Wikipedia talk:Wikipedia Signpost/2014-05-21/News and notes

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Incorrect translation[edit]

The comment you translated as "monstrous" actually means "outrageous" (the German word "ungeheuerlich" has a broader set of meanings than the English "monstrous", even though it is derived from "Ungeheuer", which is a somewhat dated word similar to "monster"). The correct translation of the quote in Der Spiegel is: "For the chair to do so is outrageous."--Eloquence* 01:19, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

The ed17: Your edit helps, but it's still a misleading translation/caption; the quote was taking about his behavior, not him as a person. "Für den Vorsitzenden" means "for the chair", i.e. "for the chair, this kind of behavior is ..".--Eloquence* 01:33, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Eric! I altered it first based on Jayen466's comment on my talk page, hence the straight replacement of "monstrous" for "outrageous". Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 01:37, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
I think the reference to "combustion" relates to the "Verbrennen des Referentennetzwerks", i.e. "burning down the network of Referenten" – I am not quite sure what is meant by Referenten. Needs someone more familiar with the matter. Perhaps Eloquence can help. Andreas JN466 01:42, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
It refers to this program of a network of speakers talking about Wiki[mp]edia in educational institutions. Presumably the criticism is that the program was shut down, but I don't know the backstory. But yeah, the use of the word "Verbrennung" itself doesn't come across as especially dramatic in context.--Eloquence* 01:48, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. Andreas JN466 01:54, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm heading offline—I have no Internet access at home right now, which is fun—but Tony should be back online eventually to respond to comments. Thanks to you both, Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 02:05, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Ze Germans are watching you :) --Eloquence* 01:40, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Mozart is not dramatic[edit]

use Wagner instead. Götterdämmerung!

There was no 9-1 vote, there were 9 pro, 0 contra and 1 abstention from Nikolas Becker.--Hubertl (talk) 01:25, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

I'll leave this up to Tony to decide how he'd like to format the vote count. We do note at the end of the paragraph that there was only the one abstention. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 02:05, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
The dramatic devices Mozart used in his operas—including the game-changing classico-romantic innovation that key change itself can be dramatic—casts doubt on the subheading here. I had in mind The Marriage of Figaro, with its interior antics (in a palace, no less) and comedic dimensions. Götterdämmerung would be too rude a parody.

9–1: I'll reword slightly. Tony (talk) 04:19, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Thanks!--Hubertl (talk) 10:32, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
you should say "Se vuol ballare signor Contino" ; Don Giovanni might be more apt; also say 9-0-1. Duckduckstop (talk) 16:53, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Very good: Don Giovanni did flicker through my mind! Tony (talk) 08:48, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

CEO pay[edit]

Following on from my comments on funding at Meta, people need to wake up to the over-compensation of chapter staff. Working on the above given figure for Wikimedia Deutschland of a $10 million budget (7,360,000 euros) and Richter's salary of nearly 100,000 euros, we can see that around 1.3% of WMDE funding goes to Pavel Richter's salary alone (excluding his other employment-related expenses). Jon Davies of Wikimedia UK has compensation circa £60,000 which is nearly 14% of WMUK's 2013 income of £426,000 (this seems absurd, so I may be missing something here, but what's missing is not obvious).

To do a quick comparison of Walmart's CEO - as one of the world's most generously compensated CEOs (by employee pay ratio) he gets only 0.1% of the groups profits. To directly compare to the charity CEO sector: we can see Richter's salary is almost double the pay to income ratio for similar-sized charities. For example Christian Aid was recently criticised for paying its CEO Loretta Minghella a salary of £126,206 (155,000 euros) when its income was £95.5 million (118 million euros). Yet Richter receives pay around 65% of Minghella's for heading a charity that is ten times smaller. He also doesn't have the difficulty of maintaining a global charity network in the world's most poverty and war-stricken countries either (rare skills which demand much greater compensation alone).

