News and notes
Chapters ask for big bucks
The FDC is the most significant reform of the WMF's finances, and will hand out up to more than $11M this financial year. The community can comment on the 11 applications of the first application round until next Monday.
The volunteer-led Wikimedia Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) and interested community members are looking at Wikimedia organization applications worth about US$10.4 million out of the committee's first full year's operation, in just the inaugural round one of two that have been planned for the year with a planned budget of $11.4M.
The WMF introduced the new finance structure earlier this year, with the FDC at its core, to promote transparent and accountable spending among Wikimedia entities. Fifteen organizations of 19, including the foundation itself, have met the transparency criteria in general, although several chapters encountered problems in satisfying the new requirements for reporting on their past finances and activities—some documentation having been overdue since 2010. Eleven chapters plus the WMF submitted funding proposals.
The largest chapter, Wikimedia Germany, which employs more than 44 people and has some 500 active volunteers and more than 2500 members according to its submission, is requesting the largest amount of funds among the chapters. WMDE is requesting $1.82M (24.3%) to fund parts of its planned $7.475M expenditure over the next fiscal year—a considerable increase on the chapter's current spend of $4.316M. The chapter's funding and expenditure are more complicated than for most: for example, funding for the Toolserver in Amsterdam, which is increasingly important to the running of Wikimedia sites, has been the subject of intense debate. Other projects, such as Wikidata ($2.75M), have been funded by the chapter from third-party donors. Among WMDE's initiatives will be new efforts to make state-owned cultural works freely accessible on movement sites, a greater presence at EU level, and the testing and evaluation of two innovative support tools to help readers and editors to improve balance on Wikipedia articles.
Wikimedia UK has five permanent staff and one intern, 87 active volunteers and at least a further 100 who occasionally participate, and 330 registered members. WMUK is asking the FDC for $919K (67.4%) of its annual budget of $1.365M. The entity's activity plan for the upcoming year provides considerably more detail than most other chapter plans. Among the chapter's initiatives will be support for Europeana uploads, a "train the trainers" program, the development of modular online training, outreach to editors working in the Welsh language, and moves to increase female participation in the movement. The chapter will continue its support of Wikipedian-in-residence positions with partnered GLAM institutions, including digitization efforts and a focus on Scottish museums.
Wikimedia France, with four staff members (soon to be five) and 303 members (20–30 of them "very active"), is requesting $961K (68.8%) of a total budget of $1.397M. Its plans include reaching out to new editors in universities—including PhD students, other students, and academic researchers—with about 15 training workshops, particularly on ecological topics, and a new partnership with the Société Française d’Écologie. The chapter will spearhead the promotion of scientific knowledge about Wikimedia, including the running of a research project on the geolocalisation of Wikipedia articles, involving engineering students from the major engineering college École Centrale de Lille. There will be a number of new GLAM projects, and new French-language outreach efforts, particularly in Africa and in support of minority languages in France. Language projects will include the launch of a francophone newsletter about Wikimedia projects, inspired by the Signpost and the French Regards sur l'Actualité de Wikipédia.
The WMF's own application, for $4.46M (10.6% of its $42.070M budget), involves the organization's non-core spending. For the first time, then, this part of the foundation's spending will be subject to community comment and review. Affected are programs such as the global Education Program ($718K)—of which the US and Canadian components are currently the subject of an RfC—and editor engagement experiments (E3; $1.2M).
Other chapters applying are Wikimedia Argentina, Australia, Switzerland, Israel, Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, and Hungary. All applications can be reviewed by the community until 22 October. The FDC will consider both submissions and comments, and will submit its spending recommendations to the WMF board of trustees by 15 November 2012.
- Ada Lovelace Day. Wikimedia UK and the Royal Society have organized a women-in-science editing event for Ada Lovelace Day on Friday 19 October 2012 in London. To be held at the Library of the Royal Society, the event has the backing of notable Member of the Royal Society, developmental psychologist Uta Frith. Participation is free, although demand is such that all places at the afternoon editathon have been taken up; remote online participation is welcome. The evening panel discussion, which will include Professor Frith, is open for attendance to all who are interested in the topic. Wikimedia UK has a dedicated page for the event. See also the Twitter hashtag: #WomenSciWP.
- English Wikipedia:
- Arbitration report: there are no open or pending cases, nor any requests for clarifications and/or amendments. There is one motion open on the "net four votes" rule. The RfC concerning the December 2012 Arbcom election is in full swing. The issues concern the composition of the committee, the election itself, and the minimum support percentage required at the end of the election.
- English Wikipedia main page redesign: On 11 October, a straw poll to determine community support among the 25 submissions has been started.
- DYK eligibility criteria under review: On 7 October, Gilderien proposed a reform of "Did you know" to allow new good articles to go through the DYK process, as opposed to only new and 5x expanded articles.
- Wikimedia USA bylaw-vote: Discussions of an organization supporting chapters and other volunteer groups in the US reached a new stage last week as Guerillero called for a vote to ratify the draft bylaws on Meta. Editors located in the United States who are interested in on-the-ground work are invited to make their views known in the proceedings until 22 October 2012.
- Travel guide project named Wikivoyage: On 16 October, the WMF announced the RfC result, concluding that the travel guide will be called wikivoyage.org, reflecting the name of the largely German site that was set up in 2006 and will migrate to the foundation. Meta is now looking at potential logos for the new project.
- Wikipedia Zero partners with Saudi Telecom: On 14 October, the WMF announced it will join forces with the Saudi Telecom Company to make Wikipedia freely available to the company's 25 million mobile customers, mostly in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait. The initiative has been made possible through a collaboration between the foundation, STC, and Intigral, a company that specializes in providing digital media technology to telecom operators. This is the third major partnership with a mobile provider the WMF has finalized this year to promote free knowledge in emerging societies, as outlined in the foundation's strategic plan, with its priorities for supporting both mobile users and Arabic-speaking readers and editors.
- Wikidata main page design: Wikidata, the new project aimed at a collaboratively editable database to support Wikipedia and other foundation sites, has published a call for proposals on how to design its main page.
- Toolserver funding proposal: On 16 October, the key volunteer administrator of the Wikimedia Toolserver, DaB., announced his draft proposal for the WMDE general assembly to request sufficient funding for the Toolserver infrastructure for the next fiscal year. If the draft progresses as outlined in its introductory statement, the WMDE membership will vote on the issue on 24 November 2012 after the chapter's CEO, Pavel Richter, resisted concrete funding commitments in community deliberations.
- Wikimedia Chapters Association resolution vote: Chapters taking part in the long-running effort to establish a chapters association (WCA) are voting on a resolution that a consultant should be hired to support a recruitment process for a CEO, to be called the Secretary General. All of the resolutions can be found on Meta.
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