Board vote poll

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Preamble[edit]

This is a poll to see if we pay Anthere and Angela for their trip to Paris for a meetup with Jimbo. See fr for more info. This is poll is about this topic alone, and does not set a precedent. We can discuss a formal plan later, I just want deal with the issue at hand as the meeting is quite soon. Burgundavia 18:25, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Note : we will certainly not be paid. Angela could have her travel costs reimbursed. Which is seriously different. Also, if it would to happen, it would not be on donations made by participants, but on a grant Wikimedia received, with no obligation to spent it for a specific reason (such as hardware).

Support giving Foundation money[edit]

  1. Burgundavia 18:25, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  2. BCorr|Брайен 18:29, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  3. Shaihulud 18:35, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  4. sannse 18:46, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  5. Arne (akl) 18:54, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  6. Looxix 18:56, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  7. villy 19:22, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  8. David Gerard 19:40, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  9. Yann 20:32, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  10. Erik Zachte 02:10, Jun 24, 2004 (UTC)
  11. Aphaia 10:51, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  12. Fuzheado 10:58, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  13. Suisui 19:03, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  14. Danny 23:34, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  15. Tietew 04:32, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  16. AndrewCates 10:43, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  17. Fruggo

Oppose[edit]

  1. Seth Ilys 18:38, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC), at least until the questions below are answered to my satisfaction, although I'd be more than happy to contribute a couple dollars to Angela or Anthere personally if they state that they have a shortage of funds with which to conduct vital Wikimedia business.
  2. Delirium 21:08, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC) Don't feel in-person board meetings ought to currently be a priority, especially compared to in-person developer meetings, in-person article-writer meetings, and article-writer research trips. Plus, I feel important business ought to be done online, where more people can participate.
  3. According to the bylaws, only the board can authorize such reimbursement. Anthony DiPierro
  4. I'm opposed to the idea of small polls, even if it's only one time. I want the board to put down specific plans on paper how to deal with these situations in the future. I have absolutely no problem with our nice board or with Angela, but we need a good plan before we spend our precious money. ✏ Sverdrup 16:25, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  5. B 18:53, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC) If the coffer was much fuller with a reasonably-based projection of a signficant income stream to wikimedia, I'd feel differently. But at this time someone who has willingly taken on this fiduciary responsibility ought to willingly sacrifice for this luxury. Let's not kid ourselves that it's a necessity when it's not. I'd be ashamed not to make a greater self-sacrifice in a situation like this. I agree with Delirium that at this point there must certainly be higher budget priorities, and I agree with Sverdrup that a good plan must precede expenditures. Other expenditures for keeping wikipedia running smoothly have obviously been needed, but random expenditures and random polls is no way to run a budget. If they want to setup a paypal account or something and petition wikipedians to contribute to pay for this expense, more power to them...but not wikimedia money. If wikipedians really feel this expense is necessary, they should have no problem raising funds outside of wikimedia.

Neutral[edit]

  1. pir 21:36, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC) Although I think it is justified that Anthere and Angela are reimbursed for this, it will set a precedent and it will be difficult to set limits on reimbursements in the future ; there should be a seperate fund explicitly created for such trips, it should not come out of the main Foundation pot - many people who donate will probably be a bit surprised about this use ; I would be more than happy to donate money to such a fund in general and for this trip in particular.
  2. First, please note that it is only in the last six weeks (since the Prix Ars Electronica award) that we have had any money for even thinking about non-hardware expenses. Most previous decisions were easy for that reason. Secondly, of course these travel expenses should be shared by the community, as should developer expenses incurred travelling to colo's, the costs of printing official business cards and stationery, &c. Simply asking on the mailing list (not even asking the larger community) has generated enough to cover Angela's trip. However, it would have been inelegant to pay out of existing foundation funds without a Board meeting at which this was discussed (cf. the bylaw section Angela quotes below), and I think the resolution reached on the mailing list was a better one. Wikimedia should be as meticulous as possible in its organization, so that even the most paranoid have no fear of our future or our intentions. Finally, holding small regular fundraisers for tangible, well-publicized event like this, is not only a great way to guarantee contentment with the budget for that event, but also a fantastic way to raise money. +sj+ 22:18, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)

General Assumptions[edit]

These are assumptions made by me, and as such are not part of the vote above. However, they are fairly reasonable, I feel.

