Grants talk:Programs/Wikimedia Alliances Fund/Building awareness on digital literacy and Wikipedia's free knowledge movement

Concerns as a local long term volunteer edit

As a Wikimedia volunteer with more than a decade in the movement, I feel extremely concerned seeing this grant proposal.

  1. This proposal comes from a non-profit company (verify) which had no presence in the Wikimedia movement before and is not an open knowledge organization.
  2. The grant proposal focuses in the area of West Bengal, where a Wikimedia regional affiliate named West Bengal Wikimedians User Group is operating for almost 5 years now. There had been no communication or consultation with the affiliate.
  3. West Bengal has a Wikimedia community since 2007. There had been no communication or consultation with even the veteran Wikimedians from the region who had built the movement from scratch there.
  4. There had been no communication with the Bengali, Hindi or English language project communities on respective village pumps or mailing lists.
  5. As a new player in the movement, the grantee organization totally lacks knowledge and insight about Wikimedia projects and local community dynamics.
  6. The grantee company has asked for a huge grant with no budget breakdown. It is not at all clear how this huge amount will be spent.
  7. The entire proposal is extremely vague and lack details.
  8. The digital training section which had been mentioned is so basic that it does not justify the huge amount to be spent. In fact, the local community and affiliates do this kind of training for free.
  9. Some of the educational institutions in the said regions has opened very recently after almost last 2 years as an effect of the ongoing pandemic and may get closed again as new variants of coronavirus are spreading fast. In this regard, it is totally impractical to spend money to involve students who has much more priority to complete their syllabus first than to learn Wikimedia projects.

As a long term volunteer from the region and as a representative member of the West Bengal Wikimedians User Group, it feels extremely distressing to see this extremely vague grant proposal asking for huge amount of money without any communication and consultation of local Wikimedia veterans and affiliate, who had been building the movement from zero to what now it is there. From another grant proposal, the concerned grantee said that "I believe there is some engagement with the WMF and Anudip Foundation." If that is true and if WMF is bringing new players into the region and showing them huge amount of money without any communication with the local affiliate, I would very interested to know about the people and reason behind this. I believe, this a pretty dangerous stance taken by WMF (whoever is responsible) which can totally damage the community dynamics and the culture of volunteerism, which had been slowly and steadily built by the veterans and affiliate in the region with deep care. I will notify the user group representatives very soon about this proposal and I believe the affiliate will react to this proposal too. I can only   Strong oppose this proposal. -- Bodhisattwa (talk) 15:40, 4 January 2022 (UTC)Reply

  • আমার উইকি অভিজ্ঞতায় আমি পাঠক তৈরির জন্য এত পরিমাণ অনুদান চাওয়ার কোন উদাহরণ দেখিনি। তাছাড়া এই প্রস্তাবনাটি এমন একটি সংগঠনের কাছ থেকে এসেছে যাদের উইকিমিডিয়া আন্দোলনের সাথে কাজ করার কোন অভিজ্ঞতাই নেই। আমি এই অনুদানের প্রস্তাবনা এবং এই সংগঠনকে যেকোন অনুদান প্রদানে   Strong oppose করছি। MdsShakil (talk) 10:53, 16 January 2022 (UTC)Reply
  • উপরে দুজন বেশ কিছু যৌক্তিক কারণে বিরোধিতা করছেন। আমিও একই কারণে   Strong oppose করছি। ≈ MS Sakib  «TalK» 12:23, 20 January 2022 (UTC)Reply

Response from West Bengal Wikimedians User Group edit


West Bengal Wikimedians User Group is an affiliate working in and around West Bengal on different WIkimedia projects for almost 5 years in close connection with a Wikimedia community which has been there in the region for around 15 years and with like-minded organisations, academic and GLAM institutions from around the globe. The user group consistently tried to uphold the value of open and free knowledge, volunteer spirit and cost-effectiveness of movement money in a transparent way. With this perspective, we have found it necessary to discuss this grant proposal among our members and express our views to this particular grant proposal and the larger process involved around.

The user group representative members hence discussed this proposal in the Annual General Meeting held on 15 and 16 January 2022 and came into consensus together. The group has pointed out the observations below.

The user group, over-all, has observed and is extremely concerned by:

  1. the way this grant proposal has completely ignored the Bengali Wikimedia community for feedback to understand if this proposal, as well as the amount of money asked, is at all necessary in the region or not.
  2. the way this grant proposal has been made, completely bypassing and ignoring existing Wikimedia community volunteers and the affiliate already operating in West Bengal for a long time. Two separate bodies working in the same area without any communication between them have high chances of creating confusion and chaos and damaging the user base in the long term.
  3. lack of experience of the grantee organisation in the Wikimedia movement
  4. lack of project details including the projected expense breakdown in the grant proposal needed to justify it.
  5. the huge amount of revenue asked to bring the target outcome of 10,000 new readers which we believe can be achieved in a much more cost-effective way.
  6. the amount of money asked is huge and frivolous which comes in stark contrast with how the user group has tried to operate in the region taking care of the value of donation money in all these years. (Links to user group reports, includes financial)
  7. the amount of money asked for this simple target can be highly demotivating and frustrating for existing and future volunteers of the region.

Thank you – Hrishikes (talk) 16:23, 16 January 2022 (UTC)Reply
Representative Committee member
(On behalf of West Bengal Wikimedians)

Postscript: User:Atudu, being a member of the Regional Grants Committee and also a member of the West Bengal Wikimedians, was kept out of this AGM discussion, to avoid conflict of interest. Hrishikes (talk) 16:44, 16 January 2022 (UTC)Reply
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