Wikimedia Foundation elections/FDC elections/2013/Candidates

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Info The election ended 22 June 2013. No more votes will be accepted.

The results were announced on 24 June 2013.

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2013 WMF elections
Board elections
FDC elections
FDC Ombudsperson elections


Smallbones (talk meta edits recent edits global user summary CA)

Summary details
  • Personal:
    • Age: 58
    • Location: suburban Philadelphia, PA, USA
    • Languages: English (native), Russian-3
Statement Wikimedia’s ability to raise millions of dollars means nothing to the success of the movement unless we can assure effective use of the funds according to the goals of the WMF board (a legal requirement), donors (a practical consideration), and the editors and readers of all Wikimedia projects (the communities we serve). To do this the FDC needs to:
A. Continue to gain the confidence of all Wikimedians by showing competence in doing its tasks. This means hard work by its members, conservative interpretation of its mandate, no surprises, and avoiding Wikidrama.
B. Emphasize funding for the Global South
C. Solve this year’s key question: Should the FDC fund the fixed costs of running chapters? Since the FDC has no mandate to fund multiyear projects, I believe that the fixed costs should generally not be funded as such by the FDC, but that money to get chapters or specific projects started should be funded. The FDC should not penalize groups when their projects succeed, but should encourage them to seek outside funding, while gradually reducing FDC funding for overhead.
D. Find a way to get user groups and projects involved, as was originally planned.

Judgment is needed here and all FDC members must work together in solving these issues, so I would never try to impose these ideas on the whole committee.

Compulsory questions 1. What experiences of yours do you think will enhance the work and recommendation process of the FDC?
1.1. Around directing and/or evaluating annual plans and programs?
I have an MBA, a Ph.D. in finance from Purdue University, and before I let it expire with my retirement, a CFA designation. I’ve taught finance at several universities in the US and Eastern Europe and given many lectures in certain types of budgeting and very basic accounting (but mostly about investments in capital markets). In the day-to-day work of the FDC, these qualifications may sometimes come into play in small ways, but for the overall make-up of the FDC and for occasional serious question this experience may be very useful. More important however, I’ve learned theoretical approaches to issues that will concern the FDC, such as agency costs, that should allow me to consider many FDC issues from a “big picture” perspective.
1.2. Around grantmaking?
Working in universities for most of my career, there were many instances when faculty were consulted on funding particular programs. I particularly enjoyed the 2 years when I participated in making recommendations to the US Embassy for funding of Russian applicants to the Fullbright program to study in the US.

2. How does your history with Wikimedia make you suited for the FDC?

I’ve participated in several projects on Wikipedia of the type that might benefit from FDC funding, but usually as a “foot-soldier” rather than as a leader: WP:NRHP, WP:GLAM, and as the US coordinator for Wiki Loves Monuments in 2012. I’ve also attended several meetings of the New York and Washington chapters – and have a good idea how they work – as well as Wikimania in Washington. I’ve received a $400 small grant, so I know how that program works. I was a member of the FDC Advisory Committee last year that helped design the FDC and get it started, so I’d likely be able to join the FDC and work at full speed from the start.

Cristian Consonni (CristianCantoro)

CristianCantoro (talk meta edits recent edits global user summary CA)

Summary details
March 2012. Credit Niccolò Caranti
  • Personal:
    • Name: Cristian Consonni
    • Age: 26
    • Location: Trento, Italy
    • Languages: Italian-N, English-3, French-3, German-1, Chinese-1
Statement In my opinion the goal of the FDC is solving the tough task of ensuring the highest standard of accounting (to make sure that the donors' money are well spent) and the need to empower the people all over the world with excessive bureaucracy being an obstacle to all this (we should not forget that volunteer time is precious for them and for us as a movement). Whilst the growth of chapters and affiliate organizations is not a goal per se in my opinion having a solid and healthy ecosystem of Wikimedia-related organization is the best way to ensure long term sustain and stability for the projects. Moreover strong local Wikimedia organization (where local can either mean "territorially local" or "focused on a theme") can polarize efforts from like-minded organizations and becoming a reference for everybody interested in open culture (FLOSS, open access, etc.)

I am a member of Wikimedia Italia and my history as a Wikimedian (see below) has allowed me to develop a fairly good background in how the affiliate organization manage and organize their projects and I would like to bring my experience to the FDC. As a final note, it is worth noting that Wikimedia Italia does not participate in FDC funding (for legal reasons related to Italian law in charities) and it is self sustaining since 2012 (for WM-IT's financial reports see here).

