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About the organisation of meetings[edit]

I would like that a differeniation is seriously made between a board meeting and a meeting with the board, which might require renaming this page. Board meetings would be reported on Foundation website, while more general meetings and board meetings would be reported on meta.

Arguments :

  • legally speaking, we need to define which meetings are binding from a legal perspective from which are mostly discussions about how to handle community issues.
  • there are meetings planned now about every week. It is impossible to attend all of them. At least, impossible to me, in particular since meetings are curently decided with no prior agreement neither on dates, nor on hours. Some of us have a life and can not be spend one dinner per week-end at a meeting instead of being with their family. So, it becomes particularly important to be able to make the difference between meetings where presence is especially important, from meetings where the presence of one board member could be sufficient
  • agenda should reflect the difference. No board meeting level decisions should be made during general meetings. Board level decisions should be taken by board and not anyone else (though others could help in the discussion)
  • agenda should clearly indicate which decisions will be made, so that no decision is made without clear beforehand knowledge of the implications. This will also help make the difference between a board meeting and a general meeting.

Most typically, some meetings are currently planned on the agenda, one being very soon (as of August 2005):

September (5?) : Translation and communication meeting

no idea who is supposed to be there
no idea where it is supposed to happen
no idea who suggested that meeting
no agenda

September 18 : Board meeting with officers and chapters. 16:00 UTC

no agenda at all

I would like that a meeting is defined board or not at least a week before it really occurs and that for all board meetings, an agenda is made mandatory. Board decisions made in the absence of a board members should be pending the agreement of the missing board member. No unplanned board meeting should be legal. A board meeting should be organised only by the board itself (chair or secretary, it is unclear right now). It is probable these points are all mandatory. In the above two examples, the sept 5th meeting should simply not be there.

Anthere 05:21, 31 August 2005 (UTC)Reply

Legally speaking, I believe Board members are meant to be informed about meetings at least 10 days in advance, so a week isn't enough. I strongly disagree that "Board decisions made in the absence of a board members should be pending the agreement of the missing board member" since this will often not be practical and the bylaws state we can make decisions with a quorum of three. I believe it's the secretary (Tim) who should be organising meetings and the agenda, not the chair. Angela 09:15, 31 August 2005 (UTC)Reply
10 days so be it. If Tim is organising the agenda, can he clarify what this meeting on the 5th exactly is ? If decisions made be done by a quorum (understandable), then it should be mandatory that board members say beforehand whether they will be present or not at a meeting (not currently the case). Decisions to take should still be listed, to avoid cheating with an absent board member by changing the agenda at the last minute. Ant

Complex or abstract issues[edit]

Foundation membership[edit]

Anthere noted the difference in fees for members of local chapters. Since it wasn't stated specifically, I wanted to confirm whether, as discussed on the Membership fees page, payment of dues to the local chapter automatically satisfies the fees that would otherwise be paid to the Foundation. Hopefully we can work with local chapters to keep dues equitable - I can't remember, were there legal reasons that dues needed to be a certain amount?

Anyway, operating on these assumptions, it raises a concern in my mind. Suppose that a particular local association (let's call it Klingon) decides it wants to have disproportionate influence over Foundation matters. The Klingons figure out that they can do this by setting dues at 1 cent (sorry, I haven't watched enough Star Trek to remember what the Klingon currency is called). This will make it exceedingly easy for Klingons to become "contributing active members", and more Klingons will probably join compared to other groups. If the Klingon faction is large and they recruit enough people willing to cough up a penny, they will have a strong chance at determining one seat on the Board.

Granted, there are certain poor nations where dues of 1 cent would probably be equitable compared to the proposed fees. But if the Klingons are not among them, perhaps there should be a basic requirement that local chapter dues must at least equal Foundation dues in order for local chapter members to automatically qualify as "contributing active members"? The requirement could then be subject to waiver by the Board in appropriate cases. --Michael Snow 04:54, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)

As far as I know, paying fees via a local chapter will not enable you to pay less than you would if you paid fees directly to the Foundation. However, this was decided when we thought the minimum fee was going to be $6. We haven't discussed it since it became $12, so I can't give an official answer on this yet. The requirements on what chapters need to pay the Foundation, and how they pay it, will be flexible and open to discussion with each chapter, particularly since laws in some countries will restrict exactly what a chapter can do with their money. Finding ways to prevent Klingonists having unfair levels of influence is something we would take into account when negotiating with chapters. Angela 00:52, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Membership update?[edit]

Since Membership meeting in October and a proposal there has been no information on Wikimedia membership if I recall correctly. Has the proposal become a formal one? Or it is still on discussion? In my humble opinion it would be better for us to settle membership system as fast as possible we can - at least I will be happy to hear it. --Aphaia 09:26, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

  • It is no more on discussion, since we reached agreement on the topic. We are hoping that someone will help us set up the membership; and still waiting for anyone to bring help. As of today, none of the developers has expressed interest to help, and no one has made a form for membership. So we just wait for a miracle to happen :-) Anthere
  • Nothing ever happened, so I proposed membership be removed from the bylaws. See [1]. Angela 05:29, 3 Jul 2005 (UTC)
    • Thanks for replies, friends, so after bylaws is updated, should we need to remove Wikimedia:Membership too? Or will it be modiried mainly for clarification of voting eligility? --Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 06:51, 3 Jul 2005 (UTC)

Shall we change the bylaws and give up on the idea of membership? Was the issue with people being members of both local chapters and the foundation ever sorted out?

