GAC members who support this requestEdit
- No specific questions, Acceptable costs for IT services. --Ilario (talk) 14:03, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
GAC members who oppose this requestEdit
I see no impact in the proposal: okay, the chapter is organized, but the largest part of the budget consists of meetings and some preparations. Meetings are good, but the activity of the chapter should be aimed on something, not on the internal activity itself: now we have EUR 1500 for projects and EUR 8000 for "existence" of the chapter. That's not acceptible as for 1$ of useful output you need 5-6$ of overheads. I would suggest to grow in a more organic way: setup some grant system (just create a page with guidelines on your internal wiki, setup grant committee - that is a good basis that requires zero funding), start working with local partners and social media (that's also a good start and has no cost), define plan of your events (plan of events performed by the chapter that would have impact for others, not plan of internal meetings) and then start from grant request for direct projects - for example, some conference you already agreed on and which budget you already understand, then move to organizing a set of events, etc. rubin16 (talk) 18:25, 31 January 2015 (UTC)After the budget's update I decided to remove my voice from this section rubin16 (talk) 06:47, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
GAC members who abstain from voting/commentEdit
Hey Rubin16, you added your comments with your vote directly as a "vote against". This way the team members could not respond or reply to your comments, which a bit bypasses the exact goal of the Advisory Committee.
To respond to your comments, as you point out, we included about 3000€ for "capacity building of the board (Part #3)". During several meetings, the board members realised this is one of the biggest threats to our organisations. We are here in an open discussion with the colleagues GAC members and the Foundation whether they think this is relevant or not (you think it is not).
Secondly, project generally do not fall from the sky. To have nice projects, with additional funding provided by other organisations, we need to have a certain approach. As discussed below, we proposed to set up a Project Grant system together with a Project Days. We hope this will result in a lot of nice activities. We wanted to start slowly and "overdeliver" so we only included a limited amount of projects. Of course we hope this will be much more! This is similar with the involvement for the "outreach efforts to our community (Part #1)". Given our approach, I object to your statement that "8000€ was just ment for the "existence" of the chapter". MADe (talk) 21:33, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
- Okay, I'll provide some extended explanation for my vote and will also answer to comments of Lionel Scheepmans below:
- WMF has 50 mln USD - why can't they give us 10 ths EUR? That's not a valid argument at all, the non-commercial activity means efficiency and it doesn't mean that you must spend money if you have it - you should search for the best value for that money. Thousands of readers donate money to WMF not just to spend them but to use them in supporting Wikimedia movement and getting the best impact possible.
- you are saying that you want "to start slowly" - that's a nice idea! But it doesn't mean that the grants' program should be limited, it mostly means that there is no need of monthly personal meetings, no need to rent offices, etc. - start from being a group of enthusiatic Wikimedians who will help members of your community to get WMF grants, learn what are the problems of your Wikimedia project and target your grants programme to problems identified. The creation of a chapter isn't an ultimate goal itself, the chapter is an organic development of the internal community when you extremely need some legal organization to get partnerships with institutes, when you need to sign agreements with them, when you need some official role to contact with your stakeholders.
- speaking about our "expectation than we will start an offline organization with the spirit and budget of an online organization" - you got the idea! That's the main feature of Wikimedia: WMF runs top popularity website with limited paid staff, thousands of volunteers create value and content, lots of volunteers develop MediaWiki source code and various related projects. You shouldn't be like all that usual organizations, you should think in the other way: Wikipedia is written by volunteers, the same volunteers drive their own projects, and the main feature of a chapter should be enthusiastic volunteers, not employees working according to their daily routine. Be creative, think out of the box and don't look after Coca Cola, Google and typical staff. Why do you need to see everybody once a month? Don't you have Skype, Hangouts, etc.? I was the member of Wikimedia RU since 2013 but the first time other members of the chapter saw me alive was November 2014 - that created no problems for anybody as other members of the chapter had my email, twitter, phone number and I was always in touch with them.
- you are saying that 10 ths EUR is not that much and it's cheap to travel within your country - again, we need to remember about value for money. While you need to spend 8 ths EUR to spend 1,5 ths EUR on grants, one of the leading Indian language Wikipedias needs less that 2 ths USD to create a catalog of 6 ths books that are really essential for the development of their project.
- I directly voted against the project as the same questions and concerns that I had were already raised by Alex and the community. As a result there were no changes to the grant proposal - there is still no clear impact on Wikimedia movement/projects, there is still majority of overheads in the budget and the only activity that would possibly create benefits to Wikimedia movement is grants delivery: I see no improvement or efficiency here as the same grants could be processed via IEG or PEG - grant committee will work on the proposals, score them, speak with grantees, and all that grant reviewing will be performed at zero cost, without any face-to-face meetings of the committee, as we are working here on volunteer basis despite of quite extensive donation of our own time and skills. rubin16 (talk) 20:14, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
- And I think here will be my latest comments to reply from Lionel Scheepmans below: I put it here as I think that general ideas are applicable not only for this grant, but for the whole grantmaking process. rubin16 (talk) 19:52, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
- Sorry, if you read my answers as some mentor or directive comments - I am speaking about my own opinion and my own experience, the whole comment is from my own point of view. But the opinion and the experience is the only thing that GAC committee can bring here - we are not able to change your request ourselves, we just share you with the idea how your request looks like for other people.
