Ролята на Фондация Уикимедия
Един от най-големите въпроси в интервютата бе за лидерството в движението.
Въпреки, че повечето от интервюираните бяха склонни да подчертаят, че движението не е йерархично, желанието за по-силна лидерство бе изразено на няколко пъти. ФУ е виждана от много хора като лидера на движението.
The Управителният съвет на Фондация Уикимедия ръководи фондацията и нейната работа. Тя следи за организацията и има правомощията да упражнява всички корпоративни пълномощия. Тя е отговорна за определянето на мисията на ФУ, целите, дългосрочните планове, както и политиките на ФУ на високо равнище и нейните проекти. Съветът избира и оценява Изпълнителен директор, който отговаря за ежедневните операции на ФУ и е основно отговорен за ръководенето на стратегическите планове и политиките на организацията. Освен това, членовете на съвета представитляват ФУ и мисията й пред общностите и по-широката общественост.
At full membership, the Board includes ten trustees: Three members are elected by the communities, two members are selected by Wikimedia affiliates, four members are co-opted to fulfil the expertise needs in the Board, and one seat is designated for Jimmy Wales.
Some Chapters claimed that it is not clear what the Affiliate Selected Board Seats (formerly known as Chapter Selected Board Seats) mean for them. Even if they are allowed to select two people, there is no constant exchange ensuring their representation on the Board. However, Board members clarified that they are not representing the Chapters in the Board but that their decisions are all made for the benefit of the WMF in the first place.
On top of that, there was no common understanding among the interviewees of whether its Board of Trustees is a steering committee for the global movement or the overseeing authority for the Wikimedia Foundation itself. “Are they heading a global movement that is striving for free Knowledge or a Non-Profit company that is running a website?”
After all, the role of the WMF in relation to its main tasks is pretty clear for everyone and was described as straightforward by the interviewees: the WMF is responsible for the key resources and infrastructure of the movement. It develops and maintains software and servers and handles the traffic of the fifth largest website on the planet. They make the projects accessible for users and readers.
Besides their Engineering and Product focus, it also handles funds processing and grant-making and stewardship of donors’ money. It provides the legal framework for the projects and defends the mission and values of the movement. It is safe-keeping the most treasured asset: the Wikimedia brand and trademarks. All tasks receive appreciation from most interviewees and everyone can agree that WMF is doing a great job at those tasks.
Ролята на ФУ не е ясна на филиалите на движението
What appears to be less clear is the WMF’s own position in the Wikimedia movement. People’s statements range from leader, mom or boss through US chapter to equal partner, but one who has all the power. Some describe it as a leader who is not providing leadership.
Many Chapters see the WMF as leader. Subsequently, they expect a leadership role from it. In contrast, the WMF doesn’t agree unconditionally, but expects Chapters to initiate their own initiatives.“We consider Chapters as being our partners”. Hence, Chapters are confused. The “Haifa trauma” in mind, they are on alert for similar actions in the future and therefore wonder: How should we start our own initiatives, realise our own ideas, or even be equal partners for the Foundation, if we’re totally dependent from it? Is it really possible that we can be equal partners? The Foundation, in turn, is aware of the shock it caused by the Haifa letter and tries to show a more open and cooperative side, while shirking its responsibilities and its power at the same time.
Furthermore, there are issues where the Chapters feel unsure, or even unsafe, like funds applications or reports, and they expect and demand a teacher or leader role of the WMF. On the other side, they don’t want to be patronised and even react surly to “anything coming from San Francisco”. This doesn’t make it easy for the Foundation at all. How to strike the right note? How to react properly? They are forty chapters with so different characters and sensibilities and it’s impossible to do it right by all. The WMF says: “It’s a tough challenge for us to be a collaborative facilitator.”
Отделни гласове във Фондацията, твърдят че сдруженията са отговорни за самите себе си. Сдружения отговорят, че това не е възможно. Особено по отношение на финансите и търговските марки, те са зависими от ФУ. Мнозина дори не искат да бъдат независими или отговорни за себе си, а просто искат да бъде "част от това". Те желаят и питат за повече насоки, лидерство и упътвания, за да бъдат в състояние да изпълнят всички изисквания на ФУ.
ФУ иска сдруженията да поемат по-активна роля. Тя казва, че сдруженията трябва да намерят своя собствен път и да открият силните си страни. И ако имат проблеми по пътя към намирането им, могат да поискат помощ от ФУ.
Управлението на проблема изглежда е като горещ картоф, който се прехвърля от едната страна към другата.
What makes things even more complicated is that the WMF has shifted its organisational structure several times. People perceive their path as a “zigzag course”, and have a hard time understanding what the WMF wants and what “these shiny new titles” actually mean. But what people brought up in the interviews as well – after having poured their heart out about their worries and objections – was that the WMF is actually a very young organisation and still has a lot to learn and go through. Like all organisations in the movement, it is facing growing pains, and taking small steps towards becoming more successful.
One of these steps was the narrowing focus debate, after which the WMF concentrated on two main areas: Engineering and Grant-making. One question that was raised a few times was whether an organisation that claims “We are a website” can fulfil their second duty of being a grant-making body for a global movement in the best possible way.