>> Thank you for your support. I would like to again
>invite all interested
>> parties (especially developers, but also writers,
>photographers etc.) to
>> add themselves on the above page, so that we can
>together move this
>> project forward after MediaWiki 1.3 has reached a
>stable state. As the
>> above proposal states, I hope that we can also
>implement single sign-on in
>> one fell swoop with the Commons itself, which would
>be one important step
>> to bring the individual Wikimedia projects closer
>>I am still willing to help and aid in this project.
>>However, as things
>>look now, the only help I can offer you is to
>>discontinue any plans I
>>myself have in this direction until you are ready.
>>One time there was just the English Wikipedia, then
>>were made. I have the feeling that I'm like someone
>>wanting to set
>>up another language and getting the answer that it's
>a >good idea, but
>>that in half a year there will be a new software with
>>and the possibility to have an interface adaptable to
>>I just wait for that.
>>It's not that I don't like your plans. I do. And when
>>comes, I'll join in. For now I'll just count my
>>losses. And wonder
>>why you might succeed and I do not. Is it because you
>>developer and I'm not? Because your plans are grand
>>down-to-earth? Because I'm not brazen enough? Anyway,
>André. Pause réflexion. Un vrai leader évite de
>perpétuellement marcher sur les pieds des autres. Il
>leur laisse de la place pour s'exprimer, parfois même
>il s'efface pour laisser les autres s'occuper d'un
>projet qui leur tient à coeur. Il évite de créer des
>rancoeurs :-) Enfin, juste ma triste opinion. ant
C'est bien de voir que tout au moins quelqu'un se souvient de la liste
correcte pour discuter ces sujets. Est-ce que tous les autres oublient
parce que en ce moment Jimbo ne reçoit pas les messages de cette liste-ci ?
Hello dear all,
Regardless of the way we decide to spent money, we have some in bank. It comes in. It comes out.
So, we need some people to take care of financial issues.
Mav has renewed his interest in taking care of this after the elections. Angela and I are favorable to this. I will not speak up for Jimbo... as he is on holidays :-)
Mav has been taking care of Wikimedia accounting for several months as far as I can remember. I did not hear there were any problems. He also is interested in working on the budget.
However, we wish that you have time to express disagreement if there is need to. So, if one doubts this is a wise decision, please say it so and *provide arguments*.
This is not meant to be a top-down decision, it is mostly that Mav said he was interested to do it, had done it well for many months, we trust him, and no one else has ever (afaik) said he would be willing to do it as well. My apologies if someone did and we did not realise :-)
Other people might be interested as well to participate in financial issues. In particular, the perspective of a professionnal on legal issues or on accounting would be most welcome. I think we should thrive to have teams as much as possible, and people with various perspectives, as it is more productive and usually more successful. A group of 3-5 people would be neat :-)
So, if someone is interested in being part of the financial committee, please speak up :-)
Criticism and/or nomination may be public or private.
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I'd like to put images of D'ni script on a bunch of the Myst-related
pages. For example, on [[Gehn]] I'd add an image of "gen" in D'ni
script. Is this legal, copyright-wise? Should I credit Cyan Worlds,
Inc. (creators of Myst) and/or the person who made the font? If so,
-- ---<>--- --
A house without walls cannot fall.
Help build the world's largest encyclopedia at Wikipedia.org
-- ---<>--- --
Richard Gallagher wrote:
> --- Anthere
>>>What exactly are you suggesting? That Maveric149
>>>should be the treasurer or he should be some sort
>>No. The treasurer is a board position. But the board
>>is empowered to
>>delegate activity to identified persons or to
>>Mav would be financial officer, and report to the
> That clears it up a bit. Your original message did
> not go into much detail as to what exactly the role
> was. Personally I didn't see that there would be
> financial work to do. So it did seem to me to be a
> bit redunant have both a treasurer and a financial
> But then again I am not familiar with intimate
> of the foundations financial dealings. Would you be
> able to further describe this financial officer role
> and how it differs treasurer?
If Mav were on the board, I guess there would be
perhaps no financial officer for a while. But I
suppose he would have got some help from other people
In the current situation, neither Angel or I are
expert on financial matters. I would also add that
there is a lot to do, and no way we can do everything
alone. So, it is probably best that we focus on what
we may do best and are most interested in doing, while
delegating to other people the other issues. There are
plenty of motivated participants ready to give a hand,
why would we deny them doing this if they can probably
do it better than us ?
