Talk:Wikimedia UK/Governance Review discussion

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Thank you for your patience! We have been trying hard to get the report published but behind the scenes all sorts of factors had to be considered and dealing across two time zones didn't help. But in the best traditions of openness and transparency it is here now.

I am going to leave the community to record its own thoughts but would like to thank everyone who in good faith contributed to these documents. With luck we can all move forward and share lessons learned with the wider movement. Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 18:32, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Hi Jon. Thanks for uploading the report and chronology of events. However, both of these PDF files are "secured" which means that you can't copy/paste from them. I've never seen a publicly posted Wikimedia-related document that has been "secured" in this way, was this done for any particular reason, and if not please could you re-upload a newer version of the file that is not secured? Thanks. Thehelpfulone 18:46, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wikimedia_UK_gov_review_rpt_v5.djvu --Andreas JN466 23:08, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the report and for its publication. It would be very valuable to discuss it at the Chapters Meeting in Milano. Not with regard to WM UK, but what we, as a movement, can learn out of it.--Pavel Richter (WMDE) (talk) 18:48, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Immediate implementation[edit]

Thanks for publishing this review. There's clearly a lot to digest in this so I will just start with one point. In the published Q&As you state:

WMF and Wikimedia UK jointly undertook this review and the creation of the report with the shared understanding that the recommendations would be reviewed and adopted immediately where appropriate.

This is a surprise to me. When the review was announced I don't remember anything about "immediate implementation". Although some of these recommendations are simple and uncontroversial, others are far-reaching and fundamental changes and I wouldn't want the board to make these decisions without a thorough discussion with the community first. I would agree that "prompt" implementation is required, but I can't see why a delay of a few weeks would cause any issue.

I wouldn't want to see the chapter bounced into making changes that it later comes to regret because the issue hadn't been properly thought through. AndrewRT (talk) 18:52, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Hi Andrew -- just wanted to check you had seen the implementation timescale at the end of the report. I don't think that timescale will necessarily make people feel rushed. Over on the Wikimedia UK wiki I have listed a set of motions for Saturday's board meeting. If passed, this would implement much of it (though of course two of them are in turn motions to take to the AGM for members to consider). Do have a look. We also have some legal advice on which recommendations would require changes to our Articles. Many thanks, Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 19:32, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing me in this direction - it puts a lot more colour on the process from here on. I have some suggestions regarding the board motions which I'll raise there. AndrewRT (talk) 21:31, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Location for discussion[edit]

Why has this page been created here? We have a Wikimedia UK wiki which would seem the obvious place for a discussion about Wikimedia UK's governance... --Tango (talk) 23:33, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Presumably because people from outside the UK may also want to discuss the matter? However, it would good to have a clearer demarcation of what discussions would be appropriate where. AndrewRT (talk) 23:45, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Last time I checked, there were no border police surrounding the UK wiki... --Tango (talk) 23:51, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Maximum transparency at heartJon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 10:33, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for explaining that Jon as I found it odd. Although whilst we on the subject of "location" then can I request that someone take the trouble to post on peoples talk pages if their names are mentioned anew here? Victuallers (talk) 11:06, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
I'd say putting things where people would expect to find them is more transparent than putting them on a wiki where things have a tendancy to get lost. Having an announcement here is good, but the discussion should take place on the WMUK wiki. --Tango (talk) 11:55, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Jon, it might be helpful if you or the trustees could respond to questions posted here and demonstrated some of that transparency in action. Thanks. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 23:46, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Hello? Is anyone from WMUK watching this page? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 15:14, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
In terms of staffs, your first comment was posted after they finished work on a Friday. In terms of trustees, they've been having and are having a board meeting this weekend. Give people a fair chance to respond? KTC (talk) 15:33, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
The has been no shortage of activity by staff and trustees on the mailing list since I posted. It was my understanding that the WMUK were interested in community input prior to their meeting. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 19:06, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

One of the problems in this situation was that postings on the Wikimedia UK wiki were not widely known about or discussed by people not directly involved in the chapter. The nice thing about meta is that a lot of people from different chapters and indeed from no chapters at all do participate and read here.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:04, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

I'll second that - as a non-Brit, I just feel more comfortable commenting here. While much of this is a UK affair, it is also a worldwide Wiki affair. Smallbones (talk) 02:53, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

