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
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.