User:Mav/Ask the candidate

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This is the candidate page for Daniel Mayer (aka maveric149 or mav).

The foundation's only right to exist is to serve the wants and needs of the membership and the user community. It is more than just a legal entity we need to raise money and pay for expenses, it is an organization dedicated to encouraging the creation of free content and pushing back the forces of proprietary control of knowledge by offering a free - in the libre and gratis sense of the word - alternative to the world. The future is now and we are all part of an expanding revolution in how the compendium of human experience is transmitted and controlled. By providing a bazaar, or marketplace, where people can come together to share their knowledge in a useful way, Wikimedia is working to democratize publishing and enrich all our lives.

Vote for me so that I can help Wikimedia reach its goals through openess and based on a solid financial foundation.

just a photo of mav

Why I qualify[edit]

General qualifications[edit]

In the two and a half years I've been contributing to Wikipedia I have made nearly 40,000 edits to articles and thousands more edits to talk and Wikipedia pages. In that time, I have volunteered many hundreds of hours trying to shape and improve Wikimedia content, organization, dispute resolution process, communication, and policy.

Wikimedia needs a committed treasurer[edit]

Article V of the Wikimedia bylaws states that one of the trustees has to be selected by the board to be treasurer (there is no provision for a non-board member to act as treasurer). This is a vitally important position that needs to be filled by somebody who is willing to spend a great deal of time and care tracking and budgeting Wikimedia's income and expenses. Since no one else was performing this very important role, I have been doing what I could with the limited amount of information that Jimbo has given me. I feel that I have demonstrated both an ability and willingness to do this work and that my presence on the board will be needed so that the work can be continued and expanded upon.

Concerns I hope to address[edit]

create comprehensive budget[edit]

We need a financial action plan to monitor and benchmark Wikimedia's progress toward its goal to provide free content to the world. Without sound planning, service disruption and slowdowns will occur at an increasing rate. When reserves become low the board needs to act quickly to increase fundraising and grant-seeking efforts.

If elected, I will tirelessly work to ensure that Wikimedia donor money is spent responsibly on the physical needs of its projects; that efforts are made on a regular basis to keep money flowing into the foundation through fundraising and grand-seeking efforts so that Wikimedia remains free; and that the membership and user community are kept informed of all transactions in a timely manor.

expand Wikimedia participation[edit]

I also feel that each project should have its own representatives that will meet and consult with the board on budgetary and advanced planning issues. This could be done by formalizing the Wikimedia Embassy idea into a representative council by giving ambassadors official Wikimedia titles and responsibilities. Honorary trustee status could also be conferred to the presidents of each Wikimedia Chapter (aka member association, such as the one being formed in Germany this year). Other official roles, such as press contacts could also be added.

protect Wikimedia trademarks and copyrights[edit]

The various trademarks used by Wikimedia projects need to be protected, first by registration is the U.S. and later registration in Europe and elsewhere. This is needed to ensure that companies do not use our brand names in ways designed to confuse people into thinking that their product or service is affiliated with a Wikimedia project. If we do not defend our trademarks, then we could loose control of them and no longer have unique branding, meaning anybody could use the name "Wikipedia" for any product or service they wanted.

Our informal methods of encouraging third party users of our content to follow the minimal terms of our license has had mixed success. If elected I will work to establish a Wikimedia copyright compliance officer position for each wiki (this would be an elected position for each wiki). After informal methods of appeal have failed, it would be the duty of the compliance officers to ensure that non-compliant users of Wikimedia content come into compliance. Free content is not free when it can become part of a proprietary work and we all deserve credit for the content we create.

draft truly free license[edit]

Free content is supposed to be easy to use by not being hindered by terms that limit its distribution. Although the GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL) was the best free content license at the time of Wikipedia's founding, it does have a number of significant drawbacks when compared to newer licenses such as Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike License (CC by-sa). Absurdly, these two licenses are not legally compatible even though their intent is nearly identical.