I'm sure if more people actually knew that such a percentage of chapter donations were going straight to staff pay rather than funding activities, and had an idea of comparable charity head salaries, then there would be much more of a conversation about how chapters are contributing to the project. SFB 10:20, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Feel free to comment on topics about funding chapters, etc. at for the FDC Advisory Group meeting to be held this this Sunday and Monday. Though it's unlikely we'd discuss specific people's salaries - general questions of effectiveness, FDC operations, the future of decentralized spending of Wikimedia funds will almost certainly be discussed. Smallbones(smalltalk) 11:04, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm surprised "nearly 100,000 euros" and "circa £60,000" are considered high amounts. They'd be normal for leadership in the US IIRC from Foundation Center salary surveys, and from other FLOSS foundations (also mostly US-based, but I'd enjoy seeing data from non-US organizations added). I'm generally concerned about management capture and compensation, but comparisons with Walmart and assumptions that some kinds of work are "deserving" of higher pay are rather unconvincing. Separately, I've no knowledge nor opinion of its board or management, but best wishes to the WMDE staff, which AFAICT does some of the most valuable policy and technology work anywhere, even outside the Wikimedia movement. Mike Linksvayer (talk) 19:09, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
£60,000 is extremely high by European standards. (The Prime Minister's salary is only £142,500, for comparison.) To put it in perspective, when it was revealed that 30 UK charities paid their chief executives over £100,000, it prompted claims of "bringing the wider charitable world into disrepute" from the Daily Telegraph, which is hardly the beacon of the proletariat. Mogism (talk) 19:17, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
+1. 100.000 Euros is about three to four times the average gross annual income of all those that are subject to social security schemes in this country. Although WMDE is one of the biggest entities within the Wikimedia world, it is only a small charity by comparison. And then, it is considered indecent by many Wikipedians that this much money is paid from fundraising while all content it produced without any compensation at all. The salary appears disproportionate by far. I should add that in some parts of Germany as much as 20 percent or even more of the population is unemployed or earns so little money that they depend on social benefits.--Aschmidt (talk) 19:59, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
The pay is high by American comparison: Charity Navigator's 2013 report showed median CEO pay for large to medium charities as $125,942 (roughly 90,000 euros). Seeing as WMDE is a small to medium charity, this places WMDE pay as on the high side of high remuneration by both American and British standards. SFB 20:24, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for posting that report, hadn't seen it, but seems similar to others. FWIW, the $125,942 number is the average for small-large ($1m budget and up, per the report), and WMDE would be in the medium range ($3.5-$13.5m) for which the average is $145,230. Also, the most plausible corresponding category is probably "Arts, Culture, Humanities" for which the average is $159,650. Would love to see similar reports for non-US regions if such exist (out of general interest in the topic rather than a desire to be scandalized or not about WM chapter compensation). Mike Linksvayer (talk) 20:47, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't know the figures for Germany, but these are the figures for Britain. The figures for "other education" are skewed by the inclusion of universities, but as of 2013 23% of charities in Britain had at least one staff member on £60,000 or above. Given the similarities of their economies, I would be surprised if the figures for Germany and France weren't virtually identical. Mogism (talk) 16:12, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe the source says the CEO of WMUK earns 60k. There are requirements in the corporate sector to report emoluments over a certain level, and all directors' emoluments, I would imagine the statement that no staff earn over 60k is to comply with this. Moreover while there are good questions to be asked about fundraising, paid employment and the level it should be set at, given a decision by both these charities to recruit professional CEOs on a professional basis, the salaries are perfectly ordinary. All the best: Rich Farmbrough17:16, 25 May 2014 (UTC).
The CEO of WMUK earns £63,205. They disclose the figures on their websiteMogism (talk) 17:25, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for that better reference. Employer's NI is included in that figure, which is hardly ever included in salary figures. Others will have a better idea than I of how much that is likely to be. All the best: Rich Farmbrough20:20, 25 May 2014 (UTC).
Yes the 60K figure includes ENI taxes etc. My salary is about £53K. Net it is a lot less but I enjoy paying taxes! PS Every year in the UK we have survey of charity pay done by ACEVO and another by NCVO and yet another by TPP. Check them out if it interests you. My salary sits in the middle area of payments. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 08:58, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Press coverage[edit]

