[Wikimedia-l] WMF core and non core expenses

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[Wikimedia-l] WMF core and non core expenses

Itzik Edri
Hi,

As agreed, the WMF is also sending their non-core program to the
FDC approval, you can see their proposal here:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Proposals/2012-2013_round1/Wikimedia_Foundation/Proposal_form

But I'm asking myself, that's all what we consider as non-core? I didn't
really done a deep research in the WMF budget (as every item in the WMF
budget is like the whole big chapter budget and there are no breakdown),
but for example what jumped in my mind immediate: Merchandise store
(311,000$=Wikimedia Magyarország + Wikimedia Israel + Wikimedia Argentina
annual budget) - what make it core? or research (324,000$) and others
(again, can't go deeply with that as the items in the budget are general..).



Itzik
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF core and non core expenses

Thomas Dalton
It seems clear to me, based on the end result and what foundation board and
senior staff have said, that they decided an account of money they wanted
to request from the FDC and then decided what to designate as non-core so
that it added up to that amount.

Rather disingenuous of them, but Sue has been very clear that she only sees
the foundation's application as a way of testing the process rather than as
actually being the right way to determine the budget.
On Oct 8, 2012 11:14 AM, "Itzik Edri" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> As agreed, the WMF is also sending their non-core program to the
> FDC approval, you can see their proposal here:
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Proposals/2012-2013_round1/Wikimedia_Foundation/Proposal_form
>
> But I'm asking myself, that's all what we consider as non-core? I didn't
> really done a deep research in the WMF budget (as every item in the WMF
> budget is like the whole big chapter budget and there are no breakdown),
> but for example what jumped in my mind immediate: Merchandise store
> (311,000$=Wikimedia Magyarország + Wikimedia Israel + Wikimedia Argentina
> annual budget) - what make it core? or research (324,000$) and others
> (again, can't go deeply with that as the items in the budget are
> general..).
>
>
>
> Itzik
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF core and non core expenses

Sue Gardner-2
On 8 October 2012 12:18, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> It seems clear to me, based on the end result and what foundation board and
> senior staff have said, that they decided an account of money they wanted
> to request from the FDC and then decided what to designate as non-core so
> that it added up to that amount.
>
> Rather disingenuous of them, but Sue has been very clear that she only sees
> the foundation's application as a way of testing the process rather than as
> actually being the right way to determine the budget.
> On Oct 8, 2012 11:14 AM, "Itzik Edri" <[hidden email]> wrote:


Hi Thomas & Itzik,

There's FAQ material on the wikis about how core versus non-core were
determined -- I think it's part of the annual plan FAQ. (I'd link you
to it, but I'm in a bit of a rush. Maybe somebody else can point to
the right place?)

The Board and I had a number of discussions about core versus non-core
-- to very swiftly recap, we decided that we did not want core to mean
the rock-bottom base costs of operating the site. We realized that in
making that decision we'd risk being confusing, and that people would
likely end up sending inquiries like the one Itzik just sent, because
they'd likely be operating on the assumption that core did indeed mean
base costs. We considered whether to label it as something other than
"core" in order to avoid being confusing, but in the end went ahead
with core for lack of a better word.

Going from memory -- core is intended to represent the ordinary costs
of running the global sites -- so for example, it would include all
the costs of maintaining the trademark portfolio, providing legal
defence where necessary, doing media stuff and internal global
movement communications work, etc. For example we decided that
internationalization & localization are part of "core," because our
core work includes providing a service in multiple languages.

We did not want core to represent the base, rock-bottom,
non-negotiable costs of operating the sites on a shoestring, because
that's not the purpose of this exercise, because we're not in a
position where we need to make extraordinarily difficult choices about
whether to preserve, for example, internationalization & localization
versus site performance. If we were in that position (needing to make
very painful choices due to financial necessity) of course we would.
But that's not where we are.

Thomas, it's not actually true that I see this as purely an exercise
in testing the FDC process, although I do definitely think running
part of the WMF budget through the FDC will help us be sensitive to
fund-seeker needs as we iterate the process. I do also see value in
the process itself -- getting community input on the WMF's non-core
activities, etc., will be useful.

(Just FYI -- I won't be able to reply any more to this thread for much
of the rest of the day, by the way -- I'm swamped and doing a bunch of
things.)