That does not mean we are not interested, nor
completely clueless. I had some training in accounting
while a student, in agricultural business. And I
practiced a bit.
There are few things as neat as classifying a cow,
which may be bought as a young (hence an expense),
then sold for her tender meat (become a revenu), or
switch to become a tool (producing milk), or become a
tool which produce a future tool (giving birth to
future cows), or end up as bad meat. Every couple of
months, cows change categories :-)
Good grief, they can even die and disappear from the
accounts for free, or be burned because of a bad
disease (so, actually cost you money). Does not make
it easy to calculate amortization....
Anyway. The treasurer will look more at the big
picture, while the financial officer will more focus
on giving detailed and clear report, which will allow
the board to take informed decisions. It is also the
duty of the officer to warn the treasurer when money
is running out unexpectedly.
This is an example of what the officer will provide
(is already...) :
The officer should also keep track of all details, so
as to be ready in case of an audit. He may also help
in setting up a comprehensive budget, according to
directions given by the board (or make suggestions,
which may be supported by the board, then developped
by the officer). It is then the board role to ensure
the officer have all the necessary information.
Example : I suggested to JeLuF a few days ago to set a
page where developer team would try to indicate the
needs in terms of hardware :
The treasurer might ensure that this page is kept up
to date, perhaps ask someone to take the
responsability for it to be exact. This information
will be precious for the officer to set the budget.
Another example is organisation of the due system. The
treasurer might organise it, set the policy about it,
then have it approved by the community and the board.
Once the fee system policy is ready, the officer can
organise the budget using the estimation of membership
After the due system has been implemented by a
developer team and is in working order, the officer
will be responsible of making detailed report month
after month about income from fees. Or about the way
the fees are used.
It may also take care of managing membership :-)
The treasurer might decide with the board, that some
of the detailed information should be displayed on the
wikimediafoundation website, for transparency and
information to members. He will then rely on the
treasurer to provide relevant gathered data to offer
to public scrutiny :-)
Of course, the officer might need help and counselling
to do all this, hence the financial committee is much
In short, the treasurer will try to look at the big
picture and make sure the officer can get all what is
needed. The officer will try to ensure that everything
is done properly and legally, and will give feedback
on the general situation. The treasurer should check
Suggestions are always welcome. Budget should be a
common effort, with participation of all those
involved in *spending* the money, and all those
involved in *gathering* it.
I mostly think the relationship between the treasurer
and the officer will be a symbiotic relationship. Both
need and complete the other one.
This aside from legal considerations of
responsability, where Michael could probably give more
>>>I believe it is important to get a set accounts
>>>including a balance sheet and statement of income
>>>expenditure. Then have them audited by a
>>>accountant. Because often when applying for
>>>they will request an audited set of accounts.
>>Might you explain what you are thinking of, when you
>>chartered accountant" ?
> A chartered accountant is an accountant who is a
> member of institute of accountants for their
> Seeing as Wikimedia is US based I probably should
> used the US equivalent term which is certified
> accountant. The thing is anyone can call themselves
> an accountant, while to call yourself a
> chartered/certified accountant you have to have
> some exams and have a certain amount of work
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There are a certain number of people, who are
apparently still sending their mails to wikilegal at
the same time than foundation-l.
For reasons I do not understand, this breaks the gname
structure, and mails with wikilegal header can not be
answered directly. They are just rejected by gname.
I would be glad if people could look at their
settings. It might be that some are starting with
wikilegal, while others are just answering to a mail
sent at the same time to wikilegal and foundation-l
It would be very beneficial to *stop* sending mails to
wikilegal. It breaks thread structure. Thanks :-)
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I know that I'm still technically on wikivacation, but I'm beginning to
feel full of energy again and want to briefly share my thoughts on the
matter of bounties and expenses, which has been hotly debated in the last
First of all, I think that Angela should absolutely go to Paris on the
foundation budget. This is not an entertainment trip. This is the first
opportunity for Jimbo, Anthere and Angela to sit down together and discuss
what will happen in the next few months.