  • I am not at all convinced about the idea of membership. I don't believe it will bring any significant amount of money anyway. Angela 12:19, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Membership seems a good and natural idea. Useful for community building, beyond just amounts of money brought in. Let's do it. +sj+ 12:27, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Membership should definitely not be seen as a means to bring money in, but as a means to:
  1. build a community around the idea of promoting the projects, not necessarilly a community of contributors, but of "supporters" of the idea
  2. Build a pool of people who have shown real interest, in a non anonymous kind of way, and who are willing to take part in strengthening the projects by helping with promotion, PR etc.
To me a membership is a way to make people actually affirm their support, a support that we can then show to sponsors, governments etc. "These 10,000 people support us" type thing. notafish }<';> 13:04, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I support the idea of membership; even it wouldn't bring a significant amount of money but it doesn't matter; in most of non profit organisation membership fee is not the largest part of their income. Membership is one of good ways to express support and interest both on the community and for the outer world. On German Wikipedia some contributors seem to be honored to show their participation to the Verein, and as for the people outside of Wikipedia, I agree with notafish. --Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 01:20, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Agree with above; membership is not just about money, it's important to create a shared Wikimedia identity.--Eloquence 03:18, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Agree with above. Membership should revolve around community, not cash. It remains to be determined what the requirements for being a member should be and what privileges, if any, membership entails.
  • The above answer let me think of this next question : is it possible to set up a voluntary legal membership, without membership fee ? (but only suggestion of donation ?) Anthere 06:12, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • don't see any point in membership. we already have a community. maybe some kind of corporate sponsorship would be a better idea. kate.
  • Contributors/Users of the projects constitute an informal organization of members contributing to projects by editing wiki's. The Foundation bylaws make it a formal organization. We are busy in the Netherlands incorporating something as a contractpartner to a hosting offer. Idea has been as not to organize the community and not to have members, only as a support to projects run by the foundation. So, maybe the Netherlands won't be a chapter of the Foundation, because if it would be a chapter it would have members because all registered users are members of the foundation. Confused? We are too. Do we need a chapter in the Netherlands? Do we have to incorporate something? Maybe Wikimedia Foundation Inc. itself could be contractpartner for the hosting offer (And that is another point on the agenda)? The issue of membership and local chapters not being sorted out is currently not facilitating the creation of partnerships of considerable value to the community. Dedalus 09:53, 1 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    Yes, it seems the Foundation can be a direct partner, and this is probably what will be attempted. Additionnaly, setting up a chapter takes time... and such things should be done carefully. Anthere 17:38, 1 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • I think membership is a good sign of a sort of dedication or loyalty to the program. I do have however another question to ask: Why do I have to register with every new wiki-site (news, source, meta et all) there comes out? It would be much easier to have 1 central registery and only need to login and subscribe. Now I have to re-edit my preferences each time I join a new wiki-site.--Ameer 10:19, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

membership proposal confusion?[edit]

I'm confused by the various membership descriptions. I gather this is still a proposal waiting for implementation and one cannot actually join as of now (2005 July 2)? Ah, I've just found Anthere's note: "This proposal is largely outdated. Consider with caution. "

Nevertheless, there are contradictions elsewhere.

For example, the wikimediafoundation page Meetings/October 22, 2004 states:

A fee of $36 for non-editors and a minimum $12 for editors will be
required to become a "contributing active member".

but the Membership link summarises July discussions which appear superceded:

Becoming a Contributing Active Member will cost 60 USD


Volunteer Active Members may become Contributing Active Members for 6 USD

I got there following a link from the Quarto Blue Edition January 2005. I wanted to correct what looked like a missing phrase here:

Additional discussions led to subscribing membership fees being set at
US$36 (for non-editors) and US$12 (reduced).

Should this be (reduced for editors)?

Also the Image:Monopoly.JPG link is red, was it meant to be Image:German Monopoly board in the middle of a game.jpg?

Anyway, I'd like to say the Quarto is interesting reading, and I'm still going through it, but do miss not being able to click edit to fix the few typos I've seen! -Wikibob 13:12, 2 Jul 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the comments. There is still very slow discussion about membership; Anthere might be the best to comment on this. I for one would like to see it implemented. As for the Quarto, you can edit the versions on metabefore they are published on the wikimediafoundation site; see for instance WQ/3. +sj | Translate the Quarto |+ 12:31, 14 July 2005 (UTC)Reply
It would be helpful if Anthere could comment as well, but my view is that membership isn't likely to happen any time and should be removed from the bylaws. This draft of the bylaws removes all mention of membership and has been informally approved by the Board pending legal review. Angela 13:14, 14 July 2005 (UTC)Reply

We have lots of offers and no record of what is happening with any of them. How can this be solved? If the information needs to be private, should a private wiki be set up for that? Is OTRS sufficient?

  • Delegate the management of offers to someone other than Jimbo. -- Tim Starling 11:15, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Agreed, provided Jimbo agrees. We already have a grants wiki. Since hosting is a form of grant, sensitive issues can be discussed there. Danny 11:27, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
No, I don't agree. This is something that I do very well, and I am the person in the best position to continue doing this. All the hosting offers are responded to, when contact information is given to me directly. People should absolutely NOT try to handle negotiations directly, because this is very dysfunctional. --Jimbo Wales 09:44, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Jimbo is the only one with a record of all hosting offers. The same problem occurs with records of which trademark registrations are complete, and which domain names are owned. Tim Starling proposed today on IRC that hiring a secretary for Jimbo might help, since this recording of info is a basic administrative task. A private wiki might help, but yet another wiki could just be annoying unless we have combined recent changes etc. OTRS is not being used properly. A wiki might work better. Perhaps one which you can email to would help. Angela 12:19, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • A full-time or part-time person managing grants and partnerships should be hired soon. That person would send reports directly to the board about what they are doing. They would use common sense in deciding which decisions need prior approval based on precedent, and the board would have veto rights in any case.
I would say that keeping track of offers is exactly the kind of thing that OTRS is meant to handle, but there's no point in using it if everyone uses it differently. Since there are other questions about how to use OTRS as well (e.g. the board AT wikimedia address), I suggest a meta-meeting specifically about OTRS and board communications.
In that meeting, it could be decided how OTRS is to be used, and that decision could be formalized in a policy which is put on the wiki. One example solution would be to have a separate queue for hosting offers, where these are stored and kept open until they are dealt with.
A wiki would also be a possibility, but the advantage of OTRS is the one-click nature of moving an item from one queue to another, assuring that it would actually get done. Having an easy way to email content to a wiki page, perhaps using GPG for authentication, would be interesting. Thomas Gries (Wikinaut) is working on an e-mail-to-wiki interface, and we can wait and see what comes out of that, or we could specifically target that development.--Eloquence 02:55, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I do not see OTRS as a valid help to keep track of the state of a hosting offer. I tend to think (as well as for trademarks issue, domain names etc...) that a lot of this is indeed administrative work, and I indeed wonder if hiring a person to help would not avoid Jimbo being a bottle neck on this and allowing him (and us) to focus on just taking the decisions. The bottle neck issue often mentionned on technical issues is currently happening on those administrative tasks. Same for sending letters to thank big donators. Anthere 06:03, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
There is no bottleneck on hosting offers. To the contrary, it is an effort for me to keep these things going slowly enough. --09:44, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)

How much should be announced about hosting offers? How much needs to be kept quiet? How quiet? Who should be discussing the contracts?