If elected as trustee, I will work with the Free Software Foundation to help draft a GNU Free Content License, which would address the needs of wiki-based free content projects and also work for non-text content. Content licensed under the GNU FCL would be directly compatible with invariant section-free GNU FDL (such as Wikipedia) and the CC by-sa (such as Wikitravel and many other projects - including many university online courses). Alternatively, the Free Software Foundation may make enough changes to the FDL so that it works better for us (less complicated, more generalized, and compatible with the CC by-sa). If that happens, then the need for a derivative license will not be as great.

The free exchange of information is hindered when the text that expresses it cannot be combined.

Vision for the future of the Wikimedia project[edit]

If elected I will work to help establish a five year master plan for Wikimedia. Some items I would like to add to such a plan would be:

  • Establishment of a Wikimedia Chapter system
  • Creation of partnerships with similar non-profits to help further our shared goals, such as putting Wikimedia content on computers donated to needy areas with limited Internet access.
  • Distribution of Wikimedia content on CD and paper after it had gone through an approval process not unlike the featured article process on the English Wikipedia, but more automated.
  • Work with the language departments of various colleges and universities to create programs whereby students translate or otherwise create Wikimedia content for school credit. This can be directed toward smaller Wikimedia project language versions where the added content will hopefully enliven that version and make is self-sustaining.
  • The chartering of a Wikimedia University that would use content created by the various Wikimedia projects and present it in a form usable in the classroom (textbooks from Wikibooks, encyclopedias from Wikipedia, source texts from Wikisource, and dictionaries from Wiktionary). This would not be a fork, but would be a complimentary superproject where students and teachers could interact while learning from approved Wikimedia content. A library (Wikimedia content) is a collection of many works, but a university (Wikimedia University) is a place where those written works are used to teach students. Wikimedia projects would benefit by the increased inter-project coordination and the creation of a constant pressing need for additional approved content. I have already purchased the domain name wikiversity.org and have temporarily pointed it to Wikibooks (where there has been some development of the Wikiversity idea (see WikiBooks:Wikiversity).

Questions[edit]

After additional consideration I've decided to run. My main reasons for doing so are

  • The election will not be first past the post, so my running will not lesson the chances of a person I want to win from becoming a board member.
  • Finals and final projects are over, so I'm free to spend the time needed to run.
  • None of the leading candidates seemed particularly interested in long term financial matters.

Please ask me any questions you have below. --mav 20:59, 26 May 2004 (UTC)

GNU FCL[edit]

Hi, mav. May I ask you more information about the GNU FCL? What are the major problems and/or inconveniences of GFDL for wikimedia projects that you recognize? Do you have any particular ideas/opinions what the GFCL should be like? What the process would be like to design a license? Thanks, Tomos 22:51, 26 May 2004 (UTC)


Good question.
  • To copy anything above a fair use part of a GNU FDL licenced text requires the inclusion of all six and a half pages of the license. We get around that by requiring a link to the GNU FDL's webpage. This does not work for print, however. That is one reason why Wikitravel uses the CC by-sa. Their explanation why is better than I could do. See Wikitravel:Why Wikitravel isn't GFDL
  • The license was created with the needs of software documentation in mind, meaning much of its text does not apply to us.
  • It was created with provisions for including invariant sections as an option. We have never, nor do we ever need to use invariant sections. Doing so also makes the text much less free. In fact Debian (a large free software project) does not allow GNU FDL documentation. See Draft Debian Position Statement about the GNU Free Documentation License(GFDL) The text which pertains to invariant sections also makes the license that much longer and hard to understand.
  • All we want to require is a link back and mention that the content is available under terms of the license we use. The GNU FDL requires things such as a history section (which we kinda have in the form of page histories) and a title page with 5 principal author names on it (we don't have that). So third party users are not really in compliance with the letter of the GNU FDL (a link to our article which kinda sorta has a history page and does not have a title page is clearly against the letter of the GNU FDL - but we do not want to follow the letter of that license). We in fact obscure the names of authors. I'm not saying that we are in non-compliance, but I am saying that our compliance is more in the spirit of the GNU FDL than in the letter. That makes it more difficult for us to defend against others from using our text under their own even more liberal interpretation of the license.
  • Most importantly, it is not compatible with the CC by-sa. We can therefore not share text with other CC by-sa projects and they cannot use our text. My idea for the FCL is to have a license which is easy to understand, short, and allows for the type of small copy and paste development of all content types that wikis employ. By having such a license, our content can be used more widely and thus have more of an impact.
The GNU FDL was not written for a general reference wiki, it was written specifically for free software documentation. --mav 00:35, 27 May 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for your answers, Mav. I think reuser compliance and compatibility are both important issues, and I would love to see some development in those areas.