Compulsory questions 1. What experiences of yours do you think will enhance the work and recommendation process of the FDC?
1.1. Around directing and/or evaluating annual plans and programs?
As a member of the board of one of the oldest chapters (Wikimedia Italia) I have experience in organizing and managing activities which are part of the common projects realized by chapters and affiliated organization in the field of free/libre/open culture. Wikimedia Italia has been publishing his budget and financial statements since its very beginning (in 2005) and for every complex project (i.e. everything besides single event participations) we have kept project-specific budgets. In my position I have participated in the preparation of these documents and the accounting processes of WM-IT.
1.2. Around grantmaking?
So far my experience is related in being on the other side of the table: Wikimedia Italia has just presented a grant request for the Wikimedia Conference 2013.

2. How does your history with Wikimedia make you suited for the FDC?

I am a Wikipedian since 2007 and I came to Wikipedia from the GNU/Linux and Free Software world. I have been involved in the Wikimedia movement being a member of the Italian chapter since 2008, and I'm serving as a member of the board since 2010 (first as Responsible for the project and then as Vicepresident, I have been reconfirmed to the board three times). In 2013 I joined the Wiki Loves Monuments international organizing team (see my introduction on WLM's "Who's who"). Probably I am not the best known Wikimedian out there but I enjoy following discussions and I have participated in international mailing lists since 2010, so I think that I have a good vision of what it is the state of the movement now.

Delphine Ménard (notafish)

notafish (talk meta edits recent edits global user summary CA)

Summary details
Delphine Ménard - by Mathias Schindler - CC-BY-SA
  • Personal:
    • Name: Delphine Ménard
    • Age: 41
    • Location: Germany (I'm French though ;))
    • Languages: French-N, English-4, German-3 ½, Italian-2, Spanish-2
Statement The FDC's biggest challenge consists in allocating fairly and adequately part of the financial resources of the Wikimedia movement. The first rounds showed a great disparity in the way different Wikimedia organizations understand programmatic activities, as well as unveiled a discrepancy in their ability to strategize and prioritize their future development. As member of the FDC, I wish to work on the following points:
  • Enable all Wikimedia organizations entering the FDC process to do so with a full understanding of what responsibilities they are undertaking. This includes strengthening pre-request support so that organizations ask themselves the right questions about mid and long term strategy, growth and sustainability.
  • Ensure that communication between the FDC and the requesting organizations runs smoothly. Noone should be advantaged or disadvantaged because of their command of a language or understanding of the culture that drives the FDC process, particularly around the concepts of organizational development and grant-making.
  • Seek wider input in order to increase constructive and helpful criticism from all parts of the movement, especially from the wider Wikimedia communities.
Compulsory questions 1. What experiences of yours do you think will enhance the work and recommendation process of the FDC?
1.1. Around directing and/or evaluating annual plans and programs?
I worked about 10 years as an event manager and managed small and large budgets for events I coordinated (from large tradeshows to small conferences). Having had to follow budget constraints, to monitor and adjust spending to provide resources where they are needed has provided me with some insight about allocating money where it makes the biggest impact. As a board member of two chapters at various stages of their evolution, I have gathered lots of experience about the difficult but necessary process of organisational adaptation as well as about the development of strategic plans and annual budgets.
1.2. Around grantmaking?
I am active within various grant programs within the Wikimedia movement. I am currently sitting on the micro-grant commission for Wikimédia France, have been a member of the Community Project Budget (awarding grants above 5000€) jury for Wikimedia Germany and I am an active member of the Grant Advisory Committee. Through these experiences I have acquired an across the board view of what grant-making within Wikimedia entails. I have a good understanding of what works and what doesn't, but also understand that what works somewhere may not work elsewhere and that diversity is key to our success. We are all working towards one vision and we share a common mission, but there are many different paths paths to achieve them, all legitimate, and we should always keep that in mind.

2. How does your history with Wikimedia make you suited for the FDC?

I have been a Wikimedian since 2004 and have been involved from the beginning in organizational development of the Wikimedia movement, which is the way I believe I can best help. I served on the boards of two chapters (Wikimédia France as treasurer and board member, Wikimedia Deutschland as board member, treasurer, and now vice-president). I was a lead organizer for Wikimania in 2005, 2006 and 2008. I have worked for the Wikimedia Foundation as Chapters Coordinator and have been a member of the Chapters Committee (now Affiliations Committee) since its beginning (I am now an advisor). In short, I have seen Wikimedia grow from an informal organization to the structured movement it is today. I have a first hand knowledge of the skills and sweat it takes to make our organizations grow to be sustainable while taking on our responsibilities towards donors as well as users.