  • I think nothing should be announced until the deal is secured. And rumours should be denied. Remember how annoyed the HP guy got when we announced his speculations? And we may well have offended Google too. -- Tim Starling 11:15, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • There is no single answer, as it depends on the offer, any conditions that come with the offer, the desire of the other party, the stage of negotiations, etc. Since contracts are involved, I would suggest establishing a legal committee to advise the board, and nominate Michael Snow or Villy to head it. Danny 12:25, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
A legal committee is good for a first approach to offers, and Michael and villy are definitely great for "first advice" but I believe firmly the Foundation should have a paid American lawyer (or any other nationality a contract might require depending on offers) to write out contracts. The companies we're dealing with have legal department about the size of our community... notafish }<';> 12:33, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Tend to support this. Anthere
  • Nothing should be publicly announced regarding hosting until contracts are signed. However, developers need to know about the offers since they're in the best place to advise on them. Angela 12:19, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Potential partners/hosts should be asked explicitly whether we can list them among our "potential partners and hosts". No information should be announced without the explicit understanding of all parties. +sj+ 12:23, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Fully agree with Tim - nothing mentioned at all until it's both final and they're happy for us to announce. James F. (talk) 17:30, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Agree with above, but depending on the nature of the offer, selected volunteers should know about it (e.g. server liaison).--Eloquence 03:00, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Trustees and selected volunteers (might be, developers, local chapters, legal counsellors) should know about it. Swear secret if needed :-) Anthere

What replies are being given to the many people and organizations offering servers or hosting?

  • I'm worried about whether replies are even being given to the many people and organizations offering servers or hosting. This needs to be decided on so people other than Jimbo can send replies. Angela

I have extensive correspondence with people who are giving us hosting offers. The only problem comes when people are making side-negotiations without including me. The key is not to delegate this away from me but to centralize it with me. --Jimbo Wales 09:44, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • I believe a person in each local chapter (and also in any country where the hosting offers originate) should be dedicated to the task and should relieve Jimbo when necessary, helping with the language and coordinating technically. notafish }<';> 12:36, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
This is exactly the problem now, actually. People are negotiating in various cases more or less on their own. All hosting offers should flow through me so that we can make a coherent response in a timely fashion. In six existing cases this is what is happening. --Jimbo Wales 09:44, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Let us make that clear ;). I mean relieve as in : discuss with you about the opportunity of one, or NOT and THEN handle the thing without you having to go back to it. Of course there needs to be centralisation at some point. notafish }<';> 14:48, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • Have a standard response about how partnerships can work and what areas we are specifically interested in (e.g. decentralizing Wikimedia Commons) until we have a framework within which we can accept such offers. By that I mean that we need to be clear about what we are willing to take, what we are willing to give, and how we are going to technically integrate whatever resources we acquire into our existing infrastructure. Building that framework should be on the agenda of the next board meeting.--Eloquence 03:00, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Do we want to allow databases outside the US? Should we only host squids elsewhere?

  • Yes, slave database servers are just a kind of cache, and they'll be necessary to make good use of donated hardware that we may or may not have coming our way. -- Tim Starling 11:15, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Yes, databases should be allowed outside the US, though I cannot comment on the technical aspects. Danny 11:27, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I have no opinion on whether we want to allow databases outside the US. We ought to set aside money for legal expenses though. Angela
  • Hosting databases in other countries certainly has a technical impact, but also a legal one. This has to be studied very carefully. notafish }<';> 12:39, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Only allow slave databases if we're sure on the legal aspects; I don't see it being very likely that master databases (longer term) would possibly be allowed, legally, however. James F. (talk) 17:30, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Do a trial like we did with the Squids. Also decentralize static media files from the Commons.--Eloquence 03:15, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I believe this should definately be considered, even if the non-US databases are only used for backup purposes. Pros and cons both to this idea. 04:11, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Are local chapters allowed to own servers?

  • Certainly, but with a stipulation that if these are funded by the international foundation (and not the local chapter), they are foundation property and would revert back to the foundation at the expense of the local chapter in the unlikely event of a fork. Danny 11:27, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • legally, either a chapter own a server, or the foundation. They cannot be owned by both at the same time. Ant
    • I don't think we've looked enough into the dis/advantages of local chapters owning servers. Angela 12:20, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Again, this has legal implications related to content, see above. notafish }<';> 12:40, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • No, this will almost certainly have legal problems. They can (obviously) donate to fund the servers and keep them running, though. James F. (talk) 17:30, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Possibly no, since it will bring legal problems. Could the Foundation apply their policies to a server owned by a local chapter, specially when this chapter isn't a part of the Foundation strictly legally? It should be considered much more carefully than a possibility to have a host server outside of the USA. --Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 01:28, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Only Squid proxies, and only after local legal review.--Eloquence 03:15, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • We need database servers outside of our current location. We are in the process of being given one. When you do not provide legal reasons why not. What is the point in raising it like a "no". GerardM 07:08, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)

We have no record of which trademark registrations are complete? Who has access to this information?

  • This should be clearly listed on a page in the Foundation website (and not meta). That page should be protected, so that only authorized individuals can change it. Danny 11:33, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • We should have at least one Wikimedian (preferably a group) tasked with keeping track of this information (also with corporate/non-profit/other status, URL registrations, registration with the postal service as a non-profit, &c.). +sj+ 12:25, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • AND this section should be just erradicated. This is a pasture for site squatters. notafish }<';> 12:44, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    Not necessarily. It would cost too much, and once we own the name, we have quite a strong protection against site squatters. Anthere 06:09, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Agree with sj about having someone who keeps track of all of this; I think it's worthwhile keeping tabs on possible other domains to grab (wiki{m|p}edia.eu, for example, would be a good one). James F. (talk) 17:37, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Has Wikinews been registered?

  • Damned if I know. Danny 11:33, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • According to the Trademarks, there is an active Wikinews trademark application, but like the mark for Wikipedia it has not been granted yet. -- IlyaHaykinson 22:15, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • The application has been done. Perhaps 2 or 3 months ago if I remember well (not sure though). Anthere 17:27, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Lots of people want to license the logo. Should we let them use it? Can we hire a lawyer to write a contract for this? Do we want to charge them for logo use? A real amount or a token amount? A percentage of their profits? Do we let anyone sell Wikireaders with our logos on?

  • You should obtain advice from an expert. -- Tim Starling 11:15, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • That would depend on who the people are. If they are planning to earn a profit from our logo, then they should pay some percentage of the profits to us. However, I am more worried about misrepresenting the Wikimedia Foundation and its objectives under the logo than raising profits with the help of the logo. The use of the logo is an impimatur and stamp of approval. If people sell Wikireaders with our logo, and the reader contains problematic information, the likelihood is that we will be sued, so I would say that only authorized individuals can sell Wikireaders with our logo. As Tim wisely said, expert advise is needed, considering that laws regarding this may be different from country to country. Danny 11:33, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I think we should get a lawyer to write a contract regarding licensing the logo. We should encourage people to donate to the foundation/chapters in return, but not expect any fixed amount. Angela 12:19, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • We should have a lawyer on retainer for this kind of advice. We shouldn't charge anything for partners/hosts to link to us via a button or banner. +sj+ 12:25, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Yes, get counsel, but try to get a good pro bono lawyer if at all possible. A permanently hired lawyer is going to be expensive. James F. (talk) 17:37, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Decide on a case-by-case basis if we approve of an effort or not. I generally don't think that we should charge for logo use if we approve of it, and we should not allow it if we disapprove (perhaps, as a middle ground, a semi-official "Using content from Wikipedia" logo could be offered)--Eloquence 03:15, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Should be decided individually and it should be encouraged that donations or a part of profit go to the foundation. I started a draft on Logo and trademark policy. --Elian 04:12, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)

When will the fundraising drive money be spent? What on? Should this be documented before it happens?