  • 1. All expenses be laid out item by item for each of the board members claiming expense. They should have receipts to prove expenses
  • 2. All reasonable attempts are made to lower expenses
  • 3. That each board member wishing to claim expenses state what the likely total expenses wil be, within a reasonable limit

Burgundavia 19:52, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Discusssion[edit]

Many questions: When is this meetup? What is it's purpose? What about the other two members of the Board? What is the cost (numbers, please?)? Will this be a recurring expense? Will the Foundation be paying for transport itself, or simply reimbursing Angela and Anthere? Why can't we just give Angela and Anthere money for such purposes directly as individuals, rather than going through the foundation? What about Jimbo's Wikimedia-related travel expenses? Do we have the funds in the bank presently to do this? How can such an action possibly not set a precedent? - Seth Ilys 18:31, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

  • I have modified the start to better inform people
    • This can not set a precedent by deciding it doesn't.
      • Forgive me for being blunt, but that's just naive. People will, of course, be influenced by past decisions -- especially when it comes to budgetary issues. - Seth Ilys 18:56, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
    • The foundation will be reimbursing I believe
      • In that case, a limit should be set before a decision to reimburse is made. I trust Angela and Anthere, but I'm firmly opposed to handing out blank checks. - Seth Ilys 18:56, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
    • The issue is over giving Foundation money, so that is main question
    • Jimbo has neither expressed an interest in receiving money, nor do I think he would accept it
    • Yes, we do have funds. Mav is currently away, but a quick count gives us about 24,000 euros.

Burgundavia 18:42, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Just to clarify: Am I understanding correctly that this meeting won't be an official board meeting, but rather an informal meetup/getting-to-know-each-other sort of event? While I do believe that such a meeting is a positive thing, I question the wisdom of the Foundation reimbursing Angela or Anthere for a trip that isn't official Wikimedia board business. The bylaws aren't loading properly for me at the moment, but I do recall language in the bylaws about restrictions on compensation for board members. If it's an official board meeting, then we should extend the same courtesy of funding to all 5 members of the board, if they choose to accept, and if that's allowed under the Wikimedia Foundation bylaws. -- Seth Ilys 19:06, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The processus for the creation of the French chapter will be decided and started during this meeting. So I think that Angela should be present to give her opinion and advice. This is a complicated process to do online only. Yann 20:36, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
According to a post on foundation-l, official board meetings cannot be held outside the state of Florida. This apparently can be done by hosting a teleconference or videoconference in Florida, so long as at least one trustee is in Florida to host it, but cannot be done wholly outside the state. In any case, I think it's a complicated process to do in person: what about all the French Wikipedians who can't afford to travel to the meeting? --Delirium 21:08, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Yes, this was stated on the list, but I am unable to find any support for this claim, either in Florida statutes or the bylaws. If someone would like to show otherwise, feel free. As far as I know, there is no reason this can't qualify as an official board meeting. (However, I would point out for the sake of form that I believe the bylaws indicate ten days' notice of the meeting should be given to the other two trustees, though I assume they will not be able to attend.) --Michael Snow 00:08, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Who shall come to my appartment to set the teleconference camera and such ? ant

It's absurd to go on about how the bylaws restrict such and such. Bylaws shouldn't be driving decisions in the way that they are being used here. If the bylaws are financially burdensome, then the bylaws should be changed. B 18:57, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)


Answers by ant[edit]

First, I would like to say that I do not want help for this meeting for various reasons. However, I know that this one is only an example and that the issue is more general, hence my answers below

Point 1 : I think the opening paragraph is misleading. We are not going to be paid for our activity. The issue is only to participate to our costs, such as reimbursing our travel costs, phone calls if we need to make some, stamps and other similar niceties. In short, the general question is "should we pay ourselves from our personal pocket expenses related to board activity or not, ie, are we waiting from board members, not only time and energy, but actually on top financial participation".

