On Sun, Apr 27, 2014 at 11:51 PM, Gautam John <gautam@akshara.org.in> wrote:
In general, are Chapters expected to focus on what the goals of the
WMF and FDC are? Or are they free to chart their own course about
things that they believe are important to the geographies they serve?
And if they don't toe the WMF/FDC policy/strategy line then they don't
get money? How does this foster any sort of independence?

To put it simply:

1. Chapters are free to set their own course and come up with their own strategy, goals, and annual plans.  They are thus independent.

2. Chapters that want to avail themselves of _movement funds_ -- a relatively plentiful and relatively accessible source of funding -- do need to propose compelling plans with at least a considerable emphasis on the goals identified as strategic goals for Wikimedia.  They are still free to pursue specific programs and interests that are a good match for their context -- regional, organizational, and motivational (i.e. what their own volunteers are most motivated to work on).  The balance between definitely-strategic and perhaps-less-strategic-but-making-sense-in-context initiatives needs to be a reasonable one, and to be reasonably argued for, but it can certainly be done.

3. In my earlier comments, I was suggesting that WMIN _not_ forego movement funding, because, in my opinion, its actual goals and its volunteer base _are not_ in fact too divergent from movement goals and WMF's expectations.  I asserted that the abiding disagreement between WMF and WMIN is much more around the _how_ than the _what_, and that that disagreement can be surmounted.   (I acknowledge, however, that it has so far seen little positive development: despite much investment of time and effort from both sides, and multiple channels (including face to face conversations) attempted, neither side has accepted the other's expectations so far.)

I remain interested, as mentioned earlier on this thread, to engage with WMIN on a more constructive note, on a path toward greater credibility and confidence in WMIN from WMF; such a path would need to go through realistic growth planning, demonstrable community engagement and support, and some sustained record of success.  In a way, the latest round of discussions with WMIN has resulted in something along those lines, at least in terms of WMIN's current plans and three short-term focuses (I wonder if they were shared with this list -- if not, perhaps the EC would consider doing so).  I remain frankly skeptical of WMIN's ability to execute those plans in terms of volunteer engagement (and even EC/board engagement), but I would be _delighted_ to be proven too pessimistic.  I am happy to discuss more strategic planning (as distinct from the three short-term focuses) any time, if WMIN's current leadership would show interest.



    Asaf Bartov
    Wikimedia Foundation

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