  • My understanding was that it was already earmarked for servers and other routine expenses. It should be used for that and that alone, with a certain percentage (10-15 % or alternately, the excess) be placed in a high interest "emergency fund" account serving as the basis of an endowment fund. Danny 11:42, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • The budget specifies how much can be spent on hardware. I think it would be useful for the developer committee to advise on which servers need buying, and these should be ordered as soon as possible. This seems to happen too slowly. Angela 12:19, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Allocations of the Q1 budget should be detailed, if not spent, this quarter. Yes, it should be documented first: The draft budget passed earlier in Q1 should be elaborated upon. +sj+ 12:31, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Allocate some money for contract-based development of necessary features.--Eloquence 03:26, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Moneys were allocated for development projects, but not specified beyond that. +sj+

We have grant money for Wikispecies. What will happen with that money?

  • Hire programmers and have them write a decent UI. -- Tim Starling 11:15, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • It should be used exclusively for what it was earmarked. This can mean writing a decent UI, publicity, or some server costs, based on the anticipated percentage of space taken by Wikispecies of all servers. Danny 11:42, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I think we should spend that money on development tasks. This is difficult to do if there is no knowledgeable committee wanting to advise on this, and willing to set specifications. Angela 12:19, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Yes, Wikispecies needs specific functionality like Wikidata. Since I'm working on Wikidata for KennisNet, I'd be happy to give a more detailed report about what needs to be done specifically for Wikispecies after I'm finished at the next board meeting.--Eloquence 03:26, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • A grant has been given by Kennisnet for programming Wikidata and Ultimate Wiktionary. This makes it possible to get us a proper database for Wikispecies. I propose that we set aside money for the development of Wikispecies and further tweaking of Wikidata. I have experience with taxonominal databases and I can create a database layout for Wikispecies but I need developer support to implement this. GerardM 00:30, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Little money is spent on promotion. Should it be more? In what way? Do we need an official PR committee?

  • I can't see the point of it personally. I know other people have different opinions. -- Tim Starling 11:30, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I think promotion is important. Furthermore, I think promotion should take place in several languages, to respond to various local needs, so a single committee may not be adequate. Promotion involves printing costs for fliers, etc. A single PR coordinator should be appointed, preferably someone who can speak English, French, and German. Elian is an excellent candidate. Aphaia should be asked to assist. Danny 11:42, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Yes, it should be more. We should have a program for college campus representatives, an explicit PR budget for events that Wikipedians will be present at in force, and support for Wikipedians to pay for tables at events and conferences (and printing related collateral). We could start with an unofficial PR committee, by having prominent community members support the formation of such a thing. +sj+ 12:31, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Definitely more. I answer on this section because it is what I know best, but I know for a fact that ANY kind of non-profit organisation reserves a percentage (5 to 10%) of donations for structural organisation (this would include a secretary for Jimbo, money for promotion, hiring a grants coordinator etc.). We have to really think about this and ways to go "professional". But then, that's my opinion. notafish }<';> 13:13, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • IMHO spending money on promotion seems foolish when we're having trouble keeping up with demand. Poor performance of the servers is negative publicity, and increasing demand will exacerbate that. --brion 02:12, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Promotion is about understanding what we do, and increasing name recognition, more than about increasing demand. We should not wait for perfect performance to improve our communication about what we do. +sj+
    • Targeted promotion and the means to do it is also a good way to make ourselves known to the right people, those who would find it rewarding to contribute with donations to the technical side of things and who in the end make the project viable technically. We have a great project, but some sponsors won't see it if we don't communicate well, and don't offer them the visibility they need in return. We might have a great project, but if we can't offer visibility, we can't offer anything to potential sponsors. Communication is not about taking money from where it is needed to a place where it is not, it is about making the best of the money we have to make more money come in. notafish }<';> 11:45, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Not right now (let's scale a bit better first), but an outreach program to educational institutions seems like a worthy effort at any time; specifically, 1) tutoring educators about use of Wikipedia, 2) getting CS departments to have their students work on MediaWiki-related projects.--Eloquence 03:26, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Actually, the whole CS area is relatively well fleshed out. Pretty much any other dept would be a more use to us if we are focusing on developing in a balanced manner when we can. R3m0t 09:51, Mar 25, 2005 (UTC)
  • I partly agree with brion. However, in promotion a lot can be reached with small amounts of money. For example, the whole costs for the last three wikimedia presentations on events (FOSDEM 2005, Cebit 2005 and Leipziger Buchmesse 2005) for the foundation were about 500 Euros (for leaflets and posters which we can reuse for the next events). The rest, booths & entrance fees for the wikipedians were sponsored. Travel tickets and accomodation were paid by the people themselves (okay for one event, but in the future there may be support from the foundation needed). Outcomes: Lots of useful contacts, press interviews, stronger bonds to other projects in the open source world (kde, gentoo, debian, mozilla, openoffice) and a lot of normal people got insights in how wikipedia actually works. The value of this stuff is hard to rate, because we never can say what we get out of it (an enthusiastic new developer/admin? a company with a hosting offer? an old professor contributing great articles? a child help organization willing to sponsor a wikikids? a lawyer helping us pro bono? etc.pp.). So: don't waste money on promotion, but let's realize things which are low cost. --Elian 03:40, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I do not really agree with Brion. Before the three presentations Elian mentions above, I had the opportunity to go to TIC21, and gave leaflets to people over there. I felt these leaflets made a difference. Jimbo agreed to reimburse these expenses, though I have not asked yet. I think most events such as these ones are important for our visibility and unfortunately, this costs money for those doing the promotion. And those are actually not so numerous, which means a rather serious expense for them in the end. While it is not so high a cost in comparison to just one new server. I would say "keep it low, but give it a budget". Anthere
  • agree with brion. i don't see any point in promotion at the moment: we have quite enough traffic and visitors and it's increasing. once we have a more stable technical foundation it could be considered, but it seems to be just quickening something that'll happen anyway, for no reason. kate.


Are grants being organized well enough? Should we hire a professional grants coordinator?

