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

Dariusz Jemielniak darekj at alk.edu.pl
Wed May 1 19:06:02 UTC 2013

Dear Deryck,

many thanks for your letter. It is a relief to know that you're not
assuming bad faith.  I really hope that your enthusiasm for Wikimedia will
not die out completely.

One remark: I think that you may need to file a complaint not in your
personal capacity, but representing the chapter (it would be logical if
only the organizations, which are dissatisfied with the results related to
them, could complain). The deadline is also quite short, 7 days from the
day the recommendations were published.



On Wed, May 1, 2013 at 7:04 PM, 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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dr hab. Dariusz Jemielniak
profesor zarządzania
kierownik katedry Zarządzania Międzynarodowego
i centrum badawczego CROW
Akademia Leona Koźmińskiego

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