[Wikimedia-l] Board vote on narrowing focus

Ilario Valdelli valdelli at gmail.com
Fri Nov 2 16:14:01 UTC 2012

In general I agree with the narrowing focus, but what seems really strange
to me is that the strategies and in generale the evaluation (coming also
from FDC) are focused to promote bigger organizations which are able to
spend a lot.

Basically there is a weak evaluation costs/benefits. An organization
spending 30 millions of USD should produce benefits for 30 millions of USD
and should be evaluated as an organization spending 30 millions of USD. Big
budget -> stronger evaluation and stronger measures.

An organization (for instance a small chapter) spending 500K USD should be
evaluated as an organization spending 500K USD and this organization should
produce benefits for 500K USD. Small budget -> weak evaluation and flexible

Basically if a small chapter, spending 500K USD, is evaluated using the
same parameters of WMF, it should spent an additional amount of 500K USD to
create an organization and a paid staff in order to be able to be evaluated
at the same level of WMF and to receive the 500K USD for their projects
(total = 1 million of USD).

The criteria to evaluate chapters/organizations using the same parameters
of WMF basically imposes to all applicants a model and this would be a good
model, but it means that they should hire more people and should spent more

Basically the idea to use the grantmaking or the idea to setup a FDC are
not bad ideas, but these ideas are not supported by a "flexible" system of
evaluation. The request would impose the same standards of WMF to all
Wikimedia's organizations, but WMF is spending 30 MUSD plus a percentage of
the 11,4 MUSD, at the back there is WM DE spending 1,8 MUSD (5% compared
with the budget of WMF) and WM UK and WM FR (2% compared with the budget of
WMF), but they are evaluated using the same parameters of WMF.

My concern is linked to this point. The grantmaking (I include also the
FDC) may bar the access to the funds for smaller entities.

This may be a benefit because the control is perfect, but it may be also a
big damage for the movement because the control may be stifling. There is
not a "proportionate" control.

I remember that we discussed a lot during the meetings with WMF about how
people should manage the changes. The better solution to manage the changes
is to have a differentiation because the changes may block a lot some kinds
of organizations and may promote a lot some others. The changes make a
selection and if all of them are clones, the changes may kill all clones.

To impose a single model or to impose stronger rules would reduce a lot the
possibility to have a differentiation and would produce a group of
organizations which seems to be stronger and better, but essentially it
will lose the capacity to react to the changes.

I am not speaking about anarchy, in general I defend a lot the systems of
control, but a system of control and a system of evaluation should be

On Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 12:28 PM, Anders Wennersten <mail at anderswennersten.se
> wrote:

> The Board has earlier decided to give WMF an budget for 2012-2013 for 30,3
> MUSD for core activities, up from 26,2 the earlier year, mainly engineering
> and thing like fundraising support.
> The Board has also set a budget of 11,4 MUSD for activities partly to be
> disseminated to chapters and to a part to WMF, where Grants make up big
> part. The total of 11,4 is an increase.

Ilario Valdelli
Wikimedia CH
Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens
Association pour l’avancement des connaissances libre
Associazione per il sostegno alla conoscenza libera
Switzerland - 8008 Zürich
Tel: +41764821371

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