- again: you tell me about costs that couldn't be avoided - I agree that if you travel somewhere you need to pay for it and it's not so cheap as in India, for example. But I am not saying that such costs wouldn't be funded and you should pay yourself, I want to say that this is an activity that could be avoided at all and you wouldn't bear costs for it. That's the main thing here: there is no need of monthly meetings, just use Skype to stay in touch and that would save your time and WMF money. At the moment we are reviewing another proposal and I brought the same idea there and proposed to use Skype, not travel to meet. But they have a reasonable explanation - there is no high-speed and stable communication channel in their region - and that's justifying their request from this point of view, but I don't think it's applicable for a such a developed European country as Belgium.
- again, I am not teaching you how to develop your chapter and I am not pushing the way our local chapter develops to others: I am quite interested in the Wikimedia movement and I try to stay in touch with it not only in Russia, but I also follow activities of Wikimedia France, Wikimedia Israel, Wikimedia Eesti, Wikimedia UK, DE, etc. Overheads, fixed costs, paying staff - that's not the thing the chapter should start from, the secret of success is volunteers and enthusiasts. So, it's not a national fight in any way - it's an accumulated experience. The same idea is promoted by FDC who already brought community's attention that increased overheads and hiring of additional staff don't lead to impact increased in the same proportion.
- you spoke about working with European parliament - that's a great activity with clear impact: why haven't you included into your proposal? That's the impact we are searching for - outreach, partnerships, promotion of Wikimedia movements, attracting of new editors, but not organizing internal meetings of the chapters, paying rent and other overheads. Though I voted against the proposal, I stayed commenting here trying to explain my position and trying to make you aware of the grant review process: if you are not able to fix this proposal now, it could be valuable for future projects.
- and once more - there is no national fight. When I showed the grant proposal for Telugu Wikipedia, it was aimed on showing the impact and the difference of two proposals: Wikimedia is a worldwide movement and though there are some priorities (Global South, gender gap), there is no difference where grant will go to - there is no obligation to spend certain amount for some region or something like that. So, when I review dozens of grants, I see that some projects bring more value for money and have better impact - that's why I would support them; when some requests are not so good - I can't support them as it means that we are spending money not in the most efficient way and won't be able to fund some better requests rubin16 (talk) 19:52, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
- And I think here will be my latest comments to reply from Lionel Scheepmans below: I put it here as I think that general ideas are applicable not only for this grant, but for the whole grantmaking process. rubin16 (talk) 19:52, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
3. Capacity building of the boardEdit
3.1. Organisation regular Board Meetings (6x)Edit
Can you please elaborate more the reasons for the necessity of 6 meetings in real life? What is the reason to not do the IRC/Skype/Hangout/TeamSpeak/... meeting? Thank you.
— Danny B. 02:24, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
This might be actually maybe a question to WMF (@ AWang?) rather than to you, but still - shouldn't this rather be handled by the event scholarships?
— Danny B. 02:24, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
- Hey, we had some delay when filing the grant request. As discussed, we found an organisation willing to host us for the coming General Assembly. This means the grant will lower with about 800€ (cost of rental for the venue). MADe (talk) 17:23, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Comments from Kolonel ZeiksnorEdit
1200 euro for 6 board meetings. A waste of money imo. Only a few people were present at the last meeting.
Why not look for a free alternative? I see now above they did find a free alternative, however I agree with Tony this plan was not launched in time. Attendance 2 persons to Wikimedia related conferences (Wikimedia Conference, Hackathon) 1040 euro. Can't these people pay their own bills for their hobby? Belgium is one of the richest countries in the world. 2 Project Days: rent of the venue with coffee (2x 700€) and transport costs for attendees (2x 150€). That is ridiculous and outrageous. A question for MADe: would you spend all this money the same way if you would have worked for it yourself? If the foundation needs to spend all this money I suggest to donate to amnesty international or a similar organisation. Kolonel Zeiksnor (talk) 09:35, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
- As for time Mr Zeiksnor we were very much pressed for time, our chapter was kick=started less then 2 months ago, so we made a nice effort in working out a plan of action and a budget. As for free alternatives : i would welcome your suggestions for free alternatives of spaces we could use for meetings and activities, that provide a certain privacy, insulation from and for the public around us, that provides e-connectivity required and preferrably easily reached by public transport in the Brussels area? --DerekvG (talk) 01:01, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
- Kolonel Zeiksnor: While we appreciate your participation in the grant discussion and efforts to improve the grant request, please be mindful of your tone. It is fine to offer constructive feedback, but it should be done in a respectful manner. Thank you in advance for helping to support a productive and friendly grants space. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 04:51, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for answering DerekvG and thank you for advice Alex Wang. DerekvG, if my feedback was considered not respectfull I appologize. As you may know I am a volunteer in your startup team, my intention is to contribute in a respectfull manner. You say you were pressed for time. Why hurry? You lowered the grant with 800 euro in a few days time. You are now asking for suggestions for free alternatives of spaces you could use for meetings and activities. Don't you agree questions like that should have been asked before filing the grant request?
