> Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2011 11:32:08 +0100
> From: Joan Goma <jrgoma(a)gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Fwd: Wikimedia India Program Trust
> To: foundation-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> > Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2011 03:30:06 -0800
> > From: Ray Saintonge <saintonge(a)telus.net>
> > Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Fwd: Wikimedia India Program Trust
> > To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
> > <foundation-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
> > Message-ID: <4EBE58BE.504(a)telus.net>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed
> > Thank you Liam for using the term, "organisational roles," instead of
> > the more pretentious, "movement roles." I find the whole thread
> > disturbing. I am and have always been a strong supporter of the autonomy
> > of both projects and chapters, and from that vantage point it is
> > difficult to see this initiative as leading to anything other than the
> > undermining of a chapter.
> I am also in favor of the autonomy of the projects and the chapters
> but autonomy
> does not mean autism. Whether we like it or not, there is a relationship
> between the chapters and projects. We can create channels to vehiculate it
> we can ignore it and go to have conflicts one after another.
> > It is all proceeding in a predictable pattern. It pits young amateurs
> > who have embraced an ideal as a labour of love and who have a na?vet?
> > about the ways of the world against goal-oriented professionals well
> > schooled in the sophisms that produce success. This does not establish
> > intent or malice; it's just the way things develop unless someone is
> > willing to step away and recognize the process for what it is.
> And the way things develop lead to a series of values ??that are good to
> grow and prosper trading companies: selfishness, envy, private property,
> exclusivity, greed ... The values ??of our edditing community are
> opposed to those. I think we need to establish channels for the values
> motivations of the edditing communities be moved to chapters.
> > I am an amateur. I am not motivated by dreams of a sinecure or reveries
> > of prestige. I don't care if anything that I do becomes a polished
> > feature articles. I don't care if the site has a professional appearance
> > with consistent format throughout. I am not obsessed by growth, or by
> > leading the global south by the hand into salvation. It's nice if that
> > can happen, and nicer if they can figure it out for themselves. My
> > bottom line remains a commitment to share the sum of the world's
> > knowledge. Not more, not less.
> > When I hear of things like these Indian developments, I start to get the
> > impression that we have lost our way. As much as the organizers may
> > deny, it's as plain as day that these two organizations are being set up
> > to compete. That alienates people.
> > Ray
> If members of these organizations were like you it would be impossible to
> compete in the worst sense of the word. I also think that we have begun to
> lose out way but not by establishing two organizations in the same
> territory and that this will necessarily lead to a savage competition among
> them but because of the risk that these organizations and the individuals
> compose them were not imbued enought with the values ??and the mechanisms
> would make this result impossible.
> I think there is no reason to believe that we will have more problems by
> having 2 organizations in India thant those we have by having 20
> organizations in Europe. In fact to go for a similar proportion we should
> have 50 organizations in India.
Europe is a big culturally diverse subcontinent of Eurasia with many
different Wikimedia organisations. So is India. India could organise itself
similarly to Europe with chapters following Political boundaries, or you
could do it by language instead, or perhaps by function - I've been
involved in charities where the fundraising organisation was quite distinct
from the volunteering fundspending organisation. Or maybe there would be
some other way that would work for Indian Wikimedians.
My advice as a complete outsider is that there are many ways that India
could choose to structure itself; but if you come up with a structure that
leaves Wikimedians from outside India suspecting there would be an overlap,
then don't be surprised if Indians who are not Wikimedians are similarly
confused. If Wikimedia in India emerges with a structure that only people
who are both Indians and also Wikimedians understand then you risk
confusing the press complicating things for yourselves. If remits are clear
and minimally overlapping then 1, 5 or 50 organisations might be sensible.
If remits substantially overlap and you can't clearly explain the different
roles then its probably best to just have the one organisation.
An Important Perspective from Pune wikimedia Community .
Putting blame on students and educational system does not help us to study
from this experience . In addition , i was always wondering how we omitted
addressing copy-vios from the programme plan, since it is always expected
in "assignment" based IEP model .
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ashwin Baindur <ashwin.baindur(a)gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 9:13 AM
Subject: Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Death and Post-mortem of Indian Education
To: Wikimedia India Community list <wikimediaindia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
*On Sun, Nov 13, 2011 at 4:28 PM, Srikanth Lakshmanan <srik.lak(a)gmail.com>
*I would also request people not to fork any more new threads on this with
same thoughts, *
CAMPUS AMBASSADOR SETBACK - The Local Community Viewpoint
The recent hiatus in the Campus Education program proved what the Pune
Community knew. That the statue had feet of clay. For a long time we have
kept quiet, not wanting to disturb the boat but the time has come to tell
the tale. So it helps all concerned to revisit the previous decisions,
actions and provides for better opportunities for improvements in future.