Hello everyone. Just to clarify, the reason this discussion is hosted on Meta is because it is a wiki that most people will be familiar with, as opposed to the UK wiki. I discussed this with Jay Walsh from the WMF and this was the solution we came up with that would encourage the widest participation in the discussion and help to keep things in one place. Delicious carbuncle, I'm sorry if you feel like this question has been ignored. I can assure you that this isn't the case. I hope that this question has now been answered satisfactorily. --Stevie Benton (talk) 12:06, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, Stevie, but I had no questions about why the discussion was here. My concern was that there seemed to be very little participation here from WMUK staff or trustees. You can see my questions in a section below - perhaps you could find someone to answer them. Thanks! Delicious carbuncle (talk) 17:35, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
OK, sorry about that. I just saw it in this section. I'll take a look at your questions and will answer them if I'm able. If I'm not, I'll see if I can prompt someone who can. --Stevie Benton (talk) 17:43, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

A few thoughts - 1. We raced to get the report out so that we could get at least initial thoughts before the weekend's board meeting. This was a matter of urgency if we were to share it. 2. I don't see this as a reactive process, (posting ping-pong) more one for debate and discussion and there is merit in not weighing in from a staff point of view unless there are questions the we can help with in order to facilitate the debate. 3. Apart from short attempts to see my family I was a wikislave for the whole weekend as were the trustees so time was a bit limited. 4. Much of the weekend was devoted to discussing the review, a good example of engaging brains before keyboards. Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 09:34, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Jon, thanks for sacrificing your weekend to attend the WMUK board meeting. I have asked a number of questions about wikitown projects in a section below that will help to "facilitate the debate", as you say. Between you, Stevie, and the board members, could you please find the answers? Thanks. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 12:51, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Term Limits[edit]

The report recommends term limits of three two year terms for board members despite the fact that none of our problems are due to people being too long on the board and if anything our problems have been partially down to people being inexperienced at trusteeship. My reading of that part of the recommendations is that they reflect the fashion for term limits in the UK not for profit sector. For example housing associations are recommended to limit trustees to three three year terms, with the rationale that non execs should be recycled by sitting on other boards and thereby cross fertilising the sector and sharing experience. Other sectors often have ten year limits. As it is the fashion, and frankly we are a long way off anyone reaching nine years as a trustee, then though I'm not impressed with the concept, I see no great harm in WMUK going along with this and implementing either a 3x3 or 5x2 limit. But I am surprised that they are recommending a much shorter six year cap, and I think that would be unhealthy in governance terms. The opposite of an ossified board is an unstable one, and judging from what has gone public about recent incidents and as a member of WMUK with some board experience of other UK not for profits, WMUK is historically much closer to the latter than the former. WereSpielChequers (talk) 15:01, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

I'm generally opposed to term limits for elected positions. If a position is elected, the electorate ought to be able to vote for whoever they think is best for the job. There shouldn't be restrictions placed upon that without very good reason. The main advantage I can see for term limits on elected positions is if there is a significant large incumbent advantage. I don't think that is the case for us. Leutha has helpfully put together a summary of election results here. At the first election in 2008, there were obviously no incumbents. In 2009, 3 of the 8 candidates were incumbents and 3 of the 7 successful candidates were. In 2010, all 5 candidates were incumbents and they were all successful. In 2011, 3 out of 8 candidates were incumbents and 3 out of 7 successful candidates were. In 2012, 5 of the 16 candidates were incumbents and 4 of the 7 successful candidates were. Only the last election was sufficiently contested to really give interest results. The numbers do suggest a small incumbent advantage, but most of that can probably be explained by some non-incumbents being completely unqualified for the job (if you've done the job before, then you presumably reach at least a minimal standard). If you (somewhat arbitrarily) exclude the two candidates last year that got 1 and 2 votes respectively as being completely unqualified, the numbers become 5 out of 14 (36%) and 4 out of 7 (57%). If the election were done at random, so 7 names are picked out of a hat containing 14 names, with 5 incumbents the probability of at least 4 of them winning is 13%. That's much higher than the 5% that is the standard confidence threshold for this sort of thing, so we must comclude there is no evidence for a significant incumbent advantage (if you put back in the 2 completely unqualified candidates, it becomes 8%, still greater than 5%). So, I oppose term limits until such time as there is evidence of a problem needing that solution. (Term limits for co-opted members is a different matter entirely, and as yet I haven't formed an opinion on it.) --Tango (talk) 00:42, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
There are other reasons for term limits for members of any sort of committee. One of the most important is to help guard against the dominant personality where one person effectively overshadows the other members, and it becomes more problematical the more power is concentrated into one position, usually the Chair. Another reason hinges on the ability of incumbent trustees to discharge their duty to find new trustees. If a stable board has been in place for some time, then it becomes increasingly difficult to convince outsiders that they would stand a chance of election. This is similar to the "incumbent advantage" in an election, but actually hinders the recruitment of candidates in the first place, rather than affecting their chances in attracting votes. This is naturally just my own humble opinion, but I don't think WMUK suffers from either of those problems at present. --RexxS (talk) 14:46, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
True, those can be good reasons but, as you say, they aren't problems we actually have. --Tango (talk) 01:16, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Press coverage[edit]