Your group is requesting 9660 euro. This money comes from donations all over the world. Like from India where middle income families have an income between $10 to $50 per day. Can you explain such a middle income familie from India that donated why their money 1040 (!) euro is needed for two Belgium people to vist a Wikimedia Conference or a Hackathon? Also for you the same question I asked MADe: would you spend all this money the same way if you would have worked for it yourself?
I'm a bit puzzled about the boardmeeting issue: "we do not have a paid employee yet...". Isn't it a bit early for a starting chapter to have a paid employee? If you want to comment I suggest to do so at Forum de la communauté. Kolonel Zeiksnor (talk) 06:13, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
- Hey Z, I appreciate your comments. For years, the Belgian volunteers have worked like you propose it. They met eachother in a free venue, used own funds to attend Wikipedia related events all over the world, paid their own train tickets if they worked several days as volunteer during a conference. I remember I 'couchsurfed' with a Wikipedian when I was helping with an event. No money was spent, but ...
- Regularly we got complaints about the bad location of our meetups (too loud, bad connection public transport). We depended too much on a select group of people to attend interesting conferences and events, people willing to spend their own money and time. We had a colleague running into problems at night when a planned "couchsurf" with a wikicolleague did not work out (do you think we could reach female partipants this way?). It is not fair to expect members from NL, LU to attend meetings at their own cost when they are assisting with volunteering.
- At the same time, you should realise that we only got sporadic contacts with other organisations. I got to work with the KIK-IRPA, but that's about it. At the same time, there is a great demand with Belgian organisations to 'support the Wiki initiative'. But with no local team, Wikimedians involved with chapters from FR, NL, AU and DE (not with us) took over this role.
- Thanks to the support of the Foundation we have worked to set up a vzw/absl with clear responsabilities. In good faith we invested time and effort to get it founded (legally and with the Foundation). We indeed found organisations willing to support us financially: the General Assembly was in a free venue, and we will need to organise the Project Days in a free venue too. As mentioned in the Grant Request ("Additional sources of revenue") we know these possibilities exist but choose to focus on growing our member and board structure, hence the three parts in our grant application. We will focus on external funding in the budget for H2.
- As to your comments, I would invite Mr. Statler and Mr. Zeiksnor (not Mr Waldorf!) to join our organiation (vzw). This will allow you to give feedback and you will get a good view on "what we do with the money". And that we are not even considering a paid employee MADe (talk)
- You claim that I should "know I am a volunteer in your startup team, my intention is to contribute in a respectfull manner." Are you a volunteer in our startup team ? You started using Meta on jan 26th 2015 , and you haven't presented yourself. I haven't heared ANY of your contributions and criticism while we were working on this budget and startup over the last weeks , neither on our page . If you are a respectful member of our team you should have contributed to the establishement of our beudget and grant request, rather the come here and take a shot at us form our backs. SO I suggest Mr Zeiksnor you properly present yourself to us at the next occasion and I will gladly hand in my resignation and propose to turn my function over to you , who is obviously so much better placed to start a new chapter, orgasnise activities and make it work out of the blue and moreover you can do all of this for free, i must admit iḿ a total faillure, a waste of space and fresh air requesting money and wasting those poor indians contributions for my personal pleasures --DerekvG (talk) 00:07, 28 January 2015 (UTC) BTW : you weren't at our GA, there are no traces of any involvement on your part with the establishement of our chapter, so what I've come to know so far : KolZeiksnor is not a volunteer in the startup team, so my question is who are you and lying about "respectfull manners",too? further more what is your purpose when you quote a remark out of context from board meeting --DerekvG (talk) 02:04, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
- Actually, Kolonel Zeiksnor has quite the track record. Natuur12 (talk) 10:54, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
- I did check track records that Natuur12 indicated, so i'm now convinced that :
- A) you are NOT a volunteer on our startup team , at least not under this Kolonel Zeiksnor username, thta you wer not present at our General Assembly and that you have not participated in any meeting or on-line discussions sofar;
- B) you have not made a single contribution / suggestion during our startup phase on how we should organsie ourselves, what programmatic activities we could engage in, what spaces we could use for events and activties, or how we coudl get alternative financing for the events and actvities we inted to organise , so your claim that that a volunteer in the Wikimedia Blegium startup team is clearly a hoax.
- C) I asked you for suggestions of free accomodaton for our events, activities and board meetings, because is suspect you are (despite your fasle claims about volunteering) familiar with the belgium and with Brussels. Your suggestions amounts to nothing.
