Craig Franklin wrote:
The Foundation acted to strip chapters of their
fundraising authority at
the first opportunity, based on what clearly seems to be a pre-determined
ideological decision that doesn't take actual evidence into account and
centralises movement decision making authority even further in the WMF?
Colour me surprised.
As I understand the history here (and please correct me where I'm wrong),
Wikimedia UK was one of the early chapters (along with Wikimedia
Deutschland and a few others) that set up fundraising agreements in the
mid-2000s. This resulted in a few Wikimedia chapters receiving a
disproportionate and frankly exorbitant amount of money as donation income
steadily increased over the years and the agreements (which were
percentage-based) stayed in place. Eventually the agreements were
renegotiated, but not before a few chapters had hundreds of thousands of
dollars and no concrete plans for what to do with this money.
Wikimedia UK in particular had bad enough management issues that in late
2012, the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia UK worked together to
generate a report about the various management and governance deficiencies
within the organization, which was posted a little over a year ago.
The history here is complex and it's certainly possible that the Wikimedia
Foundation is acting in its own interest rather than in the interest of
the Wikimedia movement. However, I have difficulty understanding why the
decision to not renew Wikimedia's UK fundraising agreement would be
surprising, given the historical context. I'm not sure this decision would
be surprising to an outside observer.
To that end, on the subject of outside observers and open letters: when
writing such a letter, it's important to give context and err on the side
of formality. I've never seen a professional letter begin with "Dear Sue"
(no last name or contact information provided) and end with "Yours
sincerely, Jon" (no last name or contact information provided). This isn't
a huge deal, but it's perhaps indicative.