Point 2 When is this meetup? : 4th of july

Point 3 : What is it's purpose? Initial purpose : set up a french meeting, so that french-speaking people could meet, and discuss in particular of the future french local chapter. This purpose was extended when Jimbo agreed to join us. Hence, we decided that afternoon would be used to discuss local chapter and copyright issue, while morning would be dedicated to press, with a press conference at 11. This was decided before the elections. I intended to be there whatever the outcome of the board elections, to meet my peer, Jimbo, and to set the french local chapter. After the elections results were known, Jimbo suggested to Angela we could have a first board meeting as well. We have time for this before the press conference. Angela coming to meet us was perceived as a great and unique opportunity since she is only about 1 hour away from Paris.

Point 4 : What about the other two members of the Board? The two other board members are on the other side of the atlantic. I would love to meet them. However, I have a family to support (2 kids), and do not earn enough to go to the US to meet them.

Point 5 : What is the cost (numbers, please?)? For me nothing, as I said I could handle my moving. I do not remember exactly how much for Angela, but certainly less than 400 euros I think.

Point 6 : Will this be a recurring expense? It depends. We can always try to say that it is not worth that board members know each other in real life. If it is not worth, then it is less likely to happen. Similarly, I think it will depend on what you expect from us. If you expect us to go actively looking for funds, or go to major events where we could represent the project, yes, it will happen again. Otherwise, I guess that other participants more wealthy will have to do the job for us.

Point 7 : Will the Foundation be paying for transport itself, or simply reimbursing Angela and Anthere? I see not well where the difference is, but for organisation. I think the issue is the amount and the concept, not how it is achieved.

Point 8 : Why can't we just give Angela and Anthere money for such purposes directly as individuals, rather than going through the foundation? Well...then, that means that for each similar events, we will have to go through a vote, then a fundraise... and if the fundraise is unsufficient, we will have to cancel the trip, and to reimburse. All this will be quite complicated, and imho a bit strange.

Point 9 : What about Jimbo's Wikimedia-related travel expenses? It would be great that one day Jimbo is reimbursed as well. I sure hope he will have an income one day, for all he put in Wikimedia. For now, Jimbo goes on paying several things. And incidently, from time to time, travel expenses of developers to the coloc. I will also dare saying that Jimbo can probably afford to pay things that Angela and I just can't. Sad economical realities :-)

Point 10 : Do we have the funds in the bank presently to do this? Yes. We have 25000 dollars roughly. 10 000 euros were not people donations, so were not received with any moral obligation to spent it one way or another (while most donations currently made are likely to be meant for hardware).

Point 11 : The bylaws aren't loading properly for me at the moment, but I do recall language in the bylaws about restrictions on compensation for board members. A compensation is money given in exchange of work. A reimbursement is covering of people expenses made during an activity. Usually, reimbursing costs is not considered a salary. It does not increase the amount of money a person has, it prevent it to decrease due to activity.


If this poll really is about only this one trip, the poll can be closed now as people on the mailing list have already pledged almost enough to cover my travel to Paris (approx £83/€125/$151), and Anthere has said she does not intend to claim any expenses for this. The meeting is only on the Sunday, so there is no absolute need for accommodation. Anyway, to answer some of the above points, the purpose of the meeting was initially to discuss the French chapter and for the Wikipedians on fr to meet. However, Jimbo suggested this time could be additionally be used for the first meeting of the active members of the board (the other two are not expected to have very much active involvement). There are a lot of issues we need to discuss, and it was felt this could be done more successfully in person.