- D) your "questions" are indicative of your past behaviour and have been the subject of discussions, suspensions, blocks, arbcom decisions until you were definitively banned from the NL wikipedia
So, if I understand the situation, who criticize our grant have this expectation than we will start an offline organization with the spirit and budget of an online organization (that's means every body volunteer and zero budget). I invite every one to read this essay to understand than online environment and offline environment are definitely different in term of constrains and possibilities (This essay was initially written in French and you are welcome to make the English version better).
Dear AWang and Rubin16, I think than an offline organization has to born with face to face meetings to cerate friendship and trust between people. The mysterious Mr Kolonel Zeiksnor is a perfect demonstration. Nobody in Belgium Chapter see him face to face ans it's really difficult to feel if his intention are good or not. Maye be Mr Kolonel Zeiksnor is just one more troll of the web, maybe a future wonderful companion for our next offline activities ? How to know this before meet him and discuss with the rest of the team about how we are and what's are we inspected participating in Chapter activities ? We cant do this kind of activities on line. I means, yes we can but in this case why not reach together the Project Belgium and forgot about creating a new Chapter ?
For me there is no way to create a new chapter without organize regular face to face meeting with all member. And this first steep mean obviously a certain budget to help people to gathering. Belgium is a small country, public transport still quite cheap in comparison with other counties, so why not profit of this situation ? Let's meet us as often than possible ! We need more women contribute to Wikipedia, so let's go ! Previous Romaine's experiences prove than women are more represent during offline organizations than online organizations.
But we cant forget that gathering people and make it in good condition have price. We cant forget than People like me, who have lot of time to invest on a non profit organization, usually are unemployed. We can forget than making partnerships with Belgium organisms call necessity of face to face meeting. For this two option : volunteer pays to go to partner's places or we invite partner on a single place. If 20 organisms come to our project day that's mean 20 volunteer journeys and presentations saved. But can we decently invite future partners on a pub which are already too noisy for a member meeting ? Do you think also than found a Working place for free on the city of European community easy ? Concretely, I've spend a couple of hours using my mother's phone to found a free place to make our first general assembly with a double return to the place (without WMF grant...). Now we have to pay at least 300 € to rend a bigger room on the same place to organize our first project day. And you know what ? We still don't know how to pay it...
9,660€ is a ridiculous amount in compare of the approximately 50.000.000 $ annual budget of the Foundation. We have to build up a new chapter on a strategic place full of lobbying and international organisms. That's not a game for teenager. We have to be serious, and credible, otherwise Wikimedia foundation will miss lot of opportunities and just get a bad reputation on business, political and NGO circles. The GAC have to encourage our initiative and understand that an offline organization have to start with a main budget for gathering people with the objective to create a strong and trusty network in Belgium. This is a first and normal step to create a Wikimedia Chapter in this specific Belgium political and associative environment. We need GAC's trust and money to start chapter organization and we will prove thought our reports than 9,660€ is nothing to deal with the actual pressure received from members and organisms.
- Mr User:Rubin16, after few research, I've tried to understand who are you for helping me to understand your position. But your are contributor with hidden identity and it's not easy (even more for people who don't read Russian). I just know than you are starting with Grant_Advisory_Committee but old administrator and probably one of the best contributor on Russian Wikipedia. So let's me start to congratulate and thank you for all of your time giving for free to for Russian Wikipedia. I'm not saying this with ironies. The quality of wikipedia was created by people like you and that's wonderful. But unfortunately people like you are also for me the reason of the decrease of participation of new contributor and volunteer on Wikimedia projects.
- I won't spend many time on this page for two contradictory reasons :
- Tomorrow, I have to go to Brussels for participate to a project day and I still have think to do.
- I don't want to spend any more time for Wikipemia project.
- Wikipedia are full of people like you Mr User:Rubin16 who spend so many time and energy like volunteer to grow up the online wikimedia project than they are blameless and feel in wikimdia project at home, teaching every people about what to do and how to do.
- This is my eaction point by point about your last edit :
- Don't tell me "That's not a valid argument at all" We are not on tribunal and you don't have abilities to judge my argue. Also how do you know this : « Thousands of readers donate money to WMF not just to spend them but to use them in supporting Wikimedia movement and getting the best impact possible » can you read on mine of every donor and make statistic ? We need money not for for fun but to pay what will became soon our debt. Tomorrow we have to found 300 € to pay the sheep room that we will use for our day and I have to found personally the money to go and come back to Brussels from my home. I'v already did it 4 timejust for this couple of weeks (4 x 20 € = 80 €). Just to tel you I'm living with 500 € per month like unemployed... 10 volunteers will come and back home for this event (200 €). Just for this two weeks, we already spend 580 € for the benefit of Wikimedia. So, Just a question Mr User:Rubin16 : How money do you spend to block our grant with fallacious arguments ?
- Please don't teach us what is a Chapter and how we have to grow it. You have probably no idea about what's happen here with the pressure of institutions and the activity of one our member already working full time in contact with European parliament. If you are part of a chapter in Russia, I never tell you how to deal with your chapter on a country where I just know about political problem and corruption. You are probably expert about your country, like we are probably better expert than you in our country. And please don't turn it on national fight. If you are living in Belgium, or if you have some expertise about this country, that's possible, you are welcome to joint our Chapter team.