Ben (ImperfectlyInformed)

ImperfectlyInformed (talk meta edits recent edits global user summary CA)

Summary details
  • Personal:
    • Name: Ben
    • Age: 27
    • Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
    • Languages: English (native), Spanish (a few college classes)
  • Editorial:
    • Wikimedian since: 16 August 2007
    • Active wikis: en.wikipedia
Statement My goal is to help bridge the communication gap between the English Wikipedia community and the foundation. My core concern is technology. Wikipedia is behind the times. In my years here, I have seen a few features roll out, but it seems that the new features don't turn out as planned. There also seems to be some half-finished projects and unfulfilled wishes.

While I will give chapter support grants due weight and review, I expect this committee to have a broader mandate. According to the portal FAQ this committee will administer "funds for dissemination to movement entities ... for activities that support the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement". Page 56 of the 2012-3 Annual Plan shows 25% of spending under FDC. If something should be worked on and the grantees aren't the right fit, then a Request for Proposal may be appropriate. Failing that, I may recommend that the Foundation invest in adding employees to fill potential gaps. We should not be handing out money to whoever is asking for it.

Compulsory questions 1. What experiences of yours do you think will enhance the work and recommendation process of the FDC?
1.1. Around directing and/or evaluating annual plans and programs?
I take issue with this question. Experience is not nearly as important as accomplishments or goals. I am currently on the finance and executive committee of the board of an environmental nonprofit with around $900k in revenue (mostly from foundation grants), and as such I work with the board in evaluating the effectiveness of our programs. I have 12 credits in accounting (15 is required for the professional accountant CPA designation in my state) and I know a bit about nonprofit accounting, although I've not taken that class. I've also taken an auditing class and I've seen a few audit reports, which might be useful. Additionally, I spent a year and a half on the board of self-insured health trust acting as a fiduciary for around a hundred million dollars of claim payments and a hundred million in reserves, with about a dozen contracts. The board met 6 times a year for 2-3 days per meeting.
1.2. Around grantmaking?
Since I am on the board of directors of a foundation-financed nonprofit, I have more experience than the average person. However, I think grants are different in every field so I'm not sure there will be much crossover.

2. How does your history with Wikimedia make you suited for the FDC?

Like most Wikipedians, I interact with the movement through our electronic Wikipedia and not through real-life conferences and meetings. It's not clear to me that the other committee members have this background, and I view it as important to have at least one member who is independent of the real-life stuff, particularly since internet-only interaction is probably the bucket which the majority of our users and donors fall into. I've mainly been a content editor for the past few years editing a wide variety of areas but mainly business & economics, medicine, and most recently law (recent examples include significant improvement of tort, contract, and warranty). I've also been involved in some of the administrative and policy discussions - for example, I was one of the cosigning editors in the original infamous Jagged 85 debacle. Although I became less active in the past couple years due to health issues (wrist and back pain recently resolved), in the past few months I've been quite active and I am recognizable in a couple WikiProjects and to a lesser degree on places like ANI. I've seen my fair share of drama and do a fair bit of lurking over at English Wikipedia. I came up with a list of technical ideas not long after I started editing (not necessarily what I would advocate for today). In summary, I'm sort of a typical Wikipedia editor who sticks to the internet and does a lot of editing but also gets drawn into the WikiDrama sometimes. I know what editors are going through. Although I've said that my major interest is technology, I will admit that I have not monitored or gotten deeply-involved in the technical side. However, I would spend more time monitoring that if elected. I have a hobby interest in programming (e.g., have had a subscription to SafariBooksOnline for over a year; was playing with Python's Flask microframework today). I am aware of some of the incoming projects, such as VisualEditor and FLOW, but not on any detailed level. Page 58 of the Foundation's annual plan does show some increases in certain technology categories.

