This round of proposals to the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) presents a new and interesting challenge - that of reviewing the entirety of the Wikimedia Foundation's (WMF's) plan for the next year. As part of the FDC process, the WMF/FDC staff normally assemble a staff assessment of each proposal. In this case, however, the WMF/FDC staff have a potential bias here, since their work is included in the WMF's proposal.
As a result, we have asked Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE), the second largest entity in our movement, to do the staff assessment of the WMF's proposal, and they have agreed to do this. WMDE will be adapting the framework of the standard staff assessment as they see fit in order to appropriately assess the WMF's proposal; the main expectation we have is that they will help identify the key strengths and weaknesses of the proposal in their assessment. They will be sharing their assessment with the WMF on the 7th May, on the same day that the FDC staff will share their assessments with the other applicants, in both cases to check for factual inaccuracies. The assessment will be posted publicly on the 8th May, on the same day that the FDC staff will publicly post their assessments.
We would also like to encourage the other Wikimedia organisations to review the WMF's proposal, and to post comments and questions on the talk page for the proposal. It goes without saying that we also encourage Wikimedia community members to also review the WMF's proposal, and the other proposals in this round, and to similarly post comments and questions. Community feedback is important for the FDC work. The FDC will take all feedback into account during its deliberations next month. We will also be inviting specific community members with particular experience/skills to ask for their input on the proposals; please get in touch if you have any suggestions of community members that should be invited to do this.
Dariusz and Mike on behalf of the FDC
I strongly object that the advocacy_advisors list is being censored while
foundation officials pretend to hold open consultations there. Shame!
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "James Salsman" <jsalsman(a)gmail.com>
Date: Apr 30, 2014 8:38 AM
Subject: Re: [Advocacy Advisors] Coalitions on mass surveillance
To: "Advocacy Advisory Group for WMF LCA" <
Why not include people who are working on software based solutions instead
of just lobbying such as dnschain from http://okturtles.com ?
On Apr 30, 2014 8:30 AM, "Stephen LaPorte" <slaporte(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Hello all,
> We are considering joining the following coalitions which seek to protect
> free expression and privacy by opposing mass surveillance, and we would
> like to get your input. The Wikimedia community raised concerns with PRISM
> and other mass surveillance programs during a discussion on the topic in
> July 2013, as well as in our recent consultation on our revised privacy
> policy. After these discussions, we looked for opportunities to take a
> stance on mass surveillance that was consistent with our movement's mission
> and values, and is more global in nature. We believe the following two
> coalitions may meet these criteria:
> Necessary and Proportionate (https://necessaryandproportionate.org) - a
> set of principles on mass surveillance, based on international human rights
> Reform Government Surveillance (https://reformgovernmentsurveillance.com)
> - a call for global government surveillance reform, focusing on
> transparency and appropriate limitations.
> We would like to join like-minded organizations and ask for reform on the
> current state of mass surveillance. Privacy and free expression are
> essential components of our mission to disseminate free educational
> content. Your input on joining these coalitions would be greatly
> 0. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:PRISM
> 1. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Privacy_policy
> Stephen LaPorte
> Legal Counsel
> Wikimedia Foundation
> *For legal reasons, I may only serve as an attorney for the Wikimedia
> Foundation. This means I may not give legal advice to or serve as a lawyer
> for community members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal
> Advocacy_Advisors mailing list
In case anyone is interested in the content of the draft Annual Plan, there is plenty of discussion on the talk page and any editor in good standing can participate. The principal commentators on the talk page so far have been Nemo and I. Regardless of which organization does the staff assessment I think the discussion on the talk page is valuable and I encourage more people to review the plan and make comments. It would be good to have more diversity. If anyone has concerns about the plan's content, now is the time to say so. (: We're having a good discussion, please join us.
I'm glad WMF made the draft available for comment from the community, FDC, and other Wikimedia organizations.
I've started a page on Meta which I hope will act as a hub for
documentation and ideas around the training and development needs of
Wikimedia movement organisations:
I'd ask anyone who's interested in this kind of thing to have a look and
add examples and thoughts for the future.
As many people will know from my contributions to this year's and last
year's Wikimedia conference, or from the training workshop we held in
London in early March, this is an issue where I feel the movement (or, at
least, the part of the movement that is involved in movement
organisations!) can and should do better.
I was interested to read the Signpost coverage of the Wikimedia
Conference(1) which evidently comes from a similar point of view!
We are slightly hampered by the fact that there is no single body
responsible for doing this kind of training and development work, so I
would invite everyone with a stake in this (WMF, FDC, AffCom, Chapters,
Thorgs, User Groups, interested individuals) to treat this as something
where everyone can play a role in sharing experience, scoping out the way
forward, and building a better way of doing this for the future!
Good news! The successful, free journal access partnerships organized by
The Wikipedia Library are expanding with two new pilots:
* Oxford University Press - 150 accounts for humanities references -
* Royal Society Journals - 24 accounts for science journals -
There's also ongoing availability for:
* Questia Online Library - 600 accounts for news and social science
articles - http://enwp.org/WP:Questia
* HighBeam Research - 600 accounts for news archives -
Sign up today!
Jake Orlowitz (Ocaasi)
There are ~6000 languages in the world and around 3000 of them have
more than 10,000 speakers.