Hisham first came to Pune in February to our meetup on his trip around the
country to meet communities. He is smart, very likeable, intelligent,
focussed and erudite. We were impressed and happy that a suitable person
would support communities through the India program.
In his subsequent visits over the next two months, whenever we met, there
was no mention of the campus ambassador scheme or of a pilot project. The
ambassador project was launched without any intimation and/or consultation
with the community. The launch of the pilot project in Pune came as a
complete surprise to the Community who read it from news reports.
Ignoring the slight, on the basis of an email received rather late in the
day, we looked forward to participating and hoped to make a meaningful
contribution. We felt that with our contacts, experience, knowledge of
local language, customs, etc. It would be a mutually beneficial partnership
with campus ambassadors, which would result in adding to the strength of
the very small community in Pune. We had no illusions that we could add
great editting power to the venture because of the size of our community.
Instead, we hoped to play the role of friend, philosopher and guide. We
hoped to bring the following to the venture:
* Wiki editting experience - we had a small handful of veteran editors
including an admin (Srikeit). Whereas Hisham had none and little knowledge
of the environment or knowledge of the way Wikipedians think.
* Huge experience in event management, FOSS, crisis-management in wide
fields of experience etc.
* Intimate life-long knowledge of the educational system in Pune. One of
our communities member Harshad is a notable cog in the academy machinery.
Sudhanwa has been instructor in half a dozen colleges and has a valuable
network of contacts in Pune as well as insight into attitudes, local
politics, expectations etc. The Community also has well-wishers such as Mr
Lalit Kathpalia, Director SICSR besides others.
* A permanent long-term continuing presence in Pune (which Hisham or his
staff do not have even today).
* Capacity to act as mentors to campus ambassadors and provide moral and
other kinds of support to CAs.
* Capacity to act as “train the trainers”.
* A limited capacity to edit the offerings of the students (which we
considered, the least of the value that we could bring to the table).
* Expertise for the Indic wikipedia aspects of the initiative, especially
Somehow, I do not know why, involvement of the community itself was
bypassed, not wanted or not required by the program team. We were always
asking for information, it was not directed purposefully towards us. The
time came for the first Campus Ambassador. When we suggested that it was
time to develop the syllabus, we were sent the American syllabus used to
train the CAs which had a different setting to ours. We were wondering how
such a thing was to be implemented. We prepared our draft points for how
the training should be organised and waited to discuss the issue but by the
time we could meet again, it was just a few days away from the training.
To our surprise, we came to know of an airlift of PPI bigwigs from America
- Frank Schulenberg, Annie Lin and PJ Tabit (an American CA on sabbatical
to Pune). When we met just two days before the training became, we were
told that Annie was driving the show. When Annie was asked what role she
expected us to play, she asked Ashwin to give an opening address and we
played some part in some discussions and case studies. Sudhanwa and Ashwin
were there on Day One and Madar Kulkarni on Day two. Srikeit was there on
both days (we came to know he is being co-opted into the CA program on a
Mr Lalit Kathpalia, a well-wisher of the Wikipedia Pune Community and
Director, Symbiosis Institue of Computer Science and Research and Mr
Harshad Gune, Deputy Director and member of Pune Wikipedian community
provided the facilities for conduct of the CA program.
During the training, the CAs were eager, excited and charged up. Frank,
Annie, PJ did a great job in the training, even though it was clear to us
that what was the need of the moment was not being taught. Without even the
know how of how to do a single meaningful edit, CAs were being motivated to
be effective campus ambassadors - the horse was put before the cart.
During the training, we felt there was a disjunct between what the Pune
community was propagating as the points for immediate action and the
message being given in the training. For example, the need for being a
competent editor was being glossed over, in fact we felt that the message
was that editting and Wiki experience is over-rated, that newcomers do a
better job than Wikipedians.
After the training, Ashwin wrote a note of dissent on the talk page of the
CAs at the time:
In the light of how the community perceived itself, we gave address on a
number of issues, which were voiced to Hisham over a period of time. At
that point of time, the involvement of the Pune community in the
WikiConference work had not yet started. A large number of issues were
raised. These included:
* Need for a project management approach, with deliverables, stages,
identification of scaling resources, check-backs, etc was emphasised.