Abbas Mahmood (Abbasjnr)

Abbasjnr (talk meta edits recent edits global user summary CA)

Summary details
Abbas Mahmood at the 2011 Chapters Meeting.
  • Personal:
    • Name: Abbas Mahmood
    • Age: 24
    • Location: Kenya
    • Languages: Swahili-N, English-4
Statement I believe that the FDC needs to increase its efforts to reach out to non-English communities and support their involvement in Wikimedia's governance. Over the past year, the FDC has been recommending funding on a year-to-year basis; I believe that they should start thinking about how to go about multi-year project funding. I would also expect the FDC to be more transparent in its decision-making, giving more feedback to applicants and making sure that the community has a good understanding and insight into the FDC process.
Compulsory questions 1. What experiences of yours do you think will enhance the work and recommendation process of the FDC?
1.1. Around directing and/or evaluating annual plans and programs?
I am currently finalizing my Bachelors Degree in Accounting and have been working in a donor-funded organisation so I have a good understanding of undertaking annual planning. I have been involved in instigating projects for small organizations: I was a founding member of Wikimedia Kenya and I am now involved in starting up a Creative Commons chapter in Kenya, so i have a good understanding of programmatic planning for young organisations.
1.2. Around grantmaking?
I was a member of the Grant Advisory Committee during 2011-12, and have been a grant recipient of 3 grants through the Wikimedia Grants Program. I am also involved in the grantmaking team for a small Tanzanian non-profit and have volunteered my time looking for corporate sponsors to undertake community projects for the Nairobi Global Shapers

2. How does your history with Wikimedia make you suited for the FDC?

I have been involved in the Grant Advisory Committee and the Movement roles project, I have gained a deep understanding of the Wikimedia movement and seen it refined to a more responsible movement. I was also involved in creating a Kenyan chapter and participated in the Swahili Wikipedia Challenge, Google Health Speaks project and the Wikipedia for Schools Project (in Kenya & Tanzania), and I can therefore relate to most programmatic plans carried out by smaller chapters, especially those in the Global South.

Mile Kiš (MikyM)

MikyM (talk meta edits recent edits global user summary CA)

Summary details
  • Personal:
    • Name: Mile Kiš
    • Age: 25
    • Location: Belgrade, Serbia
    • Languages: Serbian (native), Bosnian-5, Croatian-4, English-3, Spanish-3, Romanian-3
Statement Thanks to continuous development and successful fundraising process, the WMF is capable of supporting annual plans of local chapters through the FDC program. Directing of funds and supporting of projects for development is the right way to accomplish Wikimedia’s missions, and the FDC has crucial role in this matter. Some of the FDC tasks are:
  • Understanding of applications;
  • Rational recommendations for financing annual plans (which will provide reasonable handling of donors’ money and also support the improvement of local chapters);
  • Continuation of transparent work;
  • Ability to respond to upcoming challenges of disproportional numbers of fund requests with limited budget;
  • Progression of informing the people about the whole process;
  • Providing mentors (whose assignment will be to advise what should be upgraded) for every applicant who needs improvement;
  • Focusing on submissions that are requested from different parts of the world, especially from the developing countries, which have specific situations in their community / programs.

I am willing to contribute in all these tasks, as well as in all the other obligations which the FDC provides.

Compulsory questions 1. What experiences of yours do you think will enhance the work and recommendation process of the FDC?
1.1. Around directing and/or evaluating annual plans and programs?
Thanks to my educational history, I have gained knowledge about international economy and finances, which provided me theoretical knowledge about reasonable perspective and capability to make reasonable financial decisions. Although, I would emphasize long-term practical experience in Wikimedia’s movement, which allowed me to perceive the needs of the community from its core. During my eight-year working experience, I’ve worked in many positions, which included: various jobs in economy department; event organizer (international and local conferences and congresses); supervisor. A lot of these obligations requested effective budget background, schedule and fundraising. In addition, I created annual plan for Wikimedia Serbia.
1.2. Around grantmaking?
As an executor of previously mentioned projects, one of my essential assignments was to provide funds, which gave me plenty of experience as a grantee. In Wikimedia movement I’ve accomplished numerous funded applications, and it made me one of the leaders in WMF grant process. On the other hand, my experience in several advisory and financial committees and boards enhanced my knowledge of being a good granter. I am active member of both IEG and GAC, and grant committee for micro grants in Wikimedia Serbia as well. Being a member of these bodies, I had opportunity to encounter different individual and group plans and programs, and understand their differences. My experience in GAC was important enough to contribute as the only independent respondent in creation of “Grants: Retrospective 2009-2012”, written by Kevin Gorman.