What is the status of QRpedia? What is the status of Monmouthpedia-type projects?[edit]

The Q&A page says:

Q: What is the status of the QRpedia project – and the other community ‘pedia’ projects?

The report outlines clear recommendations for clarifying the ownership and operation of the QRpedia project. The other community projects are still active, although neither WMF nor Wikimedia UK are planning to support new projects of this nature at least until that question is resolved.

Q: Will there be more community ‘pedia’ type projects and use of QR codes?

There are no current plans from Wikimedia Foundation to expand the number of the community projects. The Wikimedia Foundation is not planning to review nor approve any licensed uses of the Wikipedia trademarks for the purposes of community projects at this time.

The report makes recommendations about clarifying the ownership and operation of the QRpedia project. Wikimedia UK is currently in negotiations about the possible transfer of ownership and operation of the QRpedia project.

The formulation of these questions are extremely poor. Although the "wikitown" projects like Monmouthpedia and Gibraltarpedia involve QRpedia, there are really two entirely separate concerns here. And the answer for QRpedia is no answer at all. Can the question be divided into two separate questions and answered please?

What is the status of QRpedia?

  • Who currently owns it and why has it taken so long to negotiate the transfer of a couple of websites?
At the point when the Compass Partnership review was published QRpedia was still owned by Roger Bamkin and Terence Eden. However, at a Wikimedia UK Board meeting on 9 and 10 February an agreement was reached to transfer QRpedia's ownership to Wikimedia UK. Stevie Benton (talk) 18:20, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
My questions were posed before the agreement was announced, but I appreciate your answering it anyway. Can you provide a link to that agreement so that the community may see the terms? Why did it take so long to negotiate this agreement - from what has been announced so far, this could have been over a cup of coffee ("We'll take over ownership and support of the websites and give you your well-deserved credit for having developed QRpedia, ok?")? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 23:30, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
The agreement hasn't yet been posted online but we will of course share it when it is available. With regards to how long the agreement took, there is a common misconception here, and elsewhere, that it was a very simple matter. It was not. Intellectual property is far from simple. Regardless of the time taken, we are happy the agreement is now in place. Stevie Benton (talk) 14:24, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Why is it needed at all if the WMF can easily create a similar facility under their complete control (say at qr.wikipedia.org)?
This would have been possible but other projects utilised the QRpedia technology before Monmouthpedia, such as Derby Museum. These projects involve the use of QRpedia codes on exhibits and displays. It is right that these projects are protected and continue to be supported.Stevie Benton (talk) 18:20, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
It is still possible - the qrwp.org domain would simply become a redirect to the WMF facility. I have suggested that the WMF rather than WMUK should be responsible for any such facility since it is Wikipedia which will look bad if the QR code doesn't work, not WMUK. I get the impression that Jimbo is not a fan of Qr codes in general, but he did say "I agree that we should ensure that these codes work solidly for a long time to come, and that the safety of this is an important consideration". Is WMUK negitiating with the WMF for handover of the domains? If not, why not? I would imagine this has already caused enough trouble for the chapter and they would be happy to see then go. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 23:39, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Under the agreement Wikimedia UK will host qrwp.org and qrpedia.org. This solution will ensure that the codes already in place continue to work for a long time to come. There is no need to complicate matters further by arranging a further transfer of ownership. Stevie Benton (talk) 14:24, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
  • What is the status of the "wikitown" projects?
Wikimedia UK is in regular contact with Monmouthshire County Council discussing the future of Monmouthpedia. The project is currently paused. We aren't currently working on any other wikitowns. Stevie Benton (talk) 18:20, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't understand. The project is paused, but you are in regular contact with the MCC? How will you know when the project is finished? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 23:43, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
The project is indeed paused. We are discussing the best way forward with MCC who are independently evaluating the project. We hope this will be useful evidence as to the success of the project. Stevie Benton (talk) 14:24, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Is there yet an MOU for Monmouthpedia?
Monmouthpedia is currently paused and we are discussing the way forward. If we continue with it then we will certainly need to formalise our understanding with MCC in an MOU. Stevie Benton (talk) 18:20, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
  • If so, where is it?
  • If not, why not?
Please see above. Stevie Benton (talk) 18:20, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