  • Given my involvement with Grants, I want to withhold answering, but I would not object to hiring a full-time grants coordinator, provided that a certain amount of money was brought in. Danny 11:42, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Danny, Sj, and others have been doing a great job, as evidenced by the grants we've received, but I strongly feel that we need to hire a professional grants coordinator to really make this take off. Angela 12:19, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Grants have been handled behind the scenes, without input or support from the broader community. There are many aspects of grant pursuit which do not need to be secret, and the community has a great deal of combined experience with grants. There was an enthusiastic community response last summer when the first NEH grant was being pursued; since then, there has been no public request for help in identifying or pursuing grants. A professional grants coordinator might be useful, but would not address this basic situation. +sj+ 12:31, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Yes, we need a full-time grants coordinator who will work with the community in making things happen.--Eloquence 03:26, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • We need community coordinators who can work with the community to help it develop its potential, including realizing its latent experience with grants and fundraising. We could also use advice from professional grants coordinators in related fields. It's not clear to me that we woudl benefit from a full-time professional acting as the arbiter of and single bottleneck for this task -- note, for instance, the widespread community and communication infrastructure that needs to be built, outside of researching and applying for grants, before we can comfortably apply for and fulfill the demands of any large grant. +sj+
  • When you apply for a grant, you express what you will do with the money. It means that you obligate yourself to do certain things in a certain way. This work needs to be done and it needs to be audited. This in itself is important because it enables to have follow up grants. It is however work. GerardM
  • We don't need a full time paid grants admin, IMO. All we need is a per diem grants consultant to put us on the right track for each grant. Volunteer work will carry us through the rest of the way. --Daniel Mayer 15:40, 14 May 2005 (UTC)Reply


Shall we revive the developer payment task? Shall we hire a programmer in a more traditional way?

  • On a slightly different but related issue: create a portal that allows the community to pay one another to produce such tasks; cf. Donations:Putting your money where your mouth is. The foundation, Sheldon Rampton, others could all post and aggregate 'bounties' that way. +sj+ 12:27, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Yes, revive it, you shouldn't consider my refusal to be the end of the matter. Hiring someone in the traditional way sounds like a very good idea. -- Tim Starling 13:57, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Yes, revive; not sure about hiring a programmer "traditionally", rather a lot of work and overhead... James F. (talk) 17:34, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Hiring a programmer sounds a good idea> It could bring more assurance to development activity. Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 01:20, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Speaking generally, the Foundation is contracting me to work on some specific tasks outside of main wiki dev work (so far mainly a page update distribution service which will bring some income to the Foundation). The membership thing specifically is not currently my assignment, however. --brion 02:01, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Yes, but clarify what data needs to be secure, and from whom (see Tim's and my e-mails on the security issues), then I'll be happy to help with specifying the task properly.--Eloquence 03:18, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)

We currently have no developer liaison to decide what to buy. Do we need one? Is the developer committee working? Shall we revive the committee or find an alternative?

  • I was never qualified to decide what to buy anyway, I'd rather defer to JamesDay in most cases. He's fairly well on top of this sort of thing, you can give him an official title if you think it would make him happy. -- Tim Starling 11:30, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    I think it should be read, a developer liaison, so that the board can decide what to buy (according to wishes expressed by developers and reported by the liaison). Anthere 05:27, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • The developer committee should be encouraged and empowered to work on development priorities and tentative development calendars. It doesn't seem to have a strong identity yet. +sj+ 12:37, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • No opinion. Danny 11:44, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • There really isn't an organized developer committee per se. A number of us hang on IRC regularly and hash issues out on a more or less consensus basis. As we have different skill sets, some peoples' opinions will tend to have more weight in decisions than others; for instance on server hardware issues I'd tend to defer to James, on network & switch issues I'd tend to defer to Kate. --brion 02:25, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Developer committee always was a fictional entity. Buying decisions should be made by a server liaison. Ultimately, I believe MediaWiki should be officially promoted as a Wikimedia project, ideally with Brion as a full-time employee responsible for release management. In case of conflicts, developers who have actively contributed code could be allowed to vote, but I don't see the need for a separate committee as such.--Eloquence 03:29, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • no reason to have an appointed person to handle this. it can be agreed by consensus and a summary given to jwales by whoever wants to do it. kate.
    • I asked for a needs/wants/wish list and never got it. Somebody needs to have the responsibility to create such a list before we have a fund drive. This was a common complaint about the last fund drive and I will not coordinate any future fund drive without such a list. --Daniel Mayer 15:47, 14 May 2005 (UTC)Reply

Do we need a separate server liaison in addition to, or instead of, the developer liaison?

  • We need both a developer liaison and a server liaison, both backed up by a committee, formally or informally, with the power to make and implement decisions. If the board are not spending the money, we should make it someone's role to advise on that and make sure it happens. Angela 12:19, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Having both software and hardware liaisons makes sense. In unusual cases, one person might be both, but the roles are definitely distinct. I'm not sure it is necessary for either role to be filled by a single person. +sj+ 12:37, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Yes.--Eloquence 03:29, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • no. kate.
  • Yes. A Chief Technical Officer may be good to have as well. --Daniel Mayer 15:47, 14 May 2005 (UTC)Reply

Do we need someone with a role of prioritizing development who tells the board what to spend the money on?

  • This should be done by negotiation between the paid developers and the Board. The Board should mostly set its own priorities, but as I said previously, they should try not to step on any volunteer toes. -- Tim Starling 11:30, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • This is a consultative position under the Board, not a position that establishes policy. Since it involves money, I believe that at least two opinions should generally be given, so that the Board can weigh the pros and cons of each. In that case, two people should be appointed. Danny 11:44, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • More important than choosing one or two people to receive the honor of becoming another bottleneck (which may nevertheless be useful), is encouraging all devs to express themselves and to think more frequently in terms of prioritization; and to create, publicize, and collaborate on their own preferred priority-list. We currently have a vague form of this via the voting feature in bugzilla; we can do better. +sj+ 12:37, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • The question is about what paid devs do, not all devs. There's no priority list for volunteer developers, we all just drift to wherever our motivation takes us, and that may change from day to day. Bugzilla voting has nothing to do with developer priorities. You've got very little chance of getting anyone to adhere to more formal practices. To use ESR's analogy, it's like herding cats. This is why if the Board wants to get anything in particular done, it needs to hire people. -- Tim Starling 13:57, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
      • That's quite a cynical perspective for someone who has observed the emergence of shared encyclopedia standards and priorities in a wholly volunteer community... having been involved with one or two volunteer software projects that managed schedules and priority lists, and a company with zero volunteers that utterly failed to do the same, I can vouch that hiring people is neither necessary nor sufficient to "get anything in particular done," or to produce an agreeable priority list. +sj+
  • Absolutely, unless the board is expanded and a board member is appointed to that task. Second opinion would be that of the current MediaWiki release manager, who can veto all code going in. Certainly, it is utterly impossible for the current board, or Jimbo alone, to make decisions within a reasonable amount of time about development priorities within a 150,000 LOC project that is used by hundreds of websites.--Eloquence 03:29, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • don't understand the question. does it mean "who tells the board what to pay developers to do"? kate.
    • It's more than that. It's also advising the board on how much they should expect to pay for things, whether the tasks they're setting are possible, creating specifications for those tasks, and stating what the priorities should be. Angela 01:43, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

In which of these places are communication problems occurring? How can they be solved?