2. How does your history with Wikimedia make you suited for the FDC?

I am Wikipedian since 2007. Shortly after that I joined Wikimedia Serbia, which at that time was only a small group of volunteers and enthusiast. One of my first assignment was to improve work of the chapter, and with my activities to accomplish its professionalization. Today, Wikimedia Serbia has successful office and staff with strategy and annual plans and programs. Keeping in mind that I come from a small community, from a country in transit, I can fully understand challenges that occur in this kind of movement and their needs for development of Wikimedia’s mission. I had organized several local and international Wikimedia events, which assisted in expansion of Wikimedia movement. Both in local and global level. As a manager of numerous projects I accomplished partnership with local organizations and institutions. After spending years in Wikimedia, I had opportunity to observe how Wikimedia Serbia grew from small group of volunteers into a professional association. All these experiences and opportunities helped me to learn that big ideas come with small steps. Thanks to my previous experiences I knew the right ones.

Michał Buczyński (Aegis Maelstrom)

Aegis Maelstrom (talk meta edits recent edits global user summary CA)

Summary details
Michał "Aegis Maelstrom" Buczyński, 2012. Author: Polimerek. CC-BY-SA
  • Personal:
    • Name: Michał Buczyński
    • Age: 31
    • Location: Warsaw, Poland
    • Languages: Polish (native), English-4, German-1
Statement Wikimedia face a number of challenges, including:
  • avoiding a burnout and a loss of volunteers in Chapters similar to what we have already observed in communities of mature Wikipedias,
  • decentralizing the Movement and growing local competence centres while assuring rising standards; more assistance from both WMF and other Affiliates
  • understanding its diversity and local circumstances, which cannot be simply called a "Global South" or "Rich Europe" :-)
  • communicating; frameworks for reporting, programme planning and evaluation - these are less breathtaking but needed tasks.
  • assessing particular programmes, offering consulting, money and other resources in both fair and strategic-wise manner.

FDC is an important vehicle in a position to deal with these issues and I would like to help.

My vision is a global and living Movement. My goal is to empower more people, support activism and promote our free and wiki culture everywhere. My aim is to assist leaders, services and competence centres all over the globe. My task would be: listen to my partners, help them with reporting, seek a just assessment and communicate my feedback. My inner accountant says: "Save the Money! But wisely..." :) And my motto says: Be In Charge and Be Humble.

Therefore, I am offering my service.

Compulsory questions 1. What experiences of yours do you think will enhance the work and recommendation process of the FDC?
1.1. Around directing and/or evaluating annual plans and programs?
My background and skillset is different than from the rest of the FDC, yet I believe it would be helpful.

For a living I am doing an obligatory reporting in a major Polish commercial bank. The job is based on an attention to detail and understanding data (e.g. numbers) and regulations, including a long way of a process: from writing own regulation and data preparation to providing reports: standardized, customized and in promptu and answering questions. :) Therefore, I would like to give my input into reporting&planning, numbers standing before the budgets as well as items description.

Furthermore, my MA education in Warsaw School of Economics gave me a basic but firm set of skills and understanding of finances, qualitative and quantitative methods, strategic management etc., which I enhanced during a semester stay in Anderson School of Mgmt, UCLA (MBA), a brief training in strategic consulting by a leading company in this industry and PhD Studies (completed, unfortunately my thesis is put on hold - the day job won).

Finally however, I share our experience of a volunteer on wikisites and in a Chapter. I know a position of an editor, sysop or an ArbCom member and serving in the WMPL Chapter Board I have already learned some Chapter life: asking for money, evaluating submitted initiatives, working with partners, winning external funds, organizing and event and reporting the expenses.
1.2. Around grantmaking?
Reporting (facilitating and understanding) should be my strong side, not only basing on an experience of every PhD student asking for a grant :) but also on my professional perspective. Strategic assessment and judgement of compliance with our strategic goals is a part of my education and - to some extent - this is a part of the Board service. Assessment of the capability to actually deliver is the trickiest part that I am least familiar with. On the plus side, as my home Chapter is not planning to use FDC, I feel safer in terms of my conflicts of interest.

2. How does your history with Wikimedia make you suited for the FDC?

I have been always trying being a conscious Wikimedian, applying my skills where required and learning from the wikis. One of the lessons are Affiliates and all the volunteers running their projects; I believe FDC needs to pursuit knowledge about its evaluated partners and I hope I remain open for their stories. Secondly, I am passionate about Wikimedia as a distributed organization, F/OSS Movement and the Free Culture, so I believe I understand and share the roots and goals that I would need to promote as a FDC member. Thirdly, some of you could meet me during some meetups or even a Wikimania talk - I hope you found me approachable. :) Finally, my still short but not void Board service gave me a necessary insight.