Angela went to Berlin from her own money to observe the creation of the
German chapter (with me trying to give her a real-time translation of what
was going on), and in Paris she would have a similar opportunity to talk
to French Wikimedians about the French chapter, both sharing her own
experiences and getting new input. This is exactly what board members
Face-to-face meetings are much more productive than IRC simply because
real human interaction has a much higher bandwidth than letters in a
window on a computer screen. That was obvious at the WOS in Berlin, as I
know that some people are still reeling from the whole experience. ;-)
Getting Angela to mingle with the French Wikimedia community will benefit
the whole project.
Of course I understand the general objections, but calling foundation-
related travel expenses "perks" is ridiculous and offensive. Anthere and
Angela are giving a large part of their personal lives to this project at
the expense of their career and family. Asking them to either fund their
own travel expenses or stay at home undermines the whole purpose of the
board, which is to keep an eye on the development of *all* of Wikimedia,
and for that it is absolutely necessary to actually meet with real human
It would be a shame if we returned to our usual anglocentric way of doing
things while Jimmy is still on his missionary trip through Europe.
Wikimedia is an international organization, and real world board meetings
should take place in different locations to give Wikimedians from the
whole world an opportunity to directly talk to the trustees they voted
for. Now just because these experiences might actually be enjoyable to the
trustees doesn't mean that they aren't valuable to Wikimedia as a whole as
I do believe that funds which were not explicitly designated for the
purpose of funding foundation organizational activity should not be
permanently used for said purpose. So what we should do is clarify on the
donations page how much of the money is going to be used for which
But we will soon get a check over 10,000 euros from the Prix Ars
Electronica award, and that money can be designated by the trustees for
various purposes, and a certain amount of it (say 2000 euros) should
certainly be designated for organization expenses. Temporarily withdrawing
the necessary funds from a non-designated pool until we get the check is
not a serious issue.
The key here is that everything is transparent and open. The fact that we
are seriously debating whether we should give one of our trustees 400
bucks or so to meet with the elected board and discuss the creation of a
new chapter shows quite well that we are already much, much more open than
virtually every other organization of the same type.
Now, designating money for org. expenses does not preclude us from doing
the same for development expenses. As some of you know, the creation of a
development bounty system was a core part of my election platform. From
communicating with Jimbo and Angela I got the impression that they share
the belief that selectively funding specific tasks would be a good idea. I
don't know where Anthere stands on the issue.
Again, we could use a certain amount of money from the Prix Ars
Electronica funds for a first test drive (I'd suggest $2000). If it turns
out that such a bounty system does more harm than good, we can always stop
doing it. It is unlikely that a single experiment will have devastating
effects, but it is quite possible that it will lead the way toward a
complementary development process.
The key question is how to define priority tasks. Because the developers
are the benefactors of such a system it is somewhat dangerous to let them
alone make the decision, even if that is done through voting. On the other
hand, non-developers often do not have the understanding necessary to make
I do not yet have a final answer to this question. For the experiment
phase, I think appointing one developer and one technically-minded non-
developer who have to reach consensus would be a simple solution. I would
like to nominate Tim Starling and Daniel Mayer for these two roles. If Tim
doesn't want to do it, I would suggest Jens Frank, who has already said
that he wants to leave bounty tasks to others, so he would have a certain
level of objectivity.
(I'm not nominating myself because I would consider participating in the
bounty system, and because I think I'm a little too biased in favor of
certain tasks to be an objective judge.)
Essentially, these two people would be in charge of evaluating "grant
proposals", which could be made by anyone (developers or users). In the
long term, I believe it would make sense to replace them with an appointed
or elected committee, which would have to include at least one leading
developer representative with the power to veto certain proposals (for
being infeasible, impractical, incompatible etc.).
But again, we should experiment with different approaches.
The amount of money for each task should of course be related to its
complexity, and be decided by the bounty managers. The bounty would be
paid if the developers and the bounty managers agree that the task has
Regarding Erik Zachte's remark that $100 is not a lot of money, that is of
course correct. However, the purpose of this system is not so much to give
participating developers a salary, but to provide a little extra incentive
for completing tasks which we all agree need to be done, but which have
been largely ignored for months. We can always raise the bounties if it
turns out that they are ineffective. $15/hour seems like a reasonable
starting value. I know Java programmers who work for less than that.
To preempt the inevitable comment that we don't do the same thing for
articles or wikibooks, that's true, but that doesn't mean that we never
will. If this bounty system works, it is quite possible that we will try a
similar approach to fill important gaps in the various Wikimedia projects.