WMUK was deeply involved in Monmouthpedia. Are you saying that WMUK participated in the project and spent donor money without an MOU ("memorandum of understanding") with a governmental organization? If that is the case, can you explain why there is video on the [Monmouthpedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:GLAM/MonmouthpediA] captioned "Signing of the memorandum of understanding between Wikimedia UK and Monmouthshire County Council"? I believe the governance report points out that Roger Bamkin, who was a paid consultant at that time, signed the MOU with the description of "Wikimedia UK Trustee and Steering Group representative". Where is that MOU? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 00:08, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Monmouthpedia is currently paused and if we agree to move forward we will need an MoU agreed and in place. We learnt a lot from Monmouthpedia. The great enthusiasm and speed with which it happened meant, in all honesty, that the MoU was put to one side by both parties and by the time we thought about it again the main events had happened.  It is important to accept that in any future activities of this sort we have good clear MoU's or contracts and have made real progress on this front. The “MOU” signed in the video is a document that was produced for ceremonial purposes. It is not a final MOU which is why it has not been published. We would not take the same approach again, and our current outreach projects (e.g. the Wikipedian in Residence posts that have just been advertised) we have detailed documents setting out expectations with our partner institutions. With regards to money spent, Wikimedia UK committed a small amount of money which has led to improvements to the encyclopedia and considerable benefits in terms of engagement and outreach. Stevie Benton (talk) 14:24, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Same questions for Gibraltarpedia.
Wikimedia UK has not been involved with Gibraltarpedia. Stevie Benton (talk) 18:20, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
An entire chapter of the report is devoted to Gibraltarpedia. It mentions a draft MOU. Stevie, can you please give this question another try? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 00:17, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
With respect, there's no need to give this answer another try. Gibraltarpedia is not, and never has been, a Wikimedia UK project. The idea of us taking part was floated, and an early draft MOU was created but we didn't go ahead with it. There's no mystery here. Many organisations look at the possibility of various projects at various times, sometimes deciding against participating. Wikimedia UK is no exception to this. Stevie Benton (talk) 14:24, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
  • What is the status of Chepstowpedia?
"Chepstowpedia" was a proposal to extend Monmouthpedia to Chepstow. It never got beyond the status of proposal. Stevie Benton (talk) 18:20, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
The proposal being this one? Are you saying that this will not be happening under any circumstances, or is it merely "paused"? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 00:27, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Again, Chepstowpedia never got beyond a proposal stage. We have no plans to work on Chepstowpedia at this time. I have no intention to become a hostage to fortune by saying that anything will “not be happening under any circumstances”. Stevie Benton (talk) 14:24, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
  • What are the other "wikitowns" that have been discussed within WMUK?
Wikimedia UK is not currently working on any further “wikitown” projects and we understand that the Wikimedia Foundation is not planning to review or approve any licensed uses of the Wikipedia trademarks for the purposes of community projects at this time. We will be reviewing the future development and use of QRpedia now its ownership has been clarified. Stevie Benton (talk) 18:20, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
I understand that there are no current plans for WMUK to work on "wikitown" projects, but given the success of Monmouthpedia I imagine that these types of community projects will continue to be created by individuals even if the WMF is not explicitly licensing the use of their trademarks. What other wikitown projects were proposed or seriously discussed within WMUK? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 00:33, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
As you are aware, we discussed both Chepstowpedia and Gibraltarpedia. No other projects were ever on the table. As you note, there are no other current Wikitown projects. In the event we received a proposal from the community to engage in the kind of Wikitown project that that you describe, which would not use Foundation trademarks, we would consider the proposal on its merits. Stevie Benton (talk) 14:24, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Sorry if my questions come across as a little pointed, but I have asked similar questions in the past and gotten less than full or satisfactory answers. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 19:21, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

First of all, thank you for your questions. Sorry it's taken a bit of time to get back to you. I've added answers to your questions inline, above. I've signed them all individually for clarity. I hope this helps but please do let me know if there's anything else I can do. Many thanks. --Stevie Benton (talk) 18:20, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks very much, Stevie. I think this is a good opportunity for WMUK to clear the air about some of the things that may have been troubled the community. I have a few follow-up questions, which I have also placed inline. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 00:36, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks again for your questions. I appreciate your input and it is appropriate that community members feel able to ask questions of the Board and staff of Wikimedia UK and are confident that they will be answered wherever possible. I hope that the answers I have posted above help to make things clear. As before, I have posted them inline and signed each one individually for clarity. Thank you. Stevie Benton (talk) 14:24, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