  • A) Board -> developers/sysadmins
    • Not good enough considering there were complaints that they didn't know about the Google offer in advance. Angela
      • problem here was that we weren't allowed to know because of an NDA. obviously outside of the board's control, but an appointed "employee" to handle cases like this is probably a good idea. kate.
  • B) Developers/sysadmins -> board
    • Doesn't happen enough. Usually only devs->Jimbo. Is this sufficient? Angela
      • he handles most of it so far, so yes. if other people start taking some of the load off this may need to be rethought. another mailing list is probably a good idea. kate.
  • C) Board -> community
    • To some small degree. The relationship between the Board and the community should be clarified further since many of the active Board members and the people surrounding them are less known today, because they do not appear as frequently as contributors in the main project namespaces. Danny 11:47, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • We need global message notification and translation. Angela
    • Agreed with Danny. I bet people on the most of projects, though they are small in number, don't know about the Board. I recommend our two che`res representatives to have their own user page on some major projects. --Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 02:03, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
      • I fear this is not sufficient; I think Angela and I have an account on most projects now, but that does not make people realise they can contact us... plus there is no central message notification :-( Danny's proposition to revive the embassy seems a good move to me. Anthere
  • D) Community -> board
    • A "contact us" link in the sidebar is needed as an absolute minimum. Angela
      I am not sure. Look, we already have it hard to answer meta questions. If we do so, we need a centralised page to receive all messages, and help to answer them as well. Which exclude otrs... Anthere
      How about "contact us" -> "a special page with mail form" -> a certain address like community-to-board or directly board at gmail.com ? Perhaps tech people can provide you more cunning and feasible ways. --Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 07:14, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Community members often don't know how to express themselves so that they are heard, or feel they are in no position to make suggestions. Which may be true, since they often don't know what the board is thinking/up to. (A more regular letter from the board would be nice.) It would be great if the board had regular meetings once a month, that could be relied on and scheduled around. +sj++sj+
    • Good suggestion. I prefer to add the board meeting would be better to switch the time ... UTC 20 is almost unavailable in the far east there are two major communities (for me, it is 4 a.m...)--Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 02:03, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • E) Communication within the board
    • Variable. Depends whether we're on IRC at the same time. Angela
    • It would be great if the board had frequent short meetings, to run down quick lists of routine issues. +sj+
    • The board should have weekly meetings. I'll try to extract a commitment to do this from candidates in the next election. -- Tim Starling 13:57, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Frequent, regular meetings are needed, even 15 minutes every week. They could manage further things in advance or after the meeting by other means like e-mail. --Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 02:03, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Currently unsufficient. In good part due to Jimbo being away so often. Scheduling a meeting per week will not change this. In the other part due to me having a job. Scheduling a meeting a week will not change this. I am a bit worried of what will happen if next board is on three continents. A meeting does not make sense if no time is even found to read the mails. I am currently worried about the whole topic. It might help that each board member takes more the responsability of a whole topic, and only report on major points. Anthere
  • F) Foundation <-> Local associations
    • There is currently no formal way of contacts. At least people in the german association complain that all news run through personal rather than official channels. Invite people from the local associations as consulting members to the board meetings, state what you want to know of what's happening in the local associations. --Elian 12:02, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • A more formal involvement between chapters and the board is needed. Angela
    • Local chapter issues being discussed on a private wiki does not really help getting informe or getting involved. Anthere
  • G) Foundation <-> external contacts
    • Current mail system is a mess, too much unimportant stuff filling up the board queue in otrs (at least judging from what ends up in info-en), too much workload on too few people. Procedures need to be reformed. --Elian 12:02, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • H) Community -> developers/sysadmins
    • This seems ok to me, but I may have a biased view since I'm always on IRC, where communication with developers is easiest. Angela
    • Community members don't always feel empowered to make suggestions or to help fix documentation or code; they're unsure how to do this, and often don't get much response when they ping a tech list or post an idea in the wrong place on-wiki. Well-meaning but blunt members like av riette make a few active suggestions and feel rejected. +sj+ 12:45, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Personally I am satisfied. Developers are available always on IRC and they are ready to help. But at the same time I am aware the communities which has no developer as their active member tend to think the developers are "people in another world"; it would be a good idea the community has un/official contacts to the developers. Supposingly ambassadors could be good candidate for such coordination. --Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 02:03, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • users make suggestions/report bugs and then get annoyed when they aren't fixed. this doesn't help to create a friendly atmosphere between the two groups. kate.
  • I) Developers/sysadmins -> community
    • Ad-hoc with some hiccups. The en: Arbitration Committee and the devs have had some miscommunications of late, though people on both sides are working to patch up disagreements (and help others Assume Good Faith) - David Gerard 11:53, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • lots of members of the community are complaining about not getting good information in case of server problems. --Elian 12:02, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
      • do they want us to tell them what happens in detail every time, or try to fix it? recently i've been trying to inform the mailing lists of major outages but TBH, we already tell people a lot more information about problems than most websites. kate.
    • Complaints happen when major new versions of the software are released. I'm not convinced it's practical to improve this in any major way. Angela
    • There should be better daily records of what is happening to the servers and the software, in ways that the board and other community members can quickly scan (this could perhaps be done by a non-developer). Even a copy of the dev-wiki "news" file on meta would be an improvement. +sj+
      • We try to keep the admin log on http://wp.wikidev.net/ up to date, though it might be a little too hyper-technical; they're mainly notes to the other devs for reference. (Site down at the moment, sigh...) --brion 02:41, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
      • don't see the point of this. if people want to know what's happening they can read the commits list and admin log. no point duplicating it. kate.
    • This was easier back when there were just a small number of active Wikipedias and no other projects. Make an announcement on the Village Pump and Recent Changes, and everybody saw it. Now we have literally several hundred wikis, dozens of them active. It's hard to announce things in an organized fashion. We've got gwicke's wikidev wiki, we've got an intermittently used LiveJournal community, and we've got a million mailing lists... too many channels for communication. :) --brion 02:41, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
      • Anthere once chastised me for only announcing something in 3 places, and literally listed 7 or 8 places where we should copy our announcements to. Frankly I'd rather announce nothing at all and let the users work it out for themselves than spend more time announcing changes than actually performing them. I've found, making no announcements at all avoids the criticism that we're biased towards one community or another. I'm exaggerating though, what happens in practice is that announcements are made on the technical forums, and technically-minded editors relay the information by responding to queries within their own communities. -- Tim Starling 04:06, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
        • Sigh. This is true, but when no one is relaying the information in the local community, then the blame will go on developers :-) Anthere
  • J) Communication within the development team
    • From an outsider's point of view, this seems to be good. Angela
  • K) Devs/sysadmins <-> external contacts
    • Is there a good record of this via otrs? If not, more of this contact should go through such a shared system. +sj+
      • developers don't use otrs and it's not a particuarly good medium for ongoing communications. kate.
  • L) Communication within and between communities
    • Yes. I think that the system of embassies should be reinvigorated. Danny 11:47, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • I agree. --Elian 12:02, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Is Meta sufficient for this? Angela
      • Perhaps no; I communicate my friends who are involved into other wikis but those contacts are personal; both of us don't represent a certain community and perhaps both of us don't take the result of this communication to the community in an apparent way. --Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 02:03, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • If we make being an ambassador more demanding, more visible, and more appealing, I think activity and interest in the embassies will increase dramatically. It is an excellent position for people who want to be more involved in their communities. +sj+
      • Letting every project elect an ambassador (and one substitute in case the first is on holiday) should give the post more prominence and value. --Elian 13:20, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
      • Then have a Wikicouncil of elected ambassadors hold meetings to try and solve common or specific problems by exchange of best practices. We're too "language-particular", I'm telling ya. And since there would be one ambassador per language, no wiki would be under- or over-represented :) notafish }<';> 13:56, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
        • A question: an ambassador would represent his or her community. But for what or who? For the Foundation, other communities or just for foreign lang speaking users on their own community? Or we are better to distinguish the Wikimedia Embassy and local embassies which care for domestic matters mainly? --Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 02:03, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
        • I don't know if Elian had that in mind, but the idea would be that an ambassador would be a representative of his/her community on a cross-project basis. They would keep their language community informed of what is happening in other languages communities or on a "Wikimedia projects" basis, and vice versa, keep the other projects informed of what is going on in their own. This has, imo, nothing to do with welcoming foreign language speakers in their community. Maybe then ambassador is not the right word, and Wikimedia liaison (or something) would be a better one. notafish }<';> 11:55, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)

