtlas, :-) ).

For Document Foundation (LibreOffice) - I can imagine supporting them
with grant to improve their MediaWiki extension, etc... They are
charitable in Germany, their income is about 120 000 EUR per year:

https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/File:Tdfbudget2013.pdf


--
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http://pl.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Polimerek
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