[Wikimedia-l] Funds Dissemination Committee first progress reports

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Sat Jun 15 04:46:33 UTC 2013

On Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 11:43 PM, Craig Franklin
<cfranklin at halonetwork.net> wrote:
> Thanks SJ for these thoughts, it's gratifying and encouraging that we have
> a WMF trustee on the case :-)

The Board FDC liaisons are putting more thought into this than I am;
I'm just brainstorming quickly on the mailing list and encouraging
more of the same :-)

> While getting chapter staff to likewise review reports is a good idea,
> there are two potential problems that I can see with it:
> 1.  Chapter staff may be unwilling to criticise the reports of other
> chapters that they're hoping to embark on joint projects with

Yes.  WMF staff may have the same potential concerns (and joint
projects).  Other options such as outside review (as you suggest) are
also available; but these brief reviews should be much less difficult
and controversial than the FDC decisions.

> 2.  The various funding programs available through the WMF (FDC, GAC) make
> no secret of the fact that they want staff to be doing programme work,
> *not* administrative or overhead work.  It would be difficult for most
> chapters to spare the resources to do this properly.

Perhaps.  If we're organizing an increasing number of things into
programs with plans, timelines, and metrics: then every community
needs to develop some facility for refactoring, reviewing, measuring,
and tracking projects.  That sort of self-reflection is essential to
daily work, and should happen regularly at the lowest possible level;
so I'm not comfortable framing it as costly overhead.  That's like
saying that organizing an RfC is costly overhead.

Moreover some of the program work of local groups involves overseeing
microgrants.  Which requires specific facility in this sort of review.

> Perhaps the movement could look at getting an external firm in to do the
> assessment?  It would probably be costly, but if the firm is properly
> chosen it should at least minimise any COI concerns.  Of course, their
> reporting can and should be supported by vigourous assessment by the
> community.

This is certainly an option if it proves essential and worth the
expense.  I'd like to see how simply and inexpensively we can
accomplish the same thing, however.  I'd rather see this become less
of a big deal - a rolling process that many people can contribute to,
in steps - than more of one.


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