* Attitudes of local college managements and how to function in Pune
academic environment were given.
* Intricacies of academic systems in the colleges, universities in Pune
* Cultural differences between colleges, their goals and priorities, as
well as their mutual relations were told.
* It was indicated that this was the wrong timing to start the program from
point of view of forthcoming exams and vacations.
* We asked an important question - what is the take home for the stake
holders? There were adequate take-homes for the CA (a certificate, a T
shirt, learning experiences. opportunities in Wikiworld, recognition and
some marks for the exam). The participating students were only getting
wiki-knowledge and assignment marks. Was that enough to motivate them?
There was no formal training for the actual editors.
* Most important of all, what is there in return to the stake holders like
colleges? This question is still unanswered. There has to be something for
all the stakeholders (CAs, students, college teachers, college management,
community, IEP program team) in the program. Right now, only Wikipedia is
the ultimate beneficiary. and partly CAs and some students. For a win-win
situation, everybody must have something reasonable for take-home.
* We repeatedly emphasised the need for the staff person to be recruited
from Pune and function from Pune 24x7, who should preferably be
Maharashtrian, and having local contacts, rather than be from Delhi,
stationed there and fly in here for a few days a week (as we were told it
* The need for rigorous training of campus ambassadors and formal training
for student editors.
The community felt that it was not quite being listened to. Slowly contact
with Hisham dwindled. We never came to know except through grape-vine when
Hisham was in town. It appeared to us that the community mattered no more
and the IEP (India Education Project) was the whole-soul focus. Our contact
with local CAs was not encouraged. When a request was made for at least one
Pune community member to be on the CA mailing list so that we could be in
the loop and available for ready support and advice, it was not agreed.
This led to the community being effectively excluded from CA. Hisham had
never seriously advocated interaction of CAs with us and only a few
Wikipedian CAs and some other interested CAs interacted with us
sporadically. Some of CAs turned up at our last monthly meetup only after
they got a bashing about the copy-vios asking for some help. And then
vanished again when some suggestions and action plan was given.
There was one exception. One of the Pune community members, Prof Radha
Misra is running a quiet, efficient IEP in her department and college. The
community was invited by her to conduct two wiki-academies in different
workshops in her College which were successfully conducted. We thank her
for the support to the community.
Reluctantly we came to the conclusion that the local Pune community had no
role to play in IEP. We decided to support the initiative passively. Soon
the WikiConference planning started and our attention and energies were
>From time to time some news leaked through and we got the idea the CA
program was being grilled by the world community. Out of sheer lack of
interest, we had stopped inquiring into CA affairs, we no longer watched
IEP pages though we came across some activity going on from time to time.
Because of this, the true state of affairs and scope of the setback came to
us only with the latest Signpost.
Now a lot of blame has been put on the educational system, students
attitudes etc. That is true that they are a contributory cause but the
blame must also lie with those responsible for planning. If the priorities
in training CAs were got wrong, it takes no leap of imagination to imagine
other decisions may not have been optimal either. The Campus Ambassadors,
God bless them, are mostly blameless.
The Pune Community had a clearer idea of what was involved right in the
beginning than the India Programs office. Its decades of experience in
academicia (Harshad & Sudhanwa), FOSS (Sudhanwa), industry (Mandar),
teaching (Sudhanwa & Ashwin), marketing (Mahitgar), retired marathi expert
(J), business (Suhel), armed forces (Ashwin), Wikipedia experience (in
en:WP, mr:WP, Commons) and the general management experience and detailed
on-site knowledge etc were a very valuable human resource, and these were
made available to Hisham. He chose to sip sparingly. Perhaps, just perhaps,
if he had drunk deeply - recognised that the miniscule Pune community was a
true well-wisher, and had made us a true partner, the outcome may have been
The purpose of this feedback is to educate people about the need to engage
local communities. Communities are not easily engaged. Each has its own
complexities. Their capacities to help you forward your plans may be
limited and nuanced. They cannot be taken for granted either. Often you
have to prove your worth to them. Some communities may even be of nuisance
value unless engaged. But if properly engaged, they can bring you unique
viewpoints, opportunities; they will stand by you in difficult times,
sometimes a critical breakthrough may come from them. They are an important
stakeholder, no matter what your opinion of them is and they will play a
role in your activities. It is up to you to help make them an asset or a
liability and that, in our opinion, is a vital lesson to learn in addition
to all the others.
