Talk:Finance meeting 2012/Program

Active discussions

Some ideas of topicsEdit

I propose some ideas of topics:

  • Alternative fund-raising methods, preferably not country-specific methods, with for instance grant-asking from foundations, governments, NGOs, etc., merchandise shops, donations in-kind, inheritance…
  • Long term funding model: centralized funding model, decentralized funding model, hybrid funding model, endowment, accountability, audit/controls; in each case, precision of what is clearly stated (e.g. decentralized funding model but centralized online fundraiser, etc.)
  • Global governance: governance (and funding) related to IRL international projects, Wikimedia-projects-related projects (e.g. MediaWiki development, endowment/sustainability), buddying chapters and local groups of chapters (Iberocoop, region-specific groups of chapters), Chapters Council, rich/not-rich chapters, accountability; note that this topic could be very large and shouldn’t excessively overlap other topics.

~ Seb35 [^_^] 10:25, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

General designEdit

We have 2,5 days. I think a general discussion at some moment could be interesting, perhaps a session or even a whole half-day, and centered on a general topic like "long-term funding", possibly at the end of the meeting (Sunday morning, or preferably Saturday afternoon to have time about thinking of the discussion and rediscuss it the Sunday morning).

There could be some high-level operational discussions about alternative fund-raising methods (I detail examples in another section) since we saw it could be interesting to diverse our revenue streams not to be dependant of a single source; I speak as an online-fundraiser chapter, but I know a lot of chapters don’t online-fundraise and so will excel in such a topic. This type of discussion could easily be organized in parallel sessions, so it could be quite reduced in time: half of a day? This type of discussion could be composed of small presentations/introduction and longer discussions and experience sharing.

Another topic, the main, is long-term funding with questions about dissemination and governance. This could be an entire day or 1,5 day, possibly with:

  • 0,5 day in small groups about specific topics: accountability and audit/controls, local or culturally-close groups of chapters, international transfers of funds (either real funds either manpower)
  • 0,5 day with two large groups about global funding and dissemination, rich/non-rich chapters, endowment question
  • 0,5 day for a general discussion

I propose such a progression in the size of the groups because I find small groups are generally more efficient but some large discussion is quite required in the spirit of the Finance Meeting. Perhaps it is a bad or medium-good idea, since I don’t have experience in organizing conferences; please say what you are thinking.

So it could be scheduled the first day (Friday) with alternative fund-raising methods and discussions about specific-topics, all that in small or medium-size groups; then the nex day (Saturday) with medium-large and general discussions; and the last day (Sunday) with free discussions, final general discussion and/or other small workshops.

All that is a proposition/idea, feel free to criticize, support, enjoy, propose other designs, etc. ~ Seb35 [^_^] 10:43, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

There was a suggestion via email of combining this with the Wikimedia Meeting in Germany. Maybe instead there can be a long session at the Wikimedia Meeting recapping this meeting and where things stand. IMO (as someone who likely cannot attend) a separate event, without other distraction, is called for. SJ talk | translate   06:17, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
As there's unlikely to be any overlap between the technical and finance meetings, is there any sense in having an extra day prior to the Wikimedia Meeting covering some of the scope of this intended meeting, with other bits covered by optional sessions over the days? The idea of people in faraway chapters getting leave twice in two months to attend different meetings with essentially the same people makes little sense, and some of the organisational side of this proposed meeting doesn't seem to be together just 5 or 6 weeks before its intended start, meaning said people in faraway chapters are going to have huge problems organising cost-effective transport and accommodation. Orderinchaos 05:00, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Improving movement-wide communication on essential topicsEdit

Of the 38 chapters we now have, how many are even following the recent discussions about finances, and this program, not to mention actively taking part? We see some very prolific posters, here and on internal-l, some not even affiliated with any chapter... and no participation by the majority of active stakeholders.

Do e-mail and meta pages just suck as a way to communicate among WMF & all chapters? Is there a better way?

