HI Vikram Vincent.

On Sat, Apr 19, 2014 at 5:33 PM, Vikram Vincent <vincentvikram@gmail.com> wrote:
Such apprehensions exist in all communities where there are volunteers
and employees whether the Linux kernel, GCC, LibC, Wikipedia, etc..

Wikipedia is unique in many aspects and should not be confused with other FOSS and Free Knowledge projects.

For example, in Ubuntu and WordPress, there are many full time employees contributing code. Whether you are volunteer or not, the ultimate product / deliverable is same and the output can be clearly mesaured. Except few non-technical employees, most of the employees are developers.  And none of these organizations work purely on a donation basis.

Comparing this to Wikipedia, almost 99% of content is generated by volunteers. In fact, generating content by paid programs is strictly banned or has strict guidelines in most of the projects.

Wikipedia is run solely by donations appreciating the work of the volunteers. I have seen donors who are shocked to know that their money is spent on things other than technical needs.

In such a situation, WMF which handles the donated money has a responsibility to invest that wisely and transparently.

But that is not happening. WMF is squandering a lot of money on "experimental programs" with no measure of outcomes.



where the reckless spending of money by chapters is criticized.

Interestingly, I don't see such criticism for programs run directly or indirectly by WMF like the CIS-A2K program.

// IMO I am fine with a paid employee doing more work than a volunteer
cause that is a strength and I am also fine with the employee setting
goals. Volunteers may either work on those goals or create their own.//

Paid empoyees are free to set independent goals that don't interefere or mislead a naive community.

//Now, one weakness in the current model is that it is pedagogically not
sound.  It does not effectively engage the learner within the context
of education in India.  And due to this we lose out on the multitude
of students who join us in the initial stages.  This problem is common
to both volunteer driven and paid project driven activities.
Second weakness would be making the new comers self-sufficient and
enabling them to continue contributing even after the program is done.//

The fundamental issue is the lack of understanding by these Education program designers that not everyone can and need to become a Wikipedian.

Heck, I contribute to Tamil Wikipedia for 9 years. Even if you lock me in a room and torture me, I won't contribute to English Wikipedia :) People's motivations vary.

Not everyone can and need to become a poet / musician / FOSS geek / green peace volunteer.

Any such program to convert people en mase by rigorous training and measurement is fundamentally flawed.

All successful Wikipedia communities are organically grown which takes lot of time.

There is no point running half baked programs with huge cost and zero understanding of ground realities.

I can even tolerate if there is zero output from these. But, programs like these spoil the community dynamics and make them clueless and spoon feeding dependent for ever.