QRpedia discussion[edit]

Why is it needed at all if the WMF can easily create a similar facility under their complete control (say at qr.wikipedia.org)?
Backward compatibility. You'd rather we didn't have to change all the QR code plaques that we've already stuck up all over the world. I wouldn't say WMF can "easily" create a similar facility either, given the amount of Wikimedian expertise that has been put into QRpedia to optimise it. Deryck C. 12:23, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
I fully expect that the current owners of QRpedia would continue to support the QR codes already out there as supporters of the wiki-movement (in fact, they may be contractually obligated to do so). The code for QRpedia is under a free license, if the WMF wanted to use it. It would not be underestimating the task to say that a replacement could be up with a few hours work. In any case, it does not seem to be a very sound idea that such a facility is "owned" by a WMF chapter rather than the WMF itself, especially at a time when the WMF is attempting to move away from such arrangements with the toolserver, etc. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:38, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
There is no contractual obligation to continue to support QRpedia codes in any of the installations which I have initiated; nor am I aware of any in any other projects. (Note that only the domain to which the codes direct, qrwp.org, and the server software at that domain, needs to remain working for existing codes to function; qrpedia.org is only used for code generation and documentation). Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:12, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
The name QRpedia is well known and well respected in the GLAM sector (and, indeed, in the international Wikipedia community); with two years' effort in raising awareness of it and encouraging GLAMs to use it. It would be foolish to throw that awareness and goodwill away with an unnecessary rebrand. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 14:10, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
Andy, I believe you have a vested interest in this issue. The QRpedia Twitter account lists you alongside Roger Bamkin and Terence Eden ("A project by @edent, @Victuallers, @PigsOnTheWing & others"). Roger Bamkin noted in his "declarations of interest" that you are part of an enterprise with him and John Cummings. You have requested funding from WMUK to attend a conference relating to QR codes. Much of the "two years' effort in raising awareness" has been your work. For at least half of that time, the ownership was being negotiated. To continue to promote QRpedia while the ultimate ownership was unclear was unwise.
While I foresee the WMF being around for a long time, I am less certain that WMUK will be. It has been dissolved once before. If the WMF, not WMUK, replaces the QRpedia functionality, I imagine that the GLAM sector will understand the reasons for such a change and quickly adapt for future deployments. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 16:51, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
I have a declared interest in the same way that we all have an interest in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. I have no contractual, commercial or financial arrangements with Roger, Terence, John or any of their companies. As to the wisdom of my actions; your personal views are noted, but not shared; likewise your views of the likely response of the GLAM sector. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:12, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
Andy, I know that you are a tireless proponent of Wikipedia, but the funding request linked above notes that you do "contract work on QRpedia related projects". That would seem to be a commercial interest. I understand that the £17,500 Geovation prize will go towards "training communities of people to edit articles about their local area, the erecting QRpedia codes linking to those articles". Would someone be paid to conduct this training? If so, might that be you? Delicious carbuncle (talk) 17:59, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
I reiterate, I have no contractual, commercial or financial arrangements with Roger, Terence, John or any of their companies. That includes QRpedia. If I teach people to use Microsoft Word, do I have a commercial interest in Microsoft? I am neither in receipt of, nor offered, a penny of money from, or derived from, Geovation. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 20:18, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
If one is earns money by teaching people how to use Microsoft Word, then they have a vested interest in encouraging people to use Word, especially if there is a possibility that they might earn money by teaching them how to use it. There are many many people qualified to teach the use of Word. There are fewer people who are qualified to teach Wikipedia editing. There are very few people who are in your position, which is strongly associated with WMUK, Wikipedia, and QRpedia. The people most likely to benefit financially from promoting QRpedia are you, Roger Bamkin, and Roger's associates. Whether or not you have contractual, commercial, or financial arrangements with Roger, you do paid "contract work on QRpedia related projects", do you not? I suggest that you have a financial interest in promoting QRpedia. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 21:18, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
What point are you trying to make, DC? That I shouldn't comment here? That my comments here should be disregarded? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 22:00, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
I have not suggested that your comments should be disregarded, nor would I suggest that. I believe you have been less than clear when it comes to how your Wikipedia-related activities benefit you financially. I believe that several individuals associated with WMUK have drawn questionably vague lines between their volunteer activities and their paid work. I think the community is justifiably uncomfortable with the situation. Admittedly, you likely know very little about how I earn money -- and how you earn your money is largely your own business -- but I can assure you that I earn no money from anything in any way related to Wikipedia and have no interest in doing so. If it was not clear to you, I was making the point that you have a potential conflict of interest when it comes to QRpedia, if not an actual conflict of interest. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 15:12, 10 February 2013 (UTC)
"the wisdom of my actions" - from the subsequent announcement, it seems that my advocacy was justified. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 20:18, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
The transfer of QRpedia does not make your promotion of the project while the ownership was under negotiation any more or less wise. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 21:22, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