- We are not talking here to write the encyclopedia or editing code from a comfortable place at home. We are talking about creating and maintain a association which have to deal with Belgium government and institutions. We are creative. And we are thinking out of the box. This box is yours Mr User:Rubin16, the box of person who seems to have a perfect vision and knowledge of all the world through the screen of his computer.
- One more time. You speak about Indian people, but what do you know about this country ? I spend two mouth there full of wikimedia activities and if there is one thing that confirm what I've already learn during my master in anthropology, that's to never compare money and value in two different socio economic places. That's a non sense. In India I've spend 0,5 € to go from Pondicherry to Chenai by train (162 km). What can I do with 0,5 € in Belgium ?
- You start a point with "I directly voted against the project" Why directly ? This is typically a reaction of actual admin on Wikipedia. There is a newcomer without experience about Wiki but full of informations, abilities and knowledge. But his first tentative to edit on wikipedia is "directly" deleted by people like you who know every thing and have the power position. So, this newcomer, go away, why spending time for free in this condition ? And that's exactly my feeling right now. Why did I spend time to discuss with a person who know every thing and have the power position.
- Your complaint is : "there is still no clear impact on Wikimedia movement/projects, there is still majority of overheads in the budget" This is exactly the same situation when a newcomer clumsily starts a new article on Wikipedia. You are only looking about the quality of the edition and not the importance of the subject. So you delete the page before seeing what it can become. For the rest, Mr User:Rubin16 and Co. If you thing that's possible to start a Chapter like a grant committee : " performed at zero cost, without any face-to-face meetings of the committee, as we are working here on volunteer basis despite of quite extensive donation of our own time and skills. " Do it your self. I'm sick about dealing with all people like you on wikimedia project.
- I finish with this present for you and your friends. A video started when you was still newb and when Wikipedia was still a open project in its code but also its spirit. Have a nice day Mr User:Rubin16 and sorry for my bad English, Lionel Scheepmans ✉ Contact 23:45, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I happy to see that you change your attitude even you still don't understand every thing about our situation with the Belgium Chapter. I wish you the best for you wikimedia activity like in your daily live.
Like you are Project and Event Grants Program Officer for Wikimedia, I have to say you somethings :
Some time I think that's maybe offering possibility to wikimedians to request grant is a risk to loose wikimedian or decrease their wikimedian activity when the grant are not accepted. Last year I've leave a submission to Wikimedia foundation to receive a grant to go to wikimania. When I've receive a negative reply without explicit explanation, I was very disappointed and I've starting thinking about not spending so many time on wikimedia project which don't recognize my value − a value completely subjective that's clear because I have no idea about my wikimedia engagement in comparison with all other volunteers. In the end I finally receive a grant from Wikimedia CH which permit to assist to wikimania London, and my reaction started to be completely opposite. I didn't receive so much money, but I was feeling with a debt to Wikimedia. After wikimania, I've made a big an analytic report where other people just right few lines.
Other example : I traveled in India during the end of last year and I've spend many time to share my knowledge about wikip(m)edia. It was a complete private initiative and I did it without thinking about asking money. I didn't know even the existence of grant from the foundation which can be applicable for this type of activity. But some body talked to me that's possible. Now I've edit grant page for my next individual initiative. And suddenly, something stupid starting in my mine. A simple question. What's I will do if the grant is not accepted ? Continue the project like I've already planed or spend less time ans start to be a "lazy wikimedian". Will I spend time on the beach rather than in front of my computer, or dancing and drinking with people during the carnival rather than taking pictures and movies, carrying my bulky camera on its stand ? That's a stupid question because if I didn't ask for a grant, I will probably do everything like I did before in India. Just for fun an for the pleasure to share my time an talent with the rest of the world in a pure gift economy logic. But now, with the deception that can be created by a refuse of my grant, why not trying to get money if my video report is good enough putting it in copyright license ? Waw... A human be like me can be so fragile, so unstable.
But I really love the gift economy. That's probably for me one of the best option to go out the actual economical and spiritual human crisis. So with my experiences shared just before I would like to bing the question about : Is the grant process leaded like Wikimedia foundation do right now, not working against the gift economy which keeps alive all the global Wikimedia project ?
I believe yes. And I believe this for the same reason than election work against democracy. Election process like grant process don't distribute equality through human be. Both are elitist process giving money and power to the cleverest people, creating by the way jalousie, competition and trouble between human be.
Also, when people make donation to wikipedia they give money without condition. So why Wikimedia distribute a part of this money with conditions ? Why only to people who are able to edit a grant submission in English ? Why spending so much time energy on (at least) uncomfortable discuss, the money than people gived without saying one word ?