Thanks,
Sue

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF core and non core expenses

charles andrès
Dear Sue,
I partially disagree with the statement "we're not in a position where we need to make extraordinarily difficult choices about whether to preserve"

If you consider the WMF financial reserves it's true, but for what I understand, the FDC should decide about the distribution of the forthcoming fundraising and so we can only guess that the movement has no fundings problem. If this winter we cannot reach the total amount fixed, what will happen? The entities that apply to the FDC will have to share the money that remain after the WMF took a lot more than what is needed to operate the project (bottom base).

I personnaly agree that the "core" should be more than only the basics, but there should be something between this extremitiy and the actual WMF FDC proposal where the community can comment only 10% of the real WMF budget.


What I could suggest is too split the WMF proposal in two parts: 1)the expanded core (high priority) 2) the non core (lower priority=actual FDC proposal). In this case, if the fundraising is not successful has intend, the cost of the difficult choices will be assumed by all the part of the movement.

sincerely

Charles

___________________________________________________________
Charles ANDRES, Chairman
"Wikimedia CH" – Association for the advancement of free knowledge –
www.wikimedia.ch
Skype: charles.andres.wmch
IRC://irc.freenode.net/wikimedia-ch



Le 8 oct. 2012 à 14:08, Sue Gardner <[hidden email]> a écrit :

> On 8 October 2012 12:18, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> It seems clear to me, based on the end result and what foundation board and
>> senior staff have said, that they decided an account of money they wanted
>> to request from the FDC and then decided what to designate as non-core so
>> that it added up to that amount.
>>
>> Rather disingenuous of them, but Sue has been very clear that she only sees
>> the foundation's application as a way of testing the process rather than as
>> actually being the right way to determine the budget.
>> On Oct 8, 2012 11:14 AM, "Itzik Edri" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>
> Hi Thomas & Itzik,
>
> There's FAQ material on the wikis about how core versus non-core were
> determined -- I think it's part of the annual plan FAQ. (I'd link you
> to it, but I'm in a bit of a rush. Maybe somebody else can point to
> the right place?)
>
> The Board and I had a number of discussions about core versus non-core
> -- to very swiftly recap, we decided that we did not want core to mean
> the rock-bottom base costs of operating the site. We realized that in
> making that decision we'd risk being confusing, and that people would
> likely end up sending inquiries like the one Itzik just sent, because
> they'd likely be operating on the assumption that core did indeed mean
> base costs. We considered whether to label it as something other than
> "core" in order to avoid being confusing, but in the end went ahead
> with core for lack of a better word.
>
> Going from memory -- core is intended to represent the ordinary costs
> of running the global sites -- so for example, it would include all
> the costs of maintaining the trademark portfolio, providing legal
> defence where necessary, doing media stuff and internal global
> movement communications work, etc. For example we decided that
> internationalization & localization are part of "core," because our
> core work includes providing a service in multiple languages.
>
> We did not want core to represent the base, rock-bottom,
> non-negotiable costs of operating the sites on a shoestring, because
> that's not the purpose of this exercise, because we're not in a
> position where we need to make extraordinarily difficult choices about
> whether to preserve, for example, internationalization & localization
> versus site performance. If we were in that position (needing to make
> very painful choices due to financial necessity) of course we would.
> But that's not where we are.
>
> Thomas, it's not actually true that I see this as purely an exercise
> in testing the FDC process, although I do definitely think running
> part of the WMF budget through the FDC will help us be sensitive to
> fund-seeker needs as we iterate the process. I do also see value in
> the process itself -- getting community input on the WMF's non-core
> activities, etc., will be useful.
>
> (Just FYI -- I won't be able to reply any more to this thread for much
> of the rest of the day, by the way -- I'm swamped and doing a bunch of
> things.)
>
> Thanks,
> Sue
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF core and non core expenses

Tilman Bayer
In reply to this post by Sue Gardner-2
Here's the relevant part of the Annual Plan FAQ:
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/2012-2013_Annual_Plan_Questions_and_Answers#What_is_the_impact_of_the_FDC_on_this_plan.3F
(see
in particular the items "How are core and non-core defined?" and "Why is
non-core defined the way it is? Doesn’t it make more sense to define core
as the rock-bottom costs of operating the projects (e.g., bandwidth and
servers), and define everything else as non-core?")

On Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 5:08 AM, Sue Gardner <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 8 October 2012 12:18, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > It seems clear to me, based on the end result and what foundation board
> and
> > senior staff have said, that they decided an account of money they wanted
> > to request from the FDC and then decided what to designate as non-core so
> > that it added up to that amount.
> >
> > Rather disingenuous of them, but Sue has been very clear that she only
> sees
> > the foundation's application as a way of testing the process rather than
> as
> > actually being the right way to determine the budget.
> > On Oct 8, 2012 11:14 AM, "Itzik Edri" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>
> Hi Thomas & Itzik,
>
> There's FAQ material on the wikis about how core versus non-core were
> determined -- I think it's part of the annual plan FAQ. (I'd link you
> to it, but I'm in a bit of a rush. Maybe somebody else can point to
> the right place?)
>
> The Board and I had a number of discussions about core versus non-core
> -- to very swiftly recap, we decided that we did not want core to mean
> the rock-bottom base costs of operating the site. We realized that in
> making that decision we'd risk being confusing, and that people would
> likely end up sending inquiries like the one Itzik just sent, because
> they'd likely be operating on the assumption that core did indeed mean
> base costs. We considered whether to label it as something other than
> "core" in order to avoid being confusing, but in the end went ahead
> with core for lack of a better word.
>
> Going from memory -- core is intended to represent the ordinary costs
> of running the global sites -- so for example, it would include all
> the costs of maintaining the trademark portfolio, providing legal
> defence where necessary, doing media stuff and internal global
> movement communications work, etc. For example we decided that
> internationalization & localization are part of "core," because our
> core work includes providing a service in multiple languages.
>
> We did not want core to represent the base, rock-bottom,
> non-negotiable costs of operating the sites on a shoestring, because
> that's not the purpose of this exercise, because we're not in a
> position where we need to make extraordinarily difficult choices about
> whether to preserve, for example, internationalization & localization
> versus site performance. If we were in that position (needing to make
> very painful choices due to financial necessity) of course we would.
> But that's not where we are.
>
> Thomas, it's not actually true that I see this as purely an exercise
> in testing the FDC process, although I do definitely think running
> part of the WMF budget through the FDC will help us be sensitive to
> fund-seeker needs as we iterate the process. I do also see value in
> the process itself -- getting community input on the WMF's non-core
> activities, etc., will be useful.
>
> (Just FYI -- I won't be able to reply any more to this thread for much
> of the rest of the day, by the way -- I'm swamped and doing a bunch of
> things.)
>
> Thanks,
> Sue
>
> _______________________________________________
> 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] WMF core and non core expenses

John Mark Vandenberg
In reply to this post by Itzik Edri
Does the merchandise store, which will cost USD 311000, have an ROI
published somewhere?

I think some 'Research' is needed in WMF core, however any funds under
'Research' should be granted to, and administrated by, an academic
institution. Preferably via a competitive program.

John Vandenberg.
sent from Galaxy Note
On Oct 8, 2012 5:14 PM, "Itzik Edri" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> As agreed, the WMF is also sending their non-core program to the
> FDC approval, you can see their proposal here:
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Proposals/2012-2013_round1/Wikimedia_Foundation/Proposal_form
>
> But I'm asking myself, that's all what we consider as non-core? I didn't
> really done a deep research in the WMF budget (as every item in the WMF
> budget is like the whole big chapter budget and there are no breakdown),
> but for example what jumped in my mind immediate: Merchandise store
> (311,000$=Wikimedia Magyarország + Wikimedia Israel + Wikimedia Argentina
> annual budget) - what make it core? or research (324,000$) and others
> (again, can't go deeply with that as the items in the budget are
> general..).
>
>
>
> Itzik
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF core and non core expenses

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by Tilman Bayer
In short, don't worry about what's "core" or "non core", those are just
words (like calling horses "fishes" and vice versa). The WMF runs the
FDC process and of course decides also what are its boundaries.

Nemo

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF core and non core expenses

metasj
In reply to this post by charles andrès
A quick reply:

On Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 10:38 AM, charles andrès
<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> If you consider the WMF financial reserves it's true, but for what I understand, the FDC should decide about the distribution of the forthcoming fundraising and so we can only guess that the movement has no fundings problem. If this winter we cannot reach the total amount fixed, what will happen?

A good question for us to answer before this becomes a problem.
Presumably it will at some point, as long as people are looking for
ways to 'do more with more resources'.  (There are other ways to grow
that involve doing more with a fixed pool of resources, or through
more partners, or... &c.  Some may even be more sustainable than our
current model.  But at present the whole movement has been expanding
in this way.)