QRpedia agreement announced[edit]

According to Chris Keating, the Wikimedia UK chair, an agreement on QRpedia has now been reached: "The intellectual property in QRpedia and the qrpedia.org and qrwp.orgdomains will be transferred to Wikimedia UK, which will maintain and support the development of the QRpedia platform for the future. Roger and Terence will act as honorary advisors to Wikimedia UK in this, as well as retaining their moral rights of attribution, but will not receive any financial consideration for this." --Andreas JN466 17:17, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

I was about to ask if this is the full agreement - in which case there is nothing to worry about for anything related to QRpedia. But just noticed at the above link: "A fuller statement will follow." Could somebody post that here when it does follow? Smallbones (talk) 19:48, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't think you will find any shocks Smallbones. The reason for Chris's terse statement was that it had taken all afternoon to sort out and we wanted to share the news to avoid further speculation (we thought!). And so that the board could go and have a well deserved meal. I am surprised to see here some very silly stuff with some trying to work out who is going to benefit from a facility that so far has only cost money. Can I note that its the work of people like you that benefits Wikipedia. Thank you I hope to see you later in article space Victuallers (talk) 11:41, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

It is noted above that the transfer had been agreed. Has the transfer now taken place? TheOverflow (talk) 04:02, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

Not yet. The latest status is at [1] - "The transfer of the domains will take place as soon as the remaining legal details have been resolved." Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 10:59, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
The blog post you linked to is titled "Announcement – QRpedia donated to Wikimedia UK", given that the donation/transfer has not taken place, isn't that a misleading title? Further, given the post says "The agreement was made as a result of negotiations at our board meeting on 8 February 2013." what exactly was being announced in that blog post? Per Stevie Benton above, an agreement was reached at the Board Meeting of 9 and 10 February.TheOverflow (talk) 01:51, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
A whois.com search today indicates that the qrpedia and qrwp domains have not yet been transfered. Given the time from the latest announcement, could WMUK please provide an update on when the transfer is likely to take place? TheOverflow (talk) 07:01, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi TheOverflow. Unfortunately, another snag came up with the transfer process that delayed things more than we were expecting at the time of the announcement. At the last board meeting (on 11 May 2013) we approved a new way forward here, which is in the process of being implemented. So there should be more news soon, but I'm not sure precisely when that will be - hopefully within the next month. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 09:57, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. Further news within a another month seems rather disappointing, given the time since the original announcement. Given that a way forward is approved and is happening, perhaps you could give consideration to sharing that sooner, rather than later. TheOverflow (talk) 23:31, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Helpfully, Chris Keating has provided further detail. The 'snag' referred to above is a "risk of patent litigation" - Chris does note that they have reached a solution that will work, though. Hopefully, further details will be provided there (or even here) soon. TheOverflow (talk) 05:22, 9 June 2013 (UTC)
Well, other than mention of the WMUK mailing list that a company has been set up to offer WMUK extra protection, there has been no further update. The domains remain untransferred. Could an official update be provided, with a timetable for the transfer? If not, perhaps an announcement that the transfer will not take place should be made. TheOverflow (talk) 07:16, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
Six months have gone by since the announcement by Chris Keating, and two months since he said they had a solution that would work. The domain names remain untransferred. Any chance of an update by WMUK here? TheOverflow (talk) 04:58, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
Given the lack of response from WMUK here, I have asked at the WMUK wiki [2]. After several days, and the support of the ex-Chairman in asking about this, the question has been acknowledged by a WMUK employee. Hopefully a clear, official answer regarding the future of QRpedia will be given shortly. TheOverflow (talk) 06:55, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
The current chair of WMUK has responded on the WMUK wiki. It appears (https://uk.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Water_cooler&diff=prev&oldid=43854) that the various announcements have been premature, and they have been waiting for some time for agreement from Roger Bamkin. TheOverflow (talk) 05:49, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

Unverständliches Fachchinesisch[edit]