By the way, not having a title page is not against GFDL. The definition section of the GFDL includes an instruction of what to do in that case. Not that it makes any big difference, since we are not following it strictly. Tomos 06:04, 29 May 2004 (UTC)

Anthere's questions[edit]

Hi Mav, I am glad of your candidacy, but also regret you left so little time for discussion before the elections. I think a representant first role is to listen to people questions and offer a feedback before sharing with the other board members. It is nice to make "effet de manche" 24 hours before the deadline, but providing time for people to voice concerns and understand fully your plateform is something important. If I had one criticism to voice, that would be it.

This said, what do you exactly mean by "Establish a Wikimedia Chapter system" ???

Anthere 23:31, 26 May 2004 (UTC)

Most of the meet and greet for the other candidates occurred in a matter of days. We are still 2 days away from the deadline (end of Friday). I don't take my candidacy lightly and would not be running if I didn't think it was necessary. I'm in fact reluctant to take leadership roles when I see that things are progressing fine as they are. The apparent lack of a demonstrated interest in financial matters by most of the candidates started to weigh heavily on me as I've been conducting research about what needs to be done for a budget. So I hope that my candidacy will at least make this an election issue.
The Wikimedia Chapter system would be a network of local non-profit associations (clubs) such as the one being created in Germany this summer. These local entities could promote their project or project language version by conducting special events, membership drives, field trips (such as to a museum or national park) and fundraisers (such as selling WikiReaders). I will post more on this later. --mav 00:35, 27 May 2004 (UTC)


Most of the meet and greet for the other candidates occurred in a matter of days. We are still 2 days away from the deadline (end of Friday). I don't take my candidacy lightly and would not be running if I didn't think it was necessary. I'm in fact reluctant to take leadership roles when I see that things are progressing fine as they are. The apparent lack of a demonstrated interest in financial matters by most of the candidates started to weigh heavily on me as I've been conducting research about what needs to be done for a budget. So I hope that my candidacy will at least make this an election issue.
I understand. Well, there are several topics of interest to explore, and I do not think any of the current candidates can handle them all properly. With an active board of 2 members, it appears obvious to me that some of the work load will have to be delegated to other trusted wikipedians, rather than handled by 2 people only. The money issue is interesting me, however, I think handling any money consideration outside of the country of collection and money management is not a very good idea :-)
Money topic is discussed on other wikipedias. But discussions occur on local languages, I fear it will never occur on a public mailing list which appear to be for english considerations only, and certainly not in english, as not everyone is confortable with this. I raise the issue of budget more than once, and I agree with you it raised no interest at all ;-). I was mostly thinking along the line of use of money on local associations, as it seems logical that some of the money collected locally, should be used to pay for common framework. It seems that there is a maximum amount that is legally transferable, for example 40%. The rest should be spent locally.
Note that it appears to me, that once some money of local associations go to the mother associations, it is probably best that local associations have a word to say on how the money is used. I would like to perceive how local associations could be represented inside the mother association. What is your opinion on the matter ? How do you see this ?
The Wikimedia Chapter system would be a network of local non-profit associations (clubs) such as the one being created in Germany this summer. These local entities could promote their project or project language version by conducting special events, membership drives, field trips (such as to a museum or national park) and fundraisers (such as selling WikiReaders). I will post more on this later. --mav 00:35, 27 May 2004 (UTC)
I have another question... if this is the role of local associations, and Wikimedia Foundation has a much larger role, which local association will play this role say ... in England ? How do you think should be made the difference between the role of the Foundation as the mother of all association and the Foundation as somehow a local association for the USA ? Do you think there should be an australian association for example ?

In case two english-speakers are elected, how do you plan to make it obvious the Foundation is international and driven by an international spirit ?

What do you think should be done with trolls ?