As always, it is of key importance that any such process is open and
transparent, and that all funds which are used for this purpose have been
designated for it from the start.
With all this talk about expenses, we have to keep in mind that Wikimedia
will quite possibly be an organization with a multi-million-dollar budget
in just a couple of years. I am very confident that we will be able to
raise $100K or more through grassroots donations this year. Like the
energy of our content contributors flows into many different areas, the
money which is given to Wikimedia should flow wherever it can be usefully
and productively spent.
A lot of our money will be going into hardware purchases for quite some
time, but it would be irresponsible not to carefully consider and explore
other ways in which money can help along our mission of educating
Richard Gallagher wrote:
>--- Anthere <anthere9(a)yahoo.com> wrote: > Hello dear
>>Regardless of the way we decide to spent money, we
>>have some in bank. It comes in. It comes out.
>>So, we need some people to take care of financial
>>Mav has renewed his interest in taking care of this
>>after the elections. Angela and I are favorable to
>>this. I will not speak up for Jimbo... as he is on
>>Mav has been taking care of Wikimedia accounting for
>>several months as far as I can remember. I did not
>>hear there were any problems. He also is interested
>>in working on the budget.
>What exactly are you suggesting? That Maveric149
>should be the treasurer or he should be some sort of
>If the former, then I believe the treasurer should be
>a member on the Board of Trustees. This fits in with
>the foundation bylaws as they currently stand (
>Having a treasurer that was not on the board would be
>unusual. If none of the current five board of
>trustees want to be the treasurer then I suggest that
>steps should be taken to get someone on to the board
Richard is correct in the sense that the bylaws provide for one of the
Trustees to be designated as Treasurer. However, I don't believe this
means that the Treasurer cannot be assisted by people outside the Board.
So I see no reason Mav can't continue, regardless of what official title
we attach to his work. The Treasurer would then be the primary contact
on the Board for Mav and anyone else working on financial matters for
>Michael Snow wrote:
>> This is not a precedent that the Foundation will start paying travel
>> expenses for all meetings, because it is also not a precedent as to
>> how future meetings will be held. I'm sure that Angela, Anthere, and
>> Jimbo will have several more meetings during the year, but they will
>> probably conduct these by telephone or IRC or some other means.
>This is not how I understood it. If it were a single meeting, done
>because of convenient circumstances, that would not be an enormous
>issue. However, the email introducing this issue (the first one with
>the subject "Funding for the newly elected Board Members") said:
>"...I would like to propose that we cover certain key expenses for our
>elected board members relating to their participation in Wikimedia work.
>For instance, telephone calls overseas should be covered by the
>Foundation, and not the elected representatives. A broadband connection
>should be covered by the Foundation as well."
Yes, that was Danny's original proposal, but later in the discussion
Andrew (Fuzheado) made a modified proposal to only pay for Angela's trip
to Paris, and you still objected to that. I don't know how you
understood that proposal at the time, but I'm glad that now it sounds
like you don't object to it. The discussion has moved away from these
original ideas (for example, the trustees have declined to have their
internet connections paid for, and indicated that most meetings will
probably take place by IRC). We could reach consensus easier if we let
go of ideas that are no longer being actively promoted.
>This sounded more like a routine budget than an extraordinary one-time
>expense. Several other people also do seem to explicitly favor regular
>in-person meetings, with the one in Paris being merely the first of
>many, and even an overhead/expenses budget allowed to run as high as 10%
>of our total income. Those are different sorts of matters than a single
There was also general budget discussion involved, and perhaps it's a
little difficult to sort out when generalities are mixed with specifics
in the conversation. Certainly the Paris meeting should be the first of
many in-person meetings, but primarily because we plan for the
Foundation (and therefore the board) to exist for many years - in fact,
in perpetuity. But this may well be the only in-person meeting of the
board this year.
As for the idea of budgeting 10% to overhead expenses, overhead is
frankly such a loosely defined term as to have little meaning in this
discussion. To many organizations, computer hardware would fall into the
category of overhead, and that's currently what, 90% or more of our
expenses? The real problem is identifying our anticipated expenses and
justifying them. Then it won't look like we're paying for trustee
expenses, or anything else, out of some "slush fund". Obviously the
expense of Angela's trip has been well-justified to the community,
because people have stepped up and donated to support it. To identify
and justify other expenses, we should have a discussion on the
[[Wikimedia budget]] page on Meta.