We are really unhappy that the Pune pilot should falter and that all this
has to come out. But the lesson needs to be learned, so the story needs to
Sudhanwa Jogalekar, Mandar Kulkarni, Ashwin Baindur and other members of
Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit
"[It is not] possible to distinguish between 'numerical' and 'nonnumerical'
algorithms, as if numbers were somehow different from other kinds of
precise information." - Donald Knuth
"[It is not] possible to distinguish between 'numerical' and 'nonnumerical'
algorithms, as if numbers were somehow different from other kinds of
precise information." - Donald Knuth
Regarding my contrubution
I beg to know the "Aktenzeichen" of the court decision Philippe is
referring to. This decision is unknown to the German community. German
court decisions including "Einstweilige Verfügungen" are public
documents (free of copyright) and WMF has a duty to support
transparency. This is a copyright case without privacy concerns and I
cannot accept that necessary information is given according
Dear friends, please find in this link
photos of our Wiki meetup of yesterday in the Astronomical Observatory
of La Plata.
Most of the people you can see in the group photo are wikimedians, but
in the afternoon we had workshops for newbies and more people arrived:
students and professors of La Plata University to learn how to edit
Wikipedia, and librarians to see how to scann books with a "Do It
Yourself" Book Scanner. We used an ancient astronomie book of 1764 wich
will be soon uploaded to Wikimedia Commons -after post processing.
Matthew Roth was also here, making some interviews for the fundraising.
Identi.ca / Twitter: @patriciolorente
> Date: Sat, 12 Nov 2011 03:30:06 -0800
> From: Ray Saintonge <saintonge(a)telus.net>
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Fwd: Wikimedia India Program Trust
> To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
> Message-ID: <4EBE58BE.504(a)telus.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed
> Thank you Liam for using the term, "organisational roles," instead of
> the more pretentious, "movement roles." I find the whole thread
> disturbing. I am and have always been a strong supporter of the autonomy
> of both projects and chapters, and from that vantage point it is
> difficult to see this initiative as leading to anything other than the
> undermining of a chapter.
I am also in favor of the autonomy of the projects and the chapters
does not mean autism. Whether we like it or not, there is a relationship
between the chapters and projects. We can create channels to vehiculate it or
we can ignore it and go to have conflicts one after another.
> It is all proceeding in a predictable pattern. It pits young amateurs
> who have embraced an ideal as a labour of love and who have a na?vet?
> about the ways of the world against goal-oriented professionals well
> schooled in the sophisms that produce success. This does not establish
> intent or malice; it's just the way things develop unless someone is
> willing to step away and recognize the process for what it is.
And the way things develop lead to a series of values that are good to
grow and prosper trading companies: selfishness, envy, private property,
exclusivity, greed ... The values of our edditing community are completely
opposed to those. I think we need to establish channels for the values and
motivations of the edditing communities be moved to chapters.
> I am an amateur. I am not motivated by dreams of a sinecure or reveries
> of prestige. I don't care if anything that I do becomes a polished
> feature articles. I don't care if the site has a professional appearance
> with consistent format throughout. I am not obsessed by growth, or by
> leading the global south by the hand into salvation. It's nice if that
> can happen, and nicer if they can figure it out for themselves. My
> bottom line remains a commitment to share the sum of the world's
> knowledge. Not more, not less.
> When I hear of things like these Indian developments, I start to get the
> impression that we have lost our way. As much as the organizers may
> deny, it's as plain as day that these two organizations are being set up
> to compete. That alienates people.
If members of these organizations were like you it would be impossible to
compete in the worst sense of the word. I also think that we have begun to
lose out way but not by establishing two organizations in the same
territory and that this will necessarily lead to a savage competition among
them but because of the risk that these organizations and the individuals that
compose them were not imbued enought with the values and the mechanisms that
would make this result impossible.
I think there is no reason to believe that we will have more problems by
having 2 organizations in India thant those we have by having 20
organizations in Europe. In fact to go for a similar proportion we should
have 50 organizations in India.
> From: Liam Wyatt <liamwyatt(a)gmail.com>
> I understand what you mean, and agree with the sentiment, but I think the
> "funding question" you're referring to is the practical application of the
> broader issue of "organisational roles".