Anthere

The fact that 2 members of the interim board are not active Wikimedians does bother me. I also fear that they will not be involved and most of the work will go to the elected trustees, who in turn, will have to appoint people to help with the workload. I would very much like to open up those two seats ASAP.

Hopefully we will be able to formalize the Wikimedia Embassy idea into the representative council I was talking about (giving people official titles and responsibilities should make that work). It would be the job of the ambassadors to ensure communication occurs from their project/project language version to the board. Yes it is also the job of the board members to make sure communication happens, but as you said the board will need help. Local associations could also have their own ambassador but I feel that donations should be based on what the donors want, not what the association leadership happens to want. Those donations should also have a minimum of terms and conditions.

I don't understand this question ". if this is the role of local associations, and Wikimedia Foundation has a much larger role, which local association will play this role say ... in England ?" Taken at face value, I would answer: whatever association the English decide to form. I plan to create a northern California chapter. Until then, the role I talk about will not be performed in my area. There simply will need to be a certain number of Wikimedians living relatively close to one another to make this possible.

The foundation will always be the foundation and the mother of all. I imagine that a number of U.S. states will form their own associations/chapters. Chapters in other countries could follow the same pattern or if the country is geographically small enough there could be just one chapter for the own country. The point of the associations/chapters is to be able to meet other Wikimedians to do certain things. It is up to the Wikimedians involved to decide just where the chapters are located.

"In case two english-speakers are elected, how do you plan to make it obvious the Foundation is international and driven by an international spirit ?" I was not aware of anybody running who did not speak English. But if, for example, two Americans were elected, then that would trouble me greatly. If I am one of those two I will talk with the other American and the rest of the board to decide what to do. I would lobby the board to accept a non-American runner up as a sixth trustee (this should not be a problem since the by-laws are not official yet). If that failed, I would then lobby for the creation of a Corporate Financial Officer position that I could fill so that the non-American runner up could fill my vacant trustee seat.

I think you may not have understood my question. I did not really mean to have it related to the language spoken, but rather to the main wikipedia on which these users are working. There are many people working on en, some whose mother language is not english and some for which it is (from USA, Australia, Great-Britain, Canada etc...). It does not matter. What matters more is that if the ones elected mostly work on the english wikipedias, then, they will have less sense of what is going on in other places. I do not mean it is wrong. It is just so. But that will mean the board will take decisions, just naturally placing itself in the situation it knows best. So, the issue is not the language, but rather the project affiliation. But I think you answered my question anyway through representative council.

Trolls should be dealt with using the policies and procedures developed by whatever project or project language version the troll is trolling in. What works for the English Wikipedia may not work for other Wikipedias or other Wikimedia projects. That is also beyond the scope of what the board is for. --mav 06:42, 27 May 2004 (UTC)

Wrong position?[edit]

Hi Daniel, I'm confused as to why you have chosen to stand for both positions. Your campaign platform seems to be very heavily leaning towards financial issues. The contributing member representative will the one representing those uses who do contribute financially and I would have thought that your interests in dealing with the money side of things would have been better suited to the contributing role. For example, dealing with the issues such as how users will contribute, whether all users will be asked to contribute the same amount, whether minors will need to pay if they wish to become contributing members, how fees paid in non-American currencies will be dealt with, how those fees are used, and so on. If this is where your interest lies, what is your motivation for standing also for the volunteer representative? Angela 01:29, 28 May 2004 (UTC)

I think all candidates should apply for both roles, so as to make this a non issue. This artificially splitting up into vague roles may result in sub optimal results. What if my two favoured candidates apply for the same role? I think in practice each board member should be able and willing to deal with a diverse set of subjects. Erik Zachte 02:00, 28 May 2004 (UTC)
Volunteers will not have a place to edit if the foundation's finances are not in order. There has been a major slowdown lately - in the future these events need to be anticipated and planned for in advance. Our current method for dealing with this is more like crisis management than sound planning. Also, two of the four 'concerns I hope to address' deal with issues that directly affect the volunteer user community. My idea for formalizing the Wikimedia Embassy also creates a link between the volunteer user community and the board. If people still feel that my platform is not appropriate for Volunteer User Representative, then they will not vote for me for that role. --mav