General thoughts[edit]

IMHO the main problem for many of the topics above is that there is no established way to communicate non-public issues between the 3 board members and the perhaps 20-30 people who are willing and able to help (and hopefully trusted by the board). At the moment these people are involved by the board from time to time (via IRC and/or email). But this seems not to be enough to work effective (for both sides).

My idea is to involve these people deeper into the daily work of the foundation. Set up a internal wiki to document everything which is important/complex/interesting enough to inform or talk about or to document it. Wikimedia Germany has such a wiki (accessible only for the board members, but we are 10 people in the board, not only 3) and it works fine.

An overview about our communication tools:

  • OTRS for answering mails. If a mail is too important/complex to be answered by one person, it is copied to the private wiki to work together on it
  • private wiki to work collaboratively and to document things (and a little bit for discussion)
  • private mailing list for internal discussions/announcements
  • private IRC-Channel for meetings
  • a blog to spread news (worked out in the private wiki)

Of course the private wiki causes some work for updating it, but it's worth. You don't have to answer the same questions every day and you get much more back than you give away - you should know this principle ;-) -- Arne (akl) 15:21, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)


  • Given the amount of responsibilities and the funds involved, I think we should consider the creation of certain limited fulltime positions. It is unfair to depend on volunteers to cover all of these things, both to the volunteers themselves and to the donors, who may see pet projects and issues fall through the cracks, not out of malice, but because of the immediate needs and demands of non-Wiki life. Danny 11:51, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I agree, and this should be addressed with what I proposed earlier, a percentage of the donations devoted to structural organisation. notafish }<';> 13:19, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Strongly agreed; responsible persons who will work fulltime to care for development, grants, public relations and so on. It is not a good idea depend on volunteers exceedly because of things Danny mentioned on the above. --Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 02:07, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Agreed. This is more and more needed as the projects grow. Yann 10:44, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • There may be a few aspects of structural organisation which would benefit from central organization by one or two full-time people. However, I often see projects and issues falling through the cracks for lack of transparency, more than for lack of volunteer time or interest. There are deep issues of community focus and coordination, which will not necessarily be resolved by hiring people to tackle 'development, grants, public relations and so on,' and which may not even lend themselves easily to resolution by one or two privileged overseers. On the other hand, a successful push to identify and develop subcommunities around each of these key areas, might have long-lasting benefits. We as a community have not yet announced that these particular areas were in serious need of organization. +sj+ 11:56, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I would suggest that a Grants coordinator, PR coordinator and secretary for Jimbo is too much of an investment at this point. It would make more sense to provide payments to existing volunteers who are providing professional services beyond the call of duty. The bottleneck at the moment is the development of the media-wiki software; so that is where money should really be spent. However, I would suggest it would be useful to have a multi-lingual coordinator who can handle the basic administration of Wikipedia freeing up the board members and volunteers for more interesting work e.g. telephone contact, part-time secretary, expenses tracking, assistance with grants, PR coordination. To be frank there is no end of tasks they could pursue. This would be a person who is always avaliable and the lower level stuff could be coordinated through. They could then filter and report to Jimbo. The multi-lingual aspect is crucially important given we are an international organisation. This wouldn't be a low level position, we would want a university graduate who wants some great work experience and then pile on as much responsibility as they can take. Any Wikipedians who fit that description in Florida? :ChrisG 16:17, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Specific issues[edit]

New project proposals[edit]

Junior Wikipedia[edit]

I note with interest (from the October 16th meeting) that a grant has been award to start a Junior 'pedia. This topic has been of interest to me for some time (though my proposals have been been anything more than rambling see e.g. en:User:Pcb21/WP_for_kids). Thus when the time comes for community input on this, I would be grateful if a member of the board could let me know. Thanks. en:User:Pcb21.

Danny is currently co-ordinating this, so I will let him know you're interested. Angela 00:52, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Would the board be able to discuss a seperate site for Wikijunior, possibly wikijunior.org, with its own language subdomains. It would be where the public views the Wikijunior content, while Wikibooks would still be the developing ground. -- user:zanimum

Thanks, I see it's been scheduled. -- user:zanimum
See Talk:Wikijunior#New domain name for Wikijunior. Angela 19:22, 30 September 2005 (UTC)Reply


English Wikiversity is a bit of a hot potato at the moment, but I'm wondering if it is a current board issue or does the initiative rest with developers? It seems like it awaits a transwiki to en.wikiversity.org, which needs to be provided. Sorry if I'm overloading an already substantial agenda, but some people on Wikibooks are pretty worked up over it. See wikibooks:Wikibooks:Votes_for_deletion/Wikiversity and Proposals_for_new_projects#Wikiversity. Cormaggio 18:21, 16 August 2005 (UTC)Reply

Ok, this has already been addressed [2]. But I suppose my deeper question is: does the board request a new project be set up or is this the community's prerogative or the developers'? Cormaggio 19:45, 16 August 2005 (UTC)Reply
I think it needs a community vote in the same way Wikinews had. Angela 19:46, 5 September 2005 (UTC)Reply