Unsurprisingly, these wars of words migrated seamlessly onto the mainstream press. — I would like to add that there was hardly any coverage of these procedings in the German printed press. According to a database research of printed papers I've conducted for the term "Pavel Richter", there were brief notes only in Tagesspiegel, Berliner Morgenpost, and Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. So, German newspaper readers who do not follow online outlets did not learn of the events at WMDE at all.--Aschmidt (talk) 12:39, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Online reporting has at any rate been widespread: Die Zeit, Handelsblatt, Stern, Spiegel, Focus, ZDNet, Heise, Computerwoche and others. It remains to be seen whether the weeklies among those (Stern, Spiegel, Focus) will carry the report in their next print edition. Andreas JN466 12:57, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Online press coverage mainly consists of a text by German news agency dpa. Only Heise, Golem, Tagesspiegel, and Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung brought reports of their own. What is not in the printed press will not reach the average reader, hence the impact will remain rather low. This shows two things. First, we have a division of the public sphere in this country between a, say, internet sphere, and a, say, mainstream sphere. This results, e.g., in the fact that the bulk of donors to WMDE probably have not learned of these events at all. We still have to wait and see if Der Spiegel and Die Zeit will cover the events in print. IT magazine c't (=Heise) probably will.--Aschmidt (talk) 13:09, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Twitter messages say the board chairman has resigned[edit]

According to messages on Twitter (hashtag #wmdemv), Nikolas Becker, the Chair of the German board, has resigned. Andreas JN466 12:50, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Flagged revisions[edit]

"[...] important part of the chapter's work [...] improving the software as was done with flagged revisions [...]" I am sorry but flagged revisions are not "improving" the software. There is an extensive essay in german. I assume that the "flagged revisions" are partly responsibly of the decline of editors (see especially 1.4.2 in the essay) (talk) 19:52, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Flagged revisions were a significant piece of software that was tired and (kinda) rejected on en:. While I agree with you that they are not necessarily an improvement, (and I am aware that de: still suffers/benefits from them) they were certainly worth trying, and I am glad we had a chance to trial them. Similarly the toolserver was a wonderful gift to the community, and I am very worried to see its functionality "Borged" by WMF. All the best: Rich Farmbrough17:21, 25 May 2014 (UTC).
Well, the problem with your assumption is that it doesn't fit the data. First, The dangerous phenomenon of editor retention is present on all mature Wikipedia projects, wether they use flagged revisions or not. Second, the phenomenon was present on de:WP before and the introduction of flagged revision has not changed the rate of editors leaving (wether good or bad). When we designed FR, we worked hard to make it such that the editing experience is changed as little as possible. This could not be done to a 100%, but apparently it was good enough at least not to make more people leave.
Otherwise, everybody is entitled to its own opinion and I'm obviously biased (as I think Lienhard is in his essay). So let me just say that I think that any Wiki that writes about living people and has no method of screening edits before they go live and of making sure that any edit to those things gets screened needs to get its act together. And therefore, since there's no damage and the positive effects are important, I stay by my assessment. Cheers, --18:52, 26 May 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by P. Birken (talkcontribs)
Flagged revisions does not prevent BLP violations. Violators can create accounts and get "sichter"-status too and shape articles in a bad way. So flagged revisions does only provide an illusion of "cleanness" as stated in 1.3.2 and 1.4.6 by Lienhard (as many other problems with flagged revisions). Since I wrote I assume, I hoped that it was clear that it was my POV. May I ask you where I can find that data that proves that FR are not playing into account of editor retention? Was it only researched short scale in time or long? In other words: Do users contributions decline because a part of Wikipedians/Wikimedians prejudice them that they only think of (!) a possibility that they vandalize Wikipedia (which the assumption is when you introduce such a "feature")? Or in other other (;)) words: Does an intelligent democratic society impose useless laws which are targeted against the outlaws but make the life of the majority "normal" people worse? The same concept of FR, to make something appear secure, applies to other topics like airplanes security: Security theater, 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot security reaction, Airport security repercussions due to the September 11 attacks. Of cause FR are not try to kill people (I hope so) but you may see the coincide. (talk) 01:18, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
Regarding data, a beginning is, there was a whole PhD thesis by a spanish guy and we looked at some other stuff. The introduction of FR didn't really show anywhere.
Otherwise, FR do not prevent (as in perfect security) anything. Not BLP violations, not vandalism. And nor did I ever claim they do. We did hope it would reduce vandalism, but that didn't happen. I assume that's because we essentially didn't change the editing experience ;-) FR just change the tool "Wiki" to "Wiki with flagged revision". The latter features an improved four eye principle, meaning a guarantee that certain edits will be looked at, and you can cross this with categories, allowing patrolling by field. This reduces BLP violations, vandalism found, etc. By the way, some newbies really like it, because it makes sure that they get feedback on their edits during the first time. And of course, it's a feature for the readers. Anyhow, I've heard your point before of course and I think it arises from a perspective that puts the Wiki before the pedia, thus sees the wiki as a philosophy in itself, not as a tool to empower collaboration to create a qualitatively great encyclopedia/whatever. Take care, --P. Birken 20:48, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

additional information[edit]