I don't expect this will be a recurring expense. This is really a one off because Jimbo happens to be in Europe. That's not to say there won't be other expenses though. It is possible people will need to travel, and there will certainly be expenses related to postage of grant applications, printing etc. However, I don't expect there will be another board meeting to pay for over the coming year.

I've booked my travel, and assuming there are not too many objections, I would put in an expense claim for this, with full receipts of course. I have spent a long time trying to find the cheapest means of getting there, and if anyone can find Colchester to Paris for less than £83 that doesn't take more than 12 hours, then I'd be interested to know how.

Here's the relevant section of the by-laws:

Section 3. DELEGATION AND EXPENSES. Any action required or permitted to be taken by the Board of Trustees under these Bylaws or any provision of law may be delegated by the Board to the Chair or any committee of the Board. Trustees may not be compensated for their roles as Trustees. They may be allowed expenses, by resolution of the Board, for attending meetings, if necessary. No Trustee shall be employed or otherwise receive compensation from the Foundation for their duties as Trustees.

Angela 23:29, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Thus, one item of business for the Board in this meeting should be to adopt a resolution allowing the Trustees to be reimbursed for expenses related to attending meetings. Given the extraordinary opportunity and low anticipated cost (plus the donations pledged specifically for this purpose), and the expectation that this will not be a recurring expense, I see no basis for objecting to this plan. --Michael Snow 00:08, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Under that section, it is plainly in the discretion of the board to decide whether it is "necessary", but I'd be ashamed to be dipping into the coffer in this circumstance. I wonder if the trustees are as eager to put a budget in place as they are to have wikimedia reimburse their expenses for this trip... B 19:10, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Wouldn't meeting in person help towards putting a budget in place? And how is it a "luxury" to take a 3 hour ride one way, have a meeting, and a 3 hour ride back without an overnight? The Eurostar ride is certainly pleasant, but six hours commute in one day is no luxurious perk. Fuzheado 00:20, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)
It's not a matter of "what would be helpful"; it's a matter of what is necessary and affordable given the money available. Otherwise why not serve lunch or cocktails and hor'dourves at the meeting...they have to eat after all. Or even better we could get them a laptop and some budgeting software...the list of "helpful" things is an endless list of luxuries. "Luxury" isn't a reference to the standard of travel (by foot or first class), Sherlock. Why someone who has never even served in a fiduciary capacity nor even has a clue what is required to serve in a fiduciary capacity should venture to opine on the matter smacks of poor judgement. B 13:59, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Not sure who you're talking about re: "never even served in a fiduciary capacity". However, all conservative estimates say we have a five figure budget in USD ($20,000+, see Wikimedia_bank_account_history_for_2004) plus the 10,000 euros from the Prix Ars Electronica. There's enough in the budget for a cost effective face to face meeting. The good news is we have enough earmarked donations to cover it anyway or the board could simply vote to allocate the money. But we should all get used to the fact that the board will be making many spending decisions, and it will not always come to a referendum. The sooner we realize this, the better. Fuzheado 15:31, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Incidently, angela paid herself for her hotel accomodations. Due to train hours, she took two nights in a cheap hotel. She told me about the cost of the hotel (58 euros for two nights) and its location (Gare du Nord, where the Eurostar stops). In spite of my attempts to have her cancel that crappy hotel, and get in another, she insisted that it was low cost and kept it. Given the price of the hotel and the location of it, I very *strongly* hope she will be fine. I am confident french people will pay her the sunday lunch. ant
The night's stay before the meeting did turn out to be necessary as there are no trains early enough on a Sunday. The 2nd night was more of a personal choice so I was not forced to rush off immediately at the anticipated time of the close of the meeting to catch the last train. Either way, I never had any intention of the Foundation paying for this accommodation. I never really wanted the Foundation to pay the transport either, and find the whole discussion being focused on this completely embarrassing. Anyway, since people have personally pledged enough for my travel, it's a non-issue now. The question should be about whether the Foundation meets expenses in general, not for this one trip. Angela 21:19, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)