> What I still don't understand, despite the fast and helpful answers from
> both yourself and Hisham (thank you) is the differentiation of the
> organisational roles between the Trust and the Chapter. I had originally
> assumed that the Trust was set up because it provided a legal way for the
> WMF India Team to be a 'branch' organisation of the WMF (not just
> individual contractors). But, from reading the description of the legal
> setup of the Trust, it seems that the Trust is, in fact, legally
That is correct. The Trust is legally independent of WMF. A important driver for this was to provide adequate legal insulation for its team members arising out of potential issues on content, over which the team has no editorial control, in any case.
> Presumably this means that Hisham and the rest of the team are
> now employees of the Trust and no longer contractors to the WMF directly.
Not yet. All 3 of us are still consultants to WMF. (I have taken on an additional responsibility at the Trust.)
Once the funding for the Trust is in place, it will house the team (and they will no longer be consultants to WMF.)
> If that is the case, then presumably the WMF has basically the same amount
> of legal and financial control over the Trust than it has over the Chapter.
> Namely, it provides project funds (one-off or ongoing) and provides
> trademark permission.
You are right in that WMF's legal and financial controls over the Trust and Chapter are similar at an organisational level (and by organisation, I mean Trust & Chapter, not WMF). Having said that, when a formal grant is made to the Trust, there will be a significantly intensive degree of programmatic, governance and financial control over a grant to the Trust. For instance, statutory financial audits will be prescribed and ad hoc financial audits will be permissible. A governing council will be established for WMF to review plans and progress on grants and provide strategic and operational directives.
> Both organisations, presumably, also have the right
> to seek funding and undertake projects independently from the WMF so long
> as they meet their organisation's mission.
Yes, that is correct. Having said that, and I speak for the Trust here, fund-raising is not something that we have been tasked with and we lack the organizational bandwidth to conduct this systematically. (The India Programs team is currently 3 strong - and is budgeted at a total strength of 5.)
> Therefore... I'm confused about the differentiation of organisational roles
> because it seems we now have two, independent from each other, non-profit
> organisations in India that are both also equally independent from the WMF.
The Chapter is already registered as a non-profit. The Trust is applying for non-profit status. I'd nuance the independence from WMF of the Trust at an organization level (which is true) with my earlier comments about governance, oversight and audit controls at a grant / program level.
> The only difference, as I understand it from what Bishakha explained
> earlier, is that the Chapter is legally a "Society" (with an elected board
> and members) and the Trust has two appointed trustees.
> Is that the case?
Hopefully provided a clearer picture in my earlier answers?
> As a practical question - to make it more concrete and
> less abstract - what can the Trust do that the Chapter cannot?
> And, if the
> Chapter can legally do all the things that the Trust can do (and the WMF
> has the same amount of control either way), why do we need two
Legally, I think there is very little distinction in terms of what can be exclusively done by either Chapter or Trust.
From a practical perspective, I'd say the Trust would have - by virtue of (eventually) having a full-time team - the required capacity and capability to undertake programs with a level of intensity that the Chapter would find challenging (at the present time) - again, largely because the Chapter (currently) does not have a full-time team in place.
The advantage that Trust brings to the table is speed and intensity. I think the nature of the Trust's operations will be to identify high-potential opportunities, design & implement high-quality pilots and transfer learnings to the Chapter, other community groups and the community at large. As and when the Chapter and/or other community bodies have built the capacity to take over projects from the Trust, the Trust will fully facilitate this.
The advantage that the Chapter has is scale. By nature of its large membership base, and the geographic spread of this membership base, the Chapter will probably always be best placed to ran large-scale national programs.
Having said all this, I understand your line of questioning. This is a catalyst project and this is the first time this has been done anywhere so we need to evolve an appropriate cohabitation model. I'd just reiterate that there is so much to do that there is enough work and more for the Chapter and the Trust and other community groups (and others too!)
Thank you for your well-reasoned thoughts. We have taken down the images
in Loriot for legal reasons, and we will post our basis shortly.
You didn't read my message. With all respect: PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE
ARE NO SENSITIVE ISSUES IN THIS CASE which concerns the copyright
status of modern German stamps. The office action was a clear mistake
and it's not relevant how often office action werde made if WMF's
counsel was clearly misleaded. Therefore there is, I repeat this, NO
need that I or another German wikipedian contact the counsel. WMF has
the duty publicly to discuss the case!