[Wikimedia-l] Resignation announcement, and a parting remark to everyone

Asaf Bartov abartov at wikimedia.org
Wed May 1 18:43:55 UTC 2013

Hi, Deryck.

Thank you.  Apology accepted.  I look forward to working with WMHK on a
suitable plan for development (even right now, though I'm guessing WMHK has
its hands full till after Wikimania).



On Wed, May 1, 2013 at 10:04 AM, Deryck Chan <deryckchan at wikimedia.hk>wrote:

> Hello everyone again.
> Thank you those of you who replied to me either on this thread or
> privately. I've already replied to them off-list where appropriate.
> I apologise that my intentionally harsh words in the original mail and
> subsequent public replies may have been construed as bad-faith personal
> attacks against certain members of WMF staff and the FDC. In particular, I
> recognise that my anecdotal use of the words "foul play" may have hurt
> people's feelings; I apologise and retract this remark. I have already
> filed a formal complaint in my personal capacity to the FDC ombudsmen. I'm
> determined to step away from Wikimedia administration matters, so I won't
> comment any more on this matter.
> Thanks for reading and I'm glad to see some positive suggestions coming out
> of this thread. I urge the WMF and FDC to implement the proposed supportive
> measures for local volunteers.
> Deryck
> On 28 April 2013 23:52, Deryck Chan <deryckchan at wikimedia.hk> wrote:
> > Dear trusty Wikimedians,
> >
> > The FDC decisions are out on Sunday. Despite my desperate attempts to
> > assist WMHK's board to keep up with deadlines and comply with seemingly
> > endless requests from WMF grantmaking and FDC support staff, we received
> an
> > overwhelmingly negative assessment which resulted in a complete rejection
> > of our FDC proposal.
> >
> > At this point, I believe it's an appropriate time for me to announce my
> > resignation and retirement from all my official Wikimedia roles - as
> > Administrative Assistant and WCA Council Member of WMHK. I will carry out
> > my remaining duties as a member of Wikimania 2013 local team.
> >
> > My experience with the FDC process, and the outcome of it, has convinced
> > me that my continued involvement will simply be a waste of my own time,
> and
> > of little benefit to WMHK and the Wikimedia movement as a whole.
> >
> > My experience with the FDC process has confirmed my ultimate scepticism
> > about the WMF's direction of development. WMF has become so conservative
> > with its strategies and so led into "mainstream" charity bureaucracy that
> > it is no longer tending to the needs of the wider Wikimedia movement.
> >
> > My experience with the FDC process has shown me that WMF is expecting
> > fully professional deliverables which require full-time professional
> staff
> > to deliver, from organisations run by volunteers who are running
> Wikimedia
> > chapters not because they're charity experts, but because they love
> > Wikimedia.
> >
> > My experience with the FDC process has demonstrated to me that WMF is
> > totally willing to perpetuate the hen-and-egg problem of the lack of
> staff
> > manpower and watch promising initiatives dwindle into oblivion.
> >
> > WMHK isn't even a new chapter. We've been incorporated and recognised by
> > WMF since 2007. Our hen-and-egg problem isn't new either. We've been
> vocal
> > about the fact that our volunteer force is exhausted, and can't do any
> > better without funding for paid staff and an office since 2010. Our
> request
> > for office funding was rejected. The year after, our request to become a
> > payment-processing chapter was rejected. The year after, we've got
> > Wikimania (perhaps because WMF fortunately doesn't have too much to do
> with
> > the bidding process), which gave us hope that we might finally be helped
> to
> > professionalise. But it came to nothing - this very week our FDC request
> > was rejected.
> >
> > And the reason? Every time the response from WMF was, effectively, we
> > aren't good enough therefore we won't get help to do any better. We don't
> > have professional staff to help us comply with the endless and
> > ever-changing professional reporting criteria, therefore we can't be
> > trusted to hire the staff to do precisely that.
> >
> > My dear friends and trusty Wikimedians, do you now understand the irony
> > and the frustration?
> >
> > Wikimedia didn't start off as a traditional charity. It is precisely
> > because of how revolutionary our mission and culture are, that we as a
> > movement have reached where we are today. A few movement entities,
> > particularly the WMF, managed to expand and take on the skin of a much
> more
> > traditional charity. But most of us are still youthful Wikimedia
> > enthusiasts who are well-versed with Wikimedia culture, but not with
> > charity governance. Imposing a professional standard upon a movement
> entity
> > as a prerequisite of giving it help to professionalise, is like judging
> > toddlers by their full marathon times.
> >
> > Is this what we want Wikimedia to become? To turn from a revolutionary
> > idea to a charity so conservative that it would rather perpetuate a
> > chicken-and-egg problem than support long-awaited growth? I threw in days
> > and days of effort in the last few years, often at the peril of my degree
> > studies, with the wishful thinking that one day the help will come to let
> > WMHK and all the other small but well-established chapters
> professionalise.
> >
> > I was wrong.
> >
> > With the FDC process hammering the final nail into my scepticism about
> > where WMF and the movement is heading, I figured that with a degree in
> > environmental engineering from Cambridge my life will be much better
> spent
> > helping other worthy causes than wasting days on Wikimedia administration
> > work only to have them go unappreciated time and time again.
> >
> > But I feel that it is necessary for me to leave a parting message to my
> > fellow Wikimedians, a stern warning about where I see our movement
> heading.
> > I feel that we're losing our character and losing our appreciation for
> > volunteers, in particular the limitations of volunteer effort.
> >
> > I leave you all with a final thought from Dan Pallotta: charitable
> efforts
> > will never grow if we continue to be so adverse about "overheads" and
> > staffing.
> >
> http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong.html
> >
> > With Wiki-Love,
> > Deryck
> >
> > PS. I wish there was an appropriate private mailing list for me to send
> > this to. Unfortunately, most of the important WMF stakeholders aren't
> > subscribed to internal-l, and most veteran chapters folks know what I
> want
> > to say already. I just hope that trolls wouldn't blow this out of
> > proportion. Or perhaps I do want this to be blown out of proportion so
> that
> > my voice will actually be heard. Thanks for reading.
> >
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    Asaf Bartov
    Wikimedia Foundation <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>

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