That's for me a very important questions that maybe request a debate on our comunity and why not a round table during nest wikimania. What is your opinion ? Where can we, if you or other member want, continue this debate ? Lionel Scheepmans ✉ Contact 22:37, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
- One more important notice : Wikimedia Belgium have already 586.49 € of official debt 150 € for the rent of the room for the project day and 436.49 € payed with his own moner by Dimi z for import tax of boxes of goodies send for the Fosdem (this is not include all travel of members which every body payed with his own money) . Don't accept our submission of grant is one thing but leave our Chapter and our members with debt and lake of money about what they spend for Wikimedia projects and the Foundation it self is definitely not cool. Can you help us on this situation with a priority for Dimi z who stay with serious financial problem after payed tax import ? Thanks in advence AWang and have a nice day. Lionel Scheepmans ✉ Contact 15:03, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Just a reminder to everyone that there is abolutely no need to "apologise" for one's English. I think we're very grateful that international Wikimedians are prepared to put the extra work into writing in a foreign language, and we appreciate that this is an added difficulty. If there are things we don't understand in the application, it's easy enough to ask you. Please assume that part of our role is to extract intended meaning as well as we can. Thank you. Tony (talk) 13:08, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for the grant request -- it's great to see that WMBE is building off last year's start-up work and hoping to support projects this coming year. Please see our questions/comments below:
- Our understanding is that WMBE does not plan to organize programmatic activities itself, but to fund community ideas through a small grants program. Is this correct? If yes, do you have interest in organizing activities like an online writing competition or series of editing training sessions (or is this what the 7 projects are)? Please provide more details on the types of projects you hope to fund. What is the expected impact on the Wikimedia projects? Will you fund projects focused on content creation/improvement/donation? It would be great if this type of soliciting activity ideas could be done on wiki.
- WM BE is considering our own activities. However, we wanted to make a generic "grant system", here on Meta, useful for all kinds of projects: big/small, by our board/members or external organisations. As a second step we planned the Project Days, an easy way for board/volunteers/organisations to get together and team up. We hope that Grant System + Project Days = A lot of Nice Projects. And altough we hope somebody will propose things like a writing competition, it can be that much more!
- What are the transportation costs associated with the Project Days?
- See comment below, train tickets for members and board members attending the activity.
- How have you solicited input from the community in Belgium regarding the chapter's activities? If you haven't already done so, it would be great to run a geo-located banner for logged in users on the Dutch, French, and German Wikipedias with a link to a survey. The survey could include questions about how the chapter can support the editing community. For example, what would you like to see the chapter do? What activities do you see yourself participating in organized by the chapter? Let us know if you would like help with a survey or banner.
- As a Belgian Wiki organisation, we need to follow both Belgian law (budget of an ngo needs to be accepted by its members) and WMF requirements. We did it buy organising the General Assmbly last weekend, where we proposed the budget. Some weeks before (beginning Jan), people were invited to join the GA and the discussion about the budget, eg. on wiki, via email, via Twitter and our website.
- One of the parts of our grant request is "outreach efforts to our community" (part #1), where we specifically want to spread knowledge about our organisation and our grant system. We do not think "wiki banners" are the only solution here, as this only targets the group already active onwiki (my experience with those banners is rather poor). I think your proposals (survey, banners) are good and we will consider them for the coming activities.
- Monthly in-person board meetings seem like a lot of effort and cost, especially considering your modest programmatic activity. We would recommend virtual meetings and keeping in-person meetings to 2-4xs a year.
- You are right. This might nog be necdessary once the organisation is properly set up and "runs smoothly". However, we are not that far, and we decided to specifally include "capacity building of the board" (part #3) in our request. We have a board member from The Netherlands, several from outside Brussels, and included the transport costs (public transport). We have a venue we can use for the event, but this can be tricky during weekends and late evenings, as such we included also money for a little venue (I rounded off to €100).
- Given our will to build a strong board, especially in this phase, we did not consider virtual meetings.
- How will the chapter participate in FOSDEM and what is the expected outcome from having a booth?
- We have a very specific goal: tell everybody about 1) our organisation, 2) our grant system and 3) our project days.
- Do you have more details on the possible meetings with members of the Dutch, French, and German chapters? Are there specific opportunities you're hoping to take advantage of or challenges you'd like to deal with in the next 6 months?
- We own a lot to the Dutch. They have attended several of our meetings in the last six months, and we can/must learn a lot from them. People from our board attended the General Meeting from WM NL, somebody else a meeting from them on "Online communication".
- Similarly, our French speaking members want to liaise with the WM FR (eg. our Grant System is based on their microgrants). MADe (talk) 20:43, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
- In the past years the team of Wikimedia Belgium has organised and supported various activities. These include edit-a-thons, trainings in editing Wikipedia and other projects, we speak at conferences, we communicate and talk with cultural institutions, we make image donations happen together with museums and others, but we also have organised projects like Wiki Loves Monuments. The activities which we have supported are both organised by ourselves as by other members of the community. We have given several training sessions in the past, but also already multiple ones since the founding of Wikimedia Belgium. We already have several plans to have more of them this year. But we are no fortune tellers, no Wikimedia chapter is. We have intentions to organise edit-a-thons/workshops for like 40 people, depending on the organisation we work with. We also have projects about image donations. In the past years it was very frustrating to organise those projects, as cultural institutions and other organisations expect a formal organisation to work with (otherwise it is almost impossible), and second we spend a lot of effort and money to travel to various cultural organisations, European Commission, European Parliament, educational organisations, even while this often does not give short-term results, due bureaucracy and more, and in the end the goodwill and and good information about Wikipedia and Wikimedia counts. This slowly starts to give us fruits, like with an organisation we now work 5 years with, now comes to the point they started to work on image donations about the Belgian cultural heritage for Wikipedia. Is this important? Yes, Belgian is relatively worse represented on Wikipedia and the government and cultural institutions are now slowly looking which steps are taken next.
