On Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 7:22 PM,
I don't care what people spoke of, nor of
what they desire, nor what their agenda is. I never supposed that people were conspiring
to fail. I care what effect the actions people are proposing will result in. I am quite
confident that the result of funding chapters though a WMF grant program pushes them
towards being franchises. I might be wrong about this, as I said. But please share the
underlying concepts that lead you to conclude that "these changes should have no
impact on that at all", so that I might be convinced as well. Your good intentions,
which I did not question, are irrelevant.
Perhaps I did not clarify a particular point very well in my first email. Donations pay
for bandwidth, servers, etc. The WMF has no idea, and is doing nothing to develop a
reliable accounting, on how effectively these donations are being used. WMF can only
report some numbers as to the quanity of use in different areas, but no one @ WMF could
tell me what is going on the Albanian Wikipedia. And if by some chance they could it
would be an anomaly. An evaluation of the effectiveness of program work cannot be
considered part of the near-term agenda. As for the rest I encourage you to exercise your
moral duty by helping the chapters fulfill the reporting requirements, implement the
financial controls, and operate transparently. You have been through this all before. You
were the chairman of the board when WMF was struggling with all of these items, so why not
use your experience directing WMF through being out of compliance with such things to
mentor those chapter which are struggling?
Isn't that exactly what they are doing? It would have been better to
institute higher expectations for a year from now instead of several
months, but setting relatively clear expectations and offering
assistance (while not taking the drastic step of cutting off funding
completely) is exactly what the Foundation is doing. Your arguments
seem predicated on the perception that the Foundation is cutting off
chapters completely, or moving in that direction, but I see no
evidence for that. Since you don't appear to be against the concepts
of accountability or appropriate financial controls, what would you
prefer the Foundation do beyond offering aid, bridge funding and a
template for organization to chapters who need such assistance?
I don't think chapters are being cut off I think they are being centralized.
Centralization, not lack of funding, is what I believe will make chapters ineffective.
Frankly, I think cutting off their funding would be less detrimental (although still not a
good thing) to the chapter's long-term effectiveness than centralizing them into a
grant program. It would be worse for the near-term, but many would still recover from it
as owner-led organizations funded locally outside of the WMF banner campaign.
I would prefer that aid be given to the chapters without drastically changing the
structure from being organizations who most naturally feel accountable to their local
populations who fund them to organizations who most naturally feel accountable to San
Francisco. All other things being equal imagine which of those organizations will be more
responsive and careful.