Hier kann auf deutsch diskutiert werden. --AndreasPaul (talk) 09:36, 9 February 2013 (UTC)

("Discussion in German can be found here"). Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:17, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
Judging by a Google translate, most of that discussion is just people complaining about the Kurier article (and debating whether the word "governance" exists in German or not), rather than discussing its contents. --Tango (talk) 00:50, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Expanding the board[edit]

The first recommendation is to increase the size of the board from 7 to 9. The reason given for this is "to allow for greater diversity of soft and hard skills and experience". If we have a lack of diversity of soft and hard skill and experience, it isn't due to the board being too small. It isn't like we have 7 different types of people on the board and 8th and 9th types just waiting for a space to open up. The diversity of the board has always been broadly in line with the diversity of the people standing for the board, which suggests the problem is with our recruitment not with the size of the board. As with a lot of these recommendations, this one is obviously just there because we don't quite fit their template of how they think a charity should work. It hasn't been proposed to solve any problem that we actually have. There is an argument for expanding the board to make room for co-opted seats, but if we do decide we want co-opted seats then we could just have 5 elected and 2 co-opted, the ratio is about the same (slightly more elected) and 2 co-opted seats is still enough to add good extra skills/experience to the board. A larger board will, inevitably, be significantly less efficient than a smaller one (large groups tend to fragment in order to maintain efficiency, so we would tend to see a lot more being done by committees and very little by the whole board - we do need more to be done by committees, but there is a lot of stuff that really should be discussed and decided by the board as a whole - the things that should be done by committees are generally things that aren't being done at all at the moment, rather than things that should move to committees), so we should only expand the board if there is a really good reason to. --Tango (talk) 01:04, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Hi Tom, have to say I don't really agree with your comments here. Compass have, with quite a lot of care and attention, assessed Wikimedia UK's governance against a set of evidence-based good practices. I certainly wouldn't write that off as "recommendations that are just there to fit a template".
You're right to note that increasing the size of the Board won't on its own increase the diversity of the Board, or the skills it has - but it will make it easier to do those things. It will also mean some of the work can be spread more people, and also make us more resilient in the event individuals step down.
So I support this recommendation, along with the idea of routinely having a number of co-opted trustees (happy to go into the latter in more detail if you want). Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 18:41, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't doubt that Compass' template is well-grounded, but that doesn't mean it is automatically appropriate to us. I'm not convinced a larger board will help in either of the ways you say. To increase diversity we need to look at our recruitment processes. Having less work for individuals requires more use of committees (a larger board without committees just means more people doing the same amount of work each). We can do both those things without expanding the board. If, once we've done them, we're still finding that we aren't getting to diversity or workloads that we want, then we can look at expanding the board. If we find that better recruitment and committees gets us to where we want to be with the board the size it is, then we don't need the added cost and inefficiency of extra board members. There is no need to change everything at once. (Better resilience to mid-term resignations would be directly achieved by a larger board, but apart from the last year, which I hope is a special case, I don't think we've really had a problem there.) --Tango (talk) 00:08, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
I think it is important to allow members a democratic voice through electing trustees to the board. From that point of view, I'd be less happy with 5 elected trustees than the 7 our current system provides. Once new board members are elected, however, I can see value in the recommendation to co-opt in order to fill skill gaps or increase diversity on the board, and I'd be pleased to see something along the lines of 7 elected plus 3 co-opted (with 4 co-opted possible in exceptional circumstances) as a means of fitting Compass' template. I don't think I'm breaking any confidences if I say that Keith Smith counselled the board not to "get hung up on the numbers", and I'd commend that advice to all of us. This is just my personal opinion, of course, and I'm speaking for no-one else. --RexxS (talk) 14:33, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Whilst I wouldn't get hung up on the numbers I would suggest that you make it an odd number. This is a board which sometimes needs to make hard choices, and if you have an odd number of trustees then you will only get tied votes if someone is missing, a seat is vacant or someone abstains. Giving the chair a casting vote can resolve that, but contentious votes decided by a chair's casting vote don't make for a harmonious board. It is much better if casting votes are only used by exception, so plan for an odd number of trustees as with an even number of trustees you risk having a full board tied with 50% of trustees voting each way. WereSpielChequers (talk) 11:59, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Communitypedia projects[edit]

Just an idea: Would it not make sense to run content generation projects with a local focus – think Maltapedia, Ghanapedia etc. – under the aegis and supervision of the foundation, and with funding from donations and university grants, much like the Public Policy Initiative? This might involve hiring a freelance consultant to coordinate the project, paid by the foundation rather than a tourism office. (Note that the Wikimedia UK governance review commented on page 31 on an absence of "career paths" for Wikipedians, with the result that people had begun inventing their own; this type of project could provide a bona fide career path that would remain under the control of the foundation.) Content selection could be done strictly on the basis of an encyclopedic needs assessment. For example, if a particular country is poorly covered, or if there are dozens of sizeable Chinese cities that Wikipedia doesn't have articles for yet, there could be a corresponding Wikipedia project to expand coverage.