English Wikiversity is a bit of a hot potato at the moment, but I'm wondering if it is a current board issue or does the initiative rest with developers? It seems like it awaits a transwiki to en.wikiversity.org, which needs to be provided. Sorry if I'm overloading an already substantial agenda, but some people on Wikibooks are pretty worked up over it. See wikibooks:Wikibooks:Votes_for_deletion/Wikiversity and Proposals_for_new_projects#Wikiversity. Cormaggio 18:21, 16 August 2005 (UTC)Reply

Ok, this has already been addressed [3]. But I suppose my deeper question is: does the board request a new project be set up or is this the community's prerogative or the developers'? Cormaggio 19:45, 16 August 2005 (UTC)Reply

I'm looking for information about the fate of the Wikiversity proposal which was on the agenda for the Nov. 13 Board meeting. Any help gratefully appreciated! en:User:Physchim62 - Physchim62 14:04, 24 November 2005 (UTC)Reply

The Wikiversity crew that is working almost feverishly on Wikibooks is justifiably interested in what is going on with the Wikiversity proposal. Some work has been done on trying to modify the proposal at least according to the short stub of a comment on http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Meetings/November_13%2C_2005 where the decision to turn down the request is listed. There are some questions as to the intention of the board and to really understand what the limitations are that the board wants to put into the proposal. I would certainly like to see this issue brought up for review again by the board, especially with the revised proposal that currently exists at Wikiversity/Modified project proposal that is nearing a more final form. Quite a bit of effort has gone into this revised proposal and it deserves some sort of review by the board. --Roberth 21:00, 24 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

Tech requests[edit]

Latin numerals at ml[edit]


Request by Bijee
Why is that a board issue? Is it even controversial? Can't a bug be filed at MediaZilla: for it? Angela 05:26, 3 Jul 2005 (UTC)

implementing group-specific access control[edit]

there's been talk of making it impossible to see the titles of pages you're not allowed to read. that's totally never going to happen

I do not think it is should be a huge problem. If something really needs to be private, we can put a non obvious title to the page Anthere

would pages be unprotected by default, or readable by no one? or readable by some people?

they should be unprotected by default. I do not even think that any page should be protected, except if we run into an edit war :-) The idea is that a set of pages should be readable by a group of people, and this group only. Imagine for example 4 groups. Group press. Group grants. Group chapter. Group finance. Some people may belong to one group, or to more group. A given page may be readable by one group or two groups or more. For example, the budget page associated to a grant request could be visible by the Group finance, or the Group Grants. Not by the Group press, nor the Group chapters; Once a person belongs to a Group, she may see all the pages readable by this group.Anthere 14:05, 27 August 2005 (UTC)Reply
I think there is a misunderstanding here. Unprotected in the question means: unreadable, not protected in the existing sense. But then Anthere explains it well. Pages should be readable by all by default and then can be put to be read by one or many groups. As soon as they are affected to a group, they're unreadable by any other group that hasn't been allowed. notafish }<';> 14:13, 27 August 2005 (UTC)Reply
Correct. Depending on how it can be implemented, pages are visible by all, or only by groups. Anthere

who's allowed to create new pages? anyone? or only sysops?

Anyone. The creator would declare the page created in a certain category, Press (to be visible by Group Press) and/or chapter (to be visible by Group Chapter) etc... Anthere 14:05, 27 August 2005 (UTC)Reply

can sysops see all pages or they, too only in their groups?

any editor, whether sysop or non sysop can only see pages belonging to a group he belongs to. I think that everyone on this wiki is trusted enough to be able to delete or protect a page wisely. So, ultimately, we could even say anyone could be sysop. However, privacy is privacy. If an information must be shared only by one group, it must be visible only by this group. No matter the sysop status. Anthere 14:05, 27 August 2005 (UTC)Reply

Ryo seemed to imply that he wanted a page owner scheme, like in WakkaWiki where anyone can create pages, and the page creator becomes the owner like in unix filesystems too, I guess you have some kind of site-wide default permission set, but the owner can modify the permissions of the page

I disagree with this view. We should not see ourselves as owner of a page, but as members of a group. Anthere 14:05, 27 August 2005 (UTC)Reply

More reliable and faster system[edit]


During the last months, 3 new projects were created: Wikispecies, Commons and Wikinews. These are welcome, specially Commons was a long awaited system. But we should now put our priority to have a site much more reliable and faster. Wikibooks could be use by professionals, but cannot since the site is too slow during the day for a normal work. Also I am refraining from doing any promotion for the projects. I will do 2 workshops on Wikipedia on January 13th and 14th, and I am afraid that the site is too slow to conduct these workshops. Yann 19:57, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Dedicated server for History Flow et al.[edit]

In a lecture given to Microsoft Research, MIT Media Lab student Fernanda Viegas mentions that she was, at some point, in talk with Mediawiki developers regarding a server dedicated to Historyflow usage. Having been some two years since the software was released, I wanted to encourage the board to again enter these talks. There have also been other projects released lately towards the aim of animating Wikipedia histories. Perhaps an official stance towards these tools would be beneficial to requesting that they not be released in the first place, as was done with History Flow. Because of this, a valuable research tool has gone unused for the last two years. Although it is possible to create minimal History Flow documents manually (with python for example), they are not nearly as feature rich as the plugin represented in Viegas' lecture. --Alterego 03:42, Jul 3, 2005 (UTC)

With all the new servers expected from Yahoo, I don't see why this would be a problem. Alternatively, it might be something one of the chapters wants to support by having a server for that. Angela 05:26, 3 Jul 2005 (UTC)
Not having watched the video, I'm guessing that the discussion in question actually took place this past spring; in February. I was there, and the people still at IBM working on the project (who just released the public history-flow tool in April) had no knowledge of any earlier discussions of a dedicated server; however it did come up at the time. The outcome of this discussion was that a dedicated server would be a great thing; and by having such a server, it would not be too much of a load on the rest of the cluster. In fact, we talked about pre-generating little snapshots of the history of a page, which could be visible as thumbnails from the article page directly... and whether or not this would be useful. If you get in touch with the people at IBM Watson, try talking to Jonathan Feinberg; he and Martin W. are the one who expressed recent interest. +sj | Translate the Quarto |+ 09:11, 3 Jul 2005 (UTC)
Has anything happened on this recently? It's in the same ballpark as the project I'm working on (which is a fine-grained stats service). User:JeremyDunck 10 Oct 2005
Wikimedia Deutschland is currently working on the launch of a dedicated tool server -- Arne (akl) 13:31, 11 October 2005 (UTC)Reply

Chapter issues[edit]

Wikimedia Poland bylaws[edit]

Translation and communication