> I personnaly agree that the "core" should be
more than only the basics, but there should be
> something between this extremitiy and the actual WMF FDC proposal where the community can
> comment only 10% of the real WMF budget.

Agreed.  If we split movement-wide costs into "essential", "high
priority", and "non-core", I think the FDC should grow to review most
of the non-essential funds.  Which would include more than 10% of the
WMF budget.

This should improve over the first few years of the FDC's operation.
To be effective, these changes should be worked into the WMF's annual
plan in the spring (as the budget line-item for the next year's FDC)
and into the fundraising targets, as well as into individual plans
submitted to the FDC.

SJ

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF core and non core expenses

Samuel Klein-4
In reply to this post by John Mark Vandenberg
On Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 10:07 PM, John Vandenberg <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Does the merchandise store, which will cost USD 311000, have an ROI
> published somewhere?
>
> I think some 'Research' is needed in WMF core, however any funds under
> 'Research' should be granted to, and administrated by, an academic
> institution. Preferably via a competitive program.

Thanks John.  I'm not sure I agree, since without an internal research
team it's hard for the WMF to interface with outside researchers.  But
I find this sort of specific feedback on WMF expenses most welcome.

Hopefully this can be refactored on the wiki as comments on the annual
plan.  Along the lines of Charles's comment, it is also helpful to get
feedback on what seems 'high priority, extended core' and what seems
'non core' (though we don't have crisp definitions for that
distinction yet, we should develop one).

Sam.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF core and non core expenses

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by metasj
On 10 October 2012 00:31, Samuel Klein <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Agreed.  If we split movement-wide costs into "essential", "high
> priority", and "non-core", I think the FDC should grow to review most
> of the non-essential funds.  Which would include more than 10% of the
> WMF budget.

If you view it from a functional perspective, what "core" actually
means is "so much more important than anything any other eligible
entity does that there is no way the FDC could reasonably decide not
to fund it". Things like keeping wikipedia.org up and running clearly
fall into that category, as do a few other things, but there are
plenty of things the WMF is calling core that I don't think can
actually be described that way.

My preference would be to just send the whole lot through the FDC. If
it's so important, then why not trust the FDC to realise that? The
WMF's core budget should definitely be funded, but why should it be
the WMF that gets to decide what is core and what isn't? (The WMF has
a fair bit of revenue that doesn't come from the fundraiser, in the
same way most chapters do, so it would still be able to fund its basic
functions autonomously).

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF core and non core expenses

John Mark Vandenberg
In reply to this post by Samuel Klein-4
On Oct 10, 2012 6:38 AM, "Samuel Klein" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 10:07 PM, John Vandenberg <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Does the merchandise store, which will cost USD 311000, have an ROI
> > published somewhere?
> >
> > I think some 'Research' is needed in WMF core, however any funds under
> > 'Research' should be granted to, and administrated by, an academic
> > institution. Preferably via a competitive program.
>
> Thanks John.  I'm not sure I agree, since without an internal research
> team it's hard for the WMF to interface with outside researchers.  But
> I find this sort of specific feedback on WMF expenses most welcome.

The interfacing is not a research activity. Communications team should have
some who can interface. Analytics/Corporate intel unit should have someone
who can interface. Research is research. WMF staff may be doing real
research, but they should be formally engaged on the research project as a
researcher. In Australia we call these people industry partner
investigators. Using research output is not research.

> Hopefully this can be refactored on the wiki as comments on the annual
> plan.

I feel it is too late to comment on the wiki about the annual plan. My
understanding of events is that the board approved the annual plan before
it was even available for public comment. Questions were asked on the wiki,
but answers were not provided promptly. E.g. Over one month for an answer
re the merchandise shop.

> Along the lines of Charles's comment, it is also helpful to get
> feedback on what seems 'high priority, extended core' and what seems
> 'non core' (though we don't have crisp definitions for that
> distinction yet, we should develop one).