A suggestion for a different, cheaper, steady-state solution:

Have each chapter (and other core group) appoint a whip, whose job it is to read all mail on a movement announcements list, and whip the appropriate people in that group to respond. They are responsible for having at least a minimal response to each announcement.
Have all significant discussions on wiki. Transient discussions can happen by mail or elsewhere, but all key ideas and debates should be captured and refactored there.
If there are language issues -- the topic is complex, needs translation (into Kazakh); or there is a good discussion in Kazakh that should be summarized/translated (out of Kazakh) -- the whip is responsible for noting them and asking for help. Someone on transcom can be responsible for providing the help, or channeling the request to the right WMF staffer (with budget for short-notice translation support)

SJ talk | translate   10:06, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

My feedback with Meta is that while it can sometimes be a useful collaboration tool, generally speaking it's a bit difficult to navigate and often I'm not aware that a discussion that I feel I can contribute to has happened, until it's all over. Very happy to try something different to see if it's an improvement. Craig Franklin 11:31, 7 January 2012 (UTC).
I agree - always been a problem from my perspective too. Discussions are easy enough to miss and are often tucked away in corners, and quite frankly, the wikis aren't any less exclusive than mailing lists. One possible solution is a centralised noticeboard, with date indicated, effectively working like a contents page or point of entry - although how consistently this would be maintained and who by might become issues. Orderinchaos 04:57, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
Did you really mean to say that Meta (a public wiki) is no less exclusive than Internal-l (a private mailing list)? Or were you comparing private mailing lists and private wikis like Regards, Tbayer (WMF) 13:00, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
an interesting thought - my experience from this state of the art samsung galaxy attempting to write this post, it occurs to me that the myth of wiki inclusivity is debunked by the device I hold in my hand. I come from an it background and this is torture even for me!!! Just writing this post without a scroll bar or arrows is nuts, let alone trying to follow multi-threaded discussion would be impossible. Clearly email is better for this purpose as not everyone has the patience to sit in front of a pc all days long, esp given how fast these discussions move. Orderinchaos 07:07, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Given that all appropriate chapter people have access to internal-l, and get it delivered to them rather than here where it's a game of hide-and-seek, then it is indeed no less exclusive. Orderinchaos 14:04, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
I guess then it comes down to the question whether non-chapter volunteers (almost all of whom do not have access to internal-l) should be allowed to participate in or at least to monitor these discussions about the future of distributing financial resources in the Wikimedia movement. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) 21:28, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
They have no meaningful ability to contribute or follow as it is. I'd like it to be otherwise - I have friends and contacts who would love to do so if only they could figure out what the hell is going on - but noone seems to want to democratise the process, so we might as well use one that works. For example, most of our key people in Australia wouldn't know the full meaning of "movement roles", something I somewhat understand only after attending in-person meetings in Berlin and which has tremendous (and IMO good) implications for what they're doing, and it's not something that I can simply explain over coffee as I live a long way from most of them. It doesn't help that who one asks shapes one's understanding and trying to find out oneself on meta leaves one more confused than when one started. How can communication begin if one doesn't know the language? An even better example - we all know how chaotic the situation was in August around chapter funding - I remember sitting there in Haifa, Israel, with the president of Wikimedia UK, both of us watching our chapters proceed blindly with a complete misunderstanding of what was taking place, and we understood because we'd met the key people and heard them speak, shared knowledge with each other and had the chance to ask questions, but despite repeated emails to them couldn't adequately communicate it to our own chapters, as there was such a disconnect in their minds. That is the way the Wikimedia movement works, and until you fix *that*, there is no conversation, there are only a hell of a lot of words - some might call it the blind leading the blind. Orderinchaos 23:53, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm inclined to believe that lack of information is not the only issue when it comes to informing people about these issues. Would it be possible to assume as well that there are people who simply don't care about these issues, or who refuse to participate in discussing these issues because they feel that they're better off improving content than getting to the down and dirty of movement politics? The lack of communication, I believe, goes both ways. --Sky Harbor (talk) 00:20, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Measuring performance against the visionEdit