This could also be a powerful recruitment tool: a project like Ghanapedia could be widely advertised in the press, along with a call for knowledgeable members of the public to come forward and join the effort, with a competition and prizes sponsored by the foundation.

I'd envisage this as an alternative to projects like Monmouthpedia and Gibraltarpedia, which are funded by local government, tourism offices and the like, and managed by private contractors. However, there is no need to bar the latter type of project. There could still be a free market for this type of community project, independently of the foundation's own projects. In order to cut out the paid product placement element though, articles generated as part of such free-market projects should not qualify for Wikipedia main page DYK slots. Even without main page placement, there is still a benefit for people locally from better online coverage of their area; the incentive simply should not include the promise of coverage on the main page of Wikipedia. Andreas JN466 16:22, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

What a well balanced proposal. As you may know there are maybe 12 placepedia projects running - its a difficult count as its not clear what makes one. We did speak to the foundation about them funding a Tangierpedia (but it got overtaken). I'm also pleased that your proposal identifies that we should not waste the charity's money on projects that could be funded anyway. I was told by the foundation that they were reviewing the wikitown idea (at a calmer time) last year. I would welcome a calmer discussion on this elsewhere as there is confusion here. Its not about QR codes or the logo. Its about achieving the mission one town at a time. Victuallers (talk) 10:41, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Exactly. Andreas JN466 17:14, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Arguably one of the most important things you could do to promote the growth of wikipedia and interaction of the world with it. It's a fantastic proposal and credit to Andreas for doing so. I believe the key to growth is forming as many agreements with as many governments and institutions as possible. Agreements with the British Museum etc have already proved highly valuable and projects like Monmouthpedia and Gibraltarpedia have certainly been productive. I don't see why we couldn't copy this initiative to any place on the planet. What we need is a branch of wikipedia dedicated to research and publicity, to be involved with contacting governments and organizations and inviting them to join us in launching exciting new projects which aim to turns cities and institutions around the world into wiki cities. Ambitious yes, but interaction with the world and the Internet will only increase as we progress into the 21st century. I believe that knowledge should evolve so that anybody can go anywhere in the world and people should be able to access knowledge about a building or monument or street by scanning their mobile on a code in this way. If we took the initiative we'd see a dramatic increase in new editors and greater publicity of wikipedia and QR technology and how beneficial it could be for the general public, with the added bonus of course that it might improve tourism and attracts tourists to visit their monuments. I see it as a win-win situation but I believe everything needs to be done organized within the foundation and to increase the number of paid staff who could be responsible for organizing agreements to avoid what sadly happened to Bamkin. The initiative is a fantastic one I think and I think some sort of scaling of what has already been started really needs to take place if we are to be serious about freely providing knowledge. i'd imagine Roger would be thinking of small locales like Gibraltar etc first, but I think we need to be bold, try to form and agreement and secure some sort of funding from councils in major cities like New York or London and get the local councillors to see how important having an interactive city would be. If we could convince a major city in the western world to start something I think you'd be amazed how it might stir up interest elsewhere. For the developing world, I think encouraging locally based projects would be one of the most effective ways of trying to reduce systematic bias. (Dr. Blofeld).
Hi Dr B, I agree about the systemic bias, I'm thrilled to see that Gibraltarpedia is in Africa and Spain and Monmouthpedia is in a couple of nearby counties and England. I think the main issue here is getting staff involved. We do need staff who can oversee the legalities but they need to take guidance from the project leads. Staff who are over eager to establish a professional relationship can end up trying to take control and undermining the projects objectives. If you go to Monmouth its not the QR codes that are "the best bit" but the familiarity with smart phones and an improved understanding of open licenses. The British Museum, Derby, Monmouth, Coventry, the Science Museum were collaborations initially established by volunteers. We can make "backstage passes" scalable (once they are routine) and supported by staff but novelty comes from people and we have ~100,000 editors and only a few hundred staff. Victuallers (talk) 08:43, 18 February 2013 (UTC)