That approximation has some issues, but they are compensated by the
ambiguity of the opposition. Ethnologue is not the best place to find
precise data about the languages and it could count as languages just
close varieties of one language, but it also doesn't count some other
languages. Not all of the languages with 10,000 or more speakers have
positive attitude toward their languages, but there are languages with
smaller number of speakers with very positive attitude toward their
So, that number is what we could count as the realistic "final" number
of the language editions of Wikimedia projects. At the moment, we have
less than 300 language editions.
* * *
There is the question: Why should we do that? The answer is clear to
me: Because we can.
Yes, there are maybe more specific organizations which could do that,
but it's not about expertise, but about ability. Fortunately, we don't
need to search for historical examples for comparisons; the Internet
is good enough.
I still remember infographic of the time while all of us thought that
Flickr is the place for images. It turned out that the biggest
repository of images is actually Facebook, which had hundred times
more of them than the Twitpic at the second place, which, in turn, had
hundred times more of images than Flickr.
In other words, the purpose of something and general perception of its
purpose is not enough for doing good job. As well as comparisons
between mismanaged internet projects and mismanaged traditional
scientific and educational organizations are numerous.
At this point of time Wikimedia all necessary capacities -- and even a
will to take that job. So, we should start doing that, finally :)
* * *
There is also the question: How can we do that? In short, because of Wikipedia.
I announced Microgrants project of Wikimedia Serbia yesterday. To be
honest, we have very low expectations. When I said to Filip that I
want to have 10 active community members after the project, he said
that I am overambitious. Yes, I am.
But ten hours later I've got the first response and I was very
positively surprised by a lot of things. The most relevant for this
story is that a person from a city in Serbia proper is very
enthusiastic about Wikipedia and contributing to it (and organizing
contributors in the area). I didn't hear that for years! (Maybe I was
just too pessimistic because of my obsession with statistics.)
Keeping in mind her position (she said that she was always complaining
about lack of material on Serbian Wikipedia, although at this point of
time it's the encyclopedia in Serbian with the most relevant content)
and her enthusiasm, I am completely sure that many speakers of many
small languages are dreaming from time to time to have Wikipedia in
their native language.
Like in the case of a Serbian from the fifth or sixth largest city in
Serbia, I am sure that they just don't know how to do that. So, it's
up to us to reach them.
English Wikipedia has some influences on contemporary English language
("citation needed", let's say). It has more influences on languages
with smaller number of speakers, like Serbian is (Cyrillic/Latin
cultural war in Serbia was over at the moment when Serbian Wikipedia
implemented transliteration engine; it's no issue now, while it was
the issue up to mid 2000s).
But it's about well developed languages in the cultural sense. What
about not that developed ones? While I don't have an example of the
effects (anyone, please?), counting the amount of the written
materials in some languages, Wikipedia will (or already has) become
the biggest book, sometimes the biggest library in that language; in
some cases Wikipedia will create the majority of texts written in
While we think about Wikipedia as valuable resource for learning about
wide range of the topics, significance of Wikipedia for those peoples
would be much higher. If we do the job, there will be many monuments
to Wikipedia all over the world, because Wikipedia would preserve many
cultures, not just the languages.
* * *
There is the question "How?", at the end. There are numerous of
possible ways and there are also some tries to do that, but we have to
create the plan how to do that systematically, well, according to our
principles and goals and according to the reality.
What we know from our previous experiences:
* The number of editors has declined and, at the moment, without a
miracle (or hard work, but I assume the most of our movement is used
to miracles, not to hard work), the trend will continue. Contrary to
that, number of readers has increased. Unfortunately, in this case a
miracle is not necessary for that trend to end.
* If we count languages with relevant statistics for editors per
million, the top of them belong either to the highly motivated
communities (Hebrew), either to the rich countries with harsh climate,
which makes writing on Wikipedia as a good fun (Estonian, Icelandic,
Norwegian, Finish), either to the community which belongs to the both
categories (Scots Gaelic). And it's around 100 users per million.
If a community has 100,000 of speakers, it would mean that the
community would have 10 editors with 5 or more edits per month. In the
cases of the languages with 10,000 of speakers, it would mean 1 editor
with 5 or more edits per month. That won't work.
I'd say that Scots Gaelic could be a good test (Wikimedia UK help
needed!). It's a language with ~70k of speakers and if it's possible
to achieve 100 active editors per month, we could say that it could
somehow work in other cases, as well.
* Besides preserving languages and cultural heritage, we want to have
useful information on those Wikipedias. That's a tough job for many
communities because of various issues: from the lack of reasonable
internet access to the inherent cultural biases.
But we have some tools -- Wikidata as the most important one -- to
create a lot of useful content.
But the entrance level is very high. Editors have to know to use
computers well, as well as to think quite formally. That's serious
obstacle in areas without well developed educational systems.
* Good news is that we have chapters in three countries with a lot of
languages: India, Indonesia and Australia (though, it's about very
small languages in Australia; though, Australia is much richer). So,
we have organizational potential.
* There are, of course, a lot of other issues. Many of them, actually.
But if we wouldn't start, we wouldn't do anything.
* * *
As you could see, I wrote this not as a kind of plan, but as the set
of open questions. I'd like your input (first here, then on Meta):
What do you think? How can we start working on it? What do you think
it would be the most efficient way? Ways? Any other idea?
I'd call you to give wings to your imagination. To be able to solve
that, we need bold ideas. At the other side, I'd appreciate people
with more organizational skills to give their input, as well.