- Costs from board members and our members.
- We have requested feedback on our mailing list, various on wiki community pages, Twitter, and more. We also had a General Assembly to get input from our members.
- We have noticed in the past four years that virtual meetings mostly did not work, however our physical meetings appeared to be very effective. We have to deal with the difficulty of Belgian law, we have a multilingual team, virtual communication works for us only in some cases. To give an impression: by having 4 in-person meetings a year and the rest only virtual, it took us 4 years to found the chapter. The question we asked ourselves: do we want to be active and lively/vivid, or do we want to be slow and ineffective? Also with our partners we notice that they prefer in-person meetings to built up trust, confidence and understanding.
- Additional: we present ourselves. We have a meeting place where we can show the importance of Wikipedia/Wikimedia to the open software world and vice versa. We hope to meet various potential partners, getting to know them and having us working with them in future.
- We do not want to waste money and invent the wheel for the 43th time, if it is not more, but want to learn form our colleagues in the Netherlands, France, the UK and Germany. To be a much more effective chapter, we like to have their experience shared with us.
- Romaine (talk) 23:31, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
- I'm member of [Wikimedia France] and [Wikimedia CH] and I follow both organization to learn about them how to deal with Belgian Chapter and not make same mistakes. Lionel Scheepmans ✉ Contact 14:29, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
Alex, allow me to come back on your comment :
- Monthly in-person board meetings seem like a lot of effort and cost, especially considering your modest programmatic activity. We would recommend virtual meetings and keeping in-person meetings to 2-4xs a year.
As a starting group we do a lot of our work in the virtual world, through a range electronic communications, however we need to build a team. Our team consist of group a diverse individuals who have a single common goal : the establishement of the wikimedia chapter. That primary common goal made verybody work together but organising event with public participation has already shown diverging appraoches. Some of our volunteers have all the characteritics of quickly becoming unguided projectiles after the an idea is launched, they do come from an environment (wikipedia) that is esentially anarchistic/libertarian community driven, and that has a marked adversity for regulation . As a team we need to work in teamwork and most of the current most active volunteers are loners, cowboys that get on their horse and gallop away to the horizon, but not necessarily in the direction the rest of the team wants to go. This does create tension and friction which is not easily resolved using electronic communication even like voip-calls/ confernce calls or video conferencing. As such we need to establish a working method for our teamwork, and a way to guide those individual misslies; because we do have a responsibility towards our usercommunity (and getting them together), but in the short term we do have (legal) responsibilities towards the official institutions of our country, and both moral and financial responsibilities towards the foundation and the whole of the user community. If we do want to fulfill these responisibilites correctly and effectively, we need to build that team and establish a framework that makes these different personalities work together, overcomes their adversity for direction, control and regulation. Once we have established the underlying confidence, trust and the relationsships between the volunteers and had some handson experience in organsiing some events, the rate of in person meetings will "naturally" decline and more will be done in a virtual manner. I do agree with your comment, but trust us (me) when I say that the current number of in person meetings is limited and that the rate of those will decline. Moreover we do intend to have those meetings in conjunction with other (outreach, and community building) events we organise or participate in.--DerekvG (talk) 00:38, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
- Thinking about our contacts with partner organisations and evaluating many of our activities, the key issue why Wikipedia/Wikimedia has a Gendergap can be found in the situation that women in general like to have more social contact than only being active alone with the computer. If I look into activities like edit-a-thons I organised the past years, there is no Gendergap as at least 50% is female, but often even more female contributors do participate. Female contributors seems to prefer a more social environment to contribute to Wikipedia and prefer continuous in-person collaboration to be more active over a longer period. Romaine (talk) 03:07, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Comments from Alleycat80Edit
Dear user:MADe and user:DerekvG, thank you for submitting the proposal. I won't repeat the points by community members and Alex, though I do agree with their spirit (if disagree with some of the tones). The main missing point in your proposal is lack of "impact", which in plain English, is clear programmatic work = projects. The request focuses on actions (meetings/conferences) rather than outcomes (# of projects / mini-grants funded, articles written, members of the community organized into the future chapter...).
Please do not interpret the next few paragraphs as flat-out criticism, just my ideas of how to help you achieve a better organization in WM-BE and a better proposal (in the future, since Alex has already covered what can be funded):
- Have a general work plan in mind. You are an organized board, full of smart people. That's already a great resource! Work on a shared Google Document, and start outlining what you want to achieve in 1...3...even 5 years. Goals can be: "Sustainable collaboration with 2-3 GLAM institutions", or "30 active community members, participating in 5 active projects" - please make your own and be creative AND bold - aspire to do great things, and people will share your vision.