Improving definitions for next time is all well and good. . . however,
there is a definition of core v non-core in the FAQ. Do you believe that
definition is appropriate for 2012-13? The minutes of the 7 May & 6 June
board meetings say FDC implications for the WMF annual plan were discussed,
but wmf board minutes tend to be scant on useful information that might
give the reader any idea about the opinion of the board. The only info in
these minutes is that it was discussed and there are no minutes from the 11
July board meeting yet. If I am reading the resolution approving the annual
plan correctly, it approves the annual plan and yet it also calls on the ED
to revise the annual plan and present it to the 26-27 board meeting. I am
confused by resolutions like that, esp when there are no minutes, detailed
or otherwise. :)

--
John V
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF core and non core expenses

James Alexander-4
In reply to this post by John Mark Vandenberg
On Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 7:07 PM, John Vandenberg <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Does the merchandise store, which will cost USD 311000, have an ROI
> published somewhere?
>
> *Hey John,

I put a bit about the shop budget at
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimedia_budget#Shop after a request
from Nemo but I’m happy to try and gather more data or answer more
questions as they come up. Sorry again for the slow response on that thread
by the way, I was trying to get some questions answered on my side and it
got buried accidentally. The currently budgeted net ‘cost’ is actually
around 116k after you account for the budgeted income but obviously that
depends on how popular the store is and how much we are able to give away.
We’ve designed our business plan to ultimately focus on cost recovery with
some extra padding to give us resources to design new product etc. Some of
the costs in this budget are also about getting merchandise out to a wide
range of Wikimedia events.

The main focus of the shop isn’t as a revenue source as much as it’s about
trying to give away merchandise to the community and spreading brand
awareness. Members of both the editor and the reader community have asked
for some type of merchandise operation for a long time now and we wanted to
provide something that would provide that as affordably as possible (while
making sure we were keeping everything high quality).

The other goal of the shop is obviously to break even, including a hefty
amount of donated merchandise. We don’t expect that to happen instantly but
we’re going to be pushing the store more visibly to the public in the
coming weeks and months. It will take time, and we’ve got plans across a
number of different channels (not just WP itself) to increase visibility.

*
*We’ve already given thousands of dollars worth of shop merchandise away to
different groups but that has generally been for larger meetups,
conferences and events. This will continue but over the next week there are
two projects that are going to start rolling out, including an on-wiki
nomination process for individual community members to get awarded for
their service as well as a data driven experiential marketing campaign
(originally focusing on Social Media and tracked on meta). Keep an eye on
wikimedia-l for the individual nomination roll out and if you’re interested
in participating or keeping track of the marketing tests you can join the
Shop Team ( http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_merchandise/Shop_team<http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikimedia_merchandise/Shop_team>on
meta or directly to the google group at
https://groups.google.com/a/wikimedia.org/group/shopteam. We’ll also be
sending out the link to the meta tracking page as it gets fleshed out.*



--
James Alexander
Manager, Merchandise
Wikimedia Foundation
(415) 839-6885 x6716 @jamesofur
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF core and non core expenses

metasj
In reply to this post by John Mark Vandenberg
On Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 9:12 PM, John Vandenberg <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> Hopefully this can be refactored on the wiki as comments on the annual plan.
>
> I feel it is too late to comment on the wiki about the annual plan.

There are many reasons to comment on past plans.  To get better at
mutual peer review, we need to simply do more peer review.

A public drafting period with open commentary, as you hint at, is
important.  The FDC process is helping systematize that, and we may
hope for a similarly open drafting process for the WMF's core plan
next year.

But that's neither the only nor the most important time to comment.
Review of plans and budgets should be steady throughout the year,
should look more than a year into the future and past, and can be more
specific once a plan is underway.

Before a plan is finalized, feedback helps make it better.  After it
is finalized, it can be compared to similar or related plans and work
across the movement.  While it is being carried out, its work can be
measured and visualized.  Before the next planning cycle begins,
feedback helps frame the following period's plan.

In the case of the WMF, annual plans are developed from roughly Jan to
May.  So the next few months are a good time to inform the start of
that process.  The best place I know to organize feedback is
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimedia_budget

> It is also helpful to get
>> feedback on what seems 'high priority, extended core'
>
> Improving definitions for next time is all well and good. . . however,
> there is a definition of core v non-core in the FAQ. Do you believe that
> definition is appropriate for 2012-13?

Yes, that seems fine for this year.  It is an improvement on the
previous year, when we did not make any such distinctions.  Next year
should have a more nuanced definition. (In particular, we should start
distinguishing barebones operating needs from other work, as has been
discussed on and off since the strategic plan work.)

> The only info in
> these minutes is that it was discussed and there are no minutes from the 11
> July board meeting yet.

They have been reviewed and are waiting for the approval vote to
finish in ~a week; they should be published soon.

SJ

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