To me a lengthy discussion on how to measure relative impact on the vision would be great. How can we assess if a program / proposal / chapter is actually making a difference against our goal of making the sum of all knowledge freely available? That seems the best way to allocate donor funds. Which of the metrics that are currently available could we use? What should be our priority in developing more? Couple quick data points:

  • Excerpt from my comment on IMHO the single most important class of performance measures for the long-term health of our movement is the number of new or active editors. But, our chapters are organized by geography while our projects are organized by language (this is IMHO a fundamental weakness in our geography-based chapter model). So while Erik Zachte and team compile the data by project at, we don't have it and can't at this point get it by country or chapter. So with some exceptions (maybe Germany?) we couldn't measure the performance of a chapter or of meta-oriented volunteers in a country based on the number of editors in its core project.

Stu 08:24, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks Stu, I add those on the list of possible sessions. Feel free to add more :) Schiste 19:36, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
"Vision impact" might become part of accountability standards - please review Audit committee/Draft Accountability standards. Dedalus 17:29, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

Moved from the programmeEdit

Someone added "Extra session || Chapters selected Wikimedia Foundation board seats || Open discussion || discuss processes how to select these seats || a process".

Worth question indeed. But probably not for the program. We can indeed discuss the issue, but I do not think it should be a track. Anthere 21:06, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Three suggestionsEdit

I'd like to suggest three additions to the program:

  1. Lessons learned from fundraising. Summaries from the organisations that have been active in fundraising (whether via the annual fundraiser, or independently), describing the key lessons they've learned, would be incredibly useful.
  2. Growing organisational fundraising capacity and knowledge. If chapters are going to grow, particularly in terms of fundraising but also more generally, then they need to learn the lessons learned by other chapters and the WMF. So it would be good to share that knowledge and insight.
  3. Donor communications. Getting money from donors is one part of the fundraiser; the other part is explaining to the donors what's been done with their money, and how they can help out/get involved in other ways if they want.

Thanks. Mike Peel 23:08, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Good points. Probably it can be merged into existing points:
  1. I suggest the first point, a very important point in my opinion, can be merged into "How to raise funds without the Wikimedia websites? (presentation/workshop)" to become something like "How to raise funds with or without the Wikimedia websites? (presentation/workshop)"
  2. I don’t know exactly for the second point, but it is related to the transparency topics, mainly the workshop "level of transparency" and possibly the panel
  3. The third seems to be related to the topic "How to best share information? (workshop)", it could include internal financial+reporting and "external for donors" communication. Or the topic about transparency?
If you see existing sessions that could be refactored, please say it.
~ Seb35 [^_^] 02:14, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
  1. Yes, that generalisation would work.
  2. My point wasn't so much about transparency, rather it's about capacity - developing the resources, knowledge and available person-time to be able to do stuff. It's probably closer to 'professionalization'.
  3. Possibly, but external and internal relations can be quite different. I'm not sure what would work best here.
Thanks. Mike Peel 08:17, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Parallel tracks?Edit

For the big-picture issues it might be nice to have more time when we are all in the same room (vs parallel tracks)? -- phoebe | talk 18:54, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

I totally agree. I think we should just stick to a single track throughout.Stu 07:53, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
And I'll third this. Way too many parallel tracks, not enough plenary sessions. I would suggest to reduce the number of topics, and because we're a big group, work in split groups on a same topic and then put in common our findings. notafish }<';> 15:22, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
That sounds like a really good plan. So we can all start out with a common subject (like sharing information or grants) and then each subgroup can tackle a part of it -- we would probably get more work done that way. Also, especially for the panels, I don't think we're a big enough group to really split into two. Besides, I personally don't want to miss out on hearing from anyone (and I also don't want questions to the WMF to go unanswered because the right people are in the other session). -- phoebe | talk 18:50, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

New thingsEdit

Following the board letter, we need to have (a lot of) time to discuss The Fund Dissemination Committee. notafish }<';> 15:29, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

I think so, too. It's important.--Marctaltor 22:46, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
+1 :) -- phoebe | talk 18:51, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
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