- Set up volunteer projects, but according to your priorities. Yes, having a budget for ad-hoc requests can work. But, from my experience in WMIL (where we've had this for many years, until we CANCELLED IT), it can backfire - people see this as an opportunity to cover own costs in doing what they like. For example, we get many requests like: I want to travel Israel and take photographs for cool places and upload to the Commons, please help me purchase a camera.
- Make sure you get the diversity thing right. You mention quite a lot of different communities involved, from many nationalities. I live in a place like this (Israel) - and it's really hard to build relationships accross communities. Keep that in mind, and try to take advantage of specific knowledge which exists across different communities such as linguistic knowledge and specific cultural heritage. I know it's a bit obscure, but I have no specific knowledge about your example (for example having people from NL active in Belgium).
- Minimize 'general assemblies', maximize project related gatherings. As a long time board member, I find that most of the work is carried out between meetings, not in them. Too many meetings are couterproductive. If you only carry out work during or near meetings, you have a very bad problem.
- Attend conferences sparsely - I'm going to voice an unpopular opinion. I think that confrerences, while fun and help motivate ALREADY ACTIVE people, are not overly productive unless you have specific goals to achieve (e.g. go to Wikimania in order to establish relations with the Spanish Chapter, or copy a specific project). I think conferences and large gatherings are mostly fun, memorable events and not professional. (WMConf is somewhat different, and even there I'm not sure). I'd much rather encourage you to read about existing working projects, and talk/e-mail to their organizers or seek WMF help. Which brings me to the last point:
- Be bold! - - - I think your proposal shows some passivity ("We're waiting for people to suggest ideas that we can fund"). Is it because you're afraid of failure? I encourage you to try and fail! We are failing all the time in Israel, including in ideas copied from abroad. But, once in a while, an idea really succeeds, and then when it does we really do allocate resources to make it work all across the country.
I hope this does not sound condescending, I'm trying my best to frame what I see as a successful foundation to a chapter, from my own experience. I hope this is of some help to you. I do invite you, Alex, or any other GAC member to disagree with me :D
Learning patterns/Let the community know says: Founding WMBE we had the problem that different groups preferred different channels - mailing list, social networks, wiki, direct messages. This lead to some misunderstandings between community members. We've decided that there must be central communication channel that is always updated and official to ensure information coherence. This channel should be accepted by most. Additional channels are necessary, but must act as "additional broadcasts" of the central information. For WMBE we decided to build up a front-end website to act as the core channel.
Thank you for the additional comments on the discussion. The issues raised by rubin16 are valid and continue to be our main concerns with this proposal. We appreciate that the WMBE community has provided more information on growing activities in your specific context. I have asked the team for a call in the next week so we can clarify the context, expectations, and next steps on the proposal. However, I'd like to summarize here what we are comfortable funding.
- 2 in-person board meetings/year (so 1 for this grant request) for continued relationships building. The board was able to meeting in person during last year's start-up phase and establish working relationships. We would expect online communication to suffice for coordination. There are many ways to do this -- for example, the Wikimedia Polska board meets on IRC weekly, while the WMF board meets monthly in video hangouts.
- Attendance at Wikimedia conferences, including the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin (2 people) and the Hackathon (if there is a need for participation and identified expected outcome).
- Attendance at other chapter meetings. We would expect the grant report to include a list of the meetings attended and outcomes brought back to the community from each meeting.
- Presence at other aligned events. We will need more details on which events (in addition to FOSDEM) and what the goal of participation would be.
- General assembly/website/communications.
- A small grants system, including a budget of up to 2,000 EUR for the chapter to cover ad-hoc requests. This has worked very well with other chapters, such as Wikimedia Polska and Wikimedia Czech Republic.
- Additional specific programmatic activities. While we understand your rationale for the Project Days, we do want your programmatic activity to go through the review process by the GAC and WMF staff. The way it is currently proposed is basically a blanket approval for project funds. We understand your first event is to introduce GLAM institutions to working with Wikimedia. That's great. Romaine listed the other planned events, such as editathons, content release projects, etc. Please provide more specific plans and budgets. You can include a line item to cover costs associated with meeting with GLAM institutions if that is a focus.
Thank you for making updates to the request and for talking with us about the chapter's strategy in this first phase of projects. The Project Days approach is not a method for project planning and volunteer engagement that we would expect or typically support, and we do share some of the concerns raised by Alleycat80 above. However, based on further consideration of your context and community, we are willing to fund this as a pilot. We will be very interested to see how this approach solicits ideas and how projects are developed and implemented based on the conversations that take place over those couple of days. As we discussed, it will be important to align the volunteer community's capacity to these projects and not over-commit to partnerships or projects that don't have enough volunteer interest or time to follow through on. We're hopeful that some interesting and impactful projects come out of these discussions! Cheers, Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 23:50, 20 February 2015 (UTC)