Some additional information:

  • Clubs and volunteering have a substantial tradition in Germany. The easiest approach to understand this better is probably when comparing the football leagues, with the DFL even having rules which guarantee that club members have the final say. Clubs like Bayern München have tens or hundreds of thousands of members, hundreds of millions turnover, and, member elected members of the board. In countries like Great Britain, or USA, the clubs need its members more or less to pay, and to applaud, but they have no substantial influence.
  • Other longstanding members of WMDE like Manuel Schneider noted that the least active members shout the loudest against the board, and it is not good for anybody to discuss personell processes that publically. He noted that there are some good projects but also that the frustration is the bigger the more volunteers are involved.
  • Marcus Cyron participated in the discussion about the decision as well, suggesting that he feels like a beggar filling out forms for little support and wanted to cancel the Zedler price this year.
  • Stepros blog post is here, saying WMDE was created by active Wikipedia contributors. Stepro noted that he does not agree with professionalization, especially by appointing board members instead of electing them. Professionalization leads to a feeling that voluntary work is disturbing the movements operations with its imperfection. Which can never ever be the goal of an organisation founded by contributors to support contributors. It should be assured that Wikimedia Deutschland does not develop itself into one of the many arbitrary political lobby NGO's. This is a tendency which is consistent with neighbouring chapters as well, with similar volunteering traditions. Wikimedia CH members did not vote for the non-contributing board member candidates, and even did not re-elect one of them at the last general assembly.
  • Neither the board, nor the executive director are personally liable according to German law, this is the whole point of founding a club, or a limited company. And this law did not change for a long time.

--ThurnerRupert (talk) 00:29, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Is the origin of the clubs CEO and workers from the Wikipedia community or are they coming from external? (talk) 16:37, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
The last thing you're saying is not correct. The board of a Verein is personally liable. It is exactly for this reason that WMDE has this special construction, where an additional layer beyond "Vorstand" has been introduced, thus moving the liability from a group of volunteers to the paid CEO. The verein Bayern München which you mention has the same problem and uses a different construction for the purpose of managing liability.
@IP: So far, all WMDE CEOs have been from the german Wikipedia community. The position was however always advertised openly and applications always came from within and without. --P. Birken (talk) 18:58, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. What about the workers of WMDE? How much are from within the "Wikipedia community" or are they external coming? If the latter one there is maybe a Cultural conflict (What, How, When, at which cost things are done)? (talk) 01:26, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
By now, the majority of employees are not from the community, similar to the foundation. And those have to learn how the community ticks to be able to do a good job. And I'd say there's a culture disconnect, but of a different sort ;-) New employee: Oh, you guys are just the greatest, working for free to create all this great stuff! It's so awesome to work for Wikimedia! Grumpy Wikipedian: Who the fuck are you? --P. Birken (talk) 20:56, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

interesting, P. Birken, never heard about this, and cannot find anything confirming it. could you please provide a pointer to the relevant law which makes the board members personally liable? except causing damage deliberately, like sittenwidrige vorsätzliche schädigung, untreue where no legal construct can exclude the liability of the person doing the damage, afaik. --ThurnerRupert (talk) 01:08, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

The most common case is a false "spendenbescheinigung". Just google it. --P. Birken (talk) 20:51, 27 May 2014 (UTC)
oh, many thanks did not know this. it says as well personal liability for doing damage deliberately: "wer vorsätzlich oder grob fahrlässig eine unrichtige Bestätigung ausstellt (1. Alternative) oder veranlasst, dass Zuwendungen nicht zu den in der Bestätigung angegebenen steuerbegünstigten Zwecken verwendet werden". how could you imagine to be dragged into that, without deserving it? --ThurnerRupert (talk) 19:45, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Further coverage[edit]

Heise: Streit bei Wikimedia: Präsidiumsvorsitzender tritt zurück, 26 May 2014

ZDNet: Wikimedia Deutschland wählt Tim Moritz Hector zum Vorsitzenden, 26 May 2014 Wikimedia Deutschland stärkt die Rechte aktiver Mitglieder, 26 May 2014 Andreas JN466 11:50, 27 May 2014 (UTC)