Wikimedia South Africa/Board Meeting/27 March 2016

The Board Meeting was held via Google Hangouts on 27 March 2016, from 19h00 to 21h21

Present :

  • Douglas Scott
  • Dumisani Ndubane
  • Ian Gilfillan

Apologies :

  • Liebe Brand

Absent :

  • Bobby Shabangu
  • Deon Steyn
  • Pria Chetty

Preparation for Berlin Chapters conference and affiliate board seats

  • Douglas and Deon will be attending the Chapters Conference in Berlin, representing the South African chapter and editing community.
  • Update on the current situation in the Wikimedia Foundation, as well as some historical involvement of the Foundation with its chapters.
  • Aim to formulate a position for Douglas and Deon to present at the meeting.
  • Broadly, in the search for a new Executive Director, agreed that the candidate should ideally have experience in some sort of NGO/Open Source role, have experience in an entity doing development, experience with working with the community, and respecting openness and transparency.
  • Agree to support Lodewijk and Maarten as affiliate board members
  • Agreed to propose that the two affiliate board members jointly (if they agree) have veto power (currently only Jimmy Wales has veto power). (Note from Ian afterwards - I was not clear during the meeting about the community board members, and don't support only affiliate board members having veto power, not community board members)

Systemic bias

  • African editors routinely experience systemic bias when it comes to their articles being deleted or nominated for deletion.
  • Editors need to spend energy in deletion discussions, or simply become discouraged and leave.
  • It was suggested that WMZA makes up list of trusted, experienced editors to nominate to receive the autopatrolled right.
  • A discussion arose on a "Wikipedia of the Year" award to an excellent local editor. Suggested that a "Hall of Fame" may be better, as there is no need to repeat the process at regular intervals, and a number of worthy editors can be recognised at the same time.
  • This will reduce the likelihood of a new article being nominated for deletion.
  • Douglas has a list of administrators who have an understanding of the issue, and will be supportive, and will forward the list.
  • It was also recognised that South Africa needs users with administrative rights, and will actively approach potential users to apply.
  • Clear criteria to need to be drawn up in advance.
  • The recent lack of African representation for Wikimania scholarships was discussed.
  • Agreed that the current criteria "Improved gender, language, or geographic diversity..." is not being adequately implemented and that the criteria themselves need to be strengthened to improve diversity.


  • As discussed previously, an accountant was paid to investigate the R50 000 unaccounted for.
  • Conclusion was that, while the amount spent and the amount requested matched, and were correct, the amount paid by the Wikimedia Foundation was too little.
  • This was on account of WMZA incorrectly calculating unspent money from previous grants, and asking for too little.
  • The accountant has made suggestions for better financial record-keeping systems
  • Currently all records are stored on a DropBox account for viewing by the board, Dumi to share this information with members of the board that doesn't have access.
  • Accountant suggested that all data is stored by year.
  • Dumi requested that the language-translation tool be added to the current WMZA websites (Wikimedia South Africa, Joburgpedia, and WikiIndaba).
  • Ian agreed to implement, to get access details to the server from David.
  • Ian also to add bank account details so that donors can donate to WMZA
  • Still working towards allowing donations to WMZA to be written off for tax purposes, this requires becoming a public benefit organisation.
  • Ian is also to look at updating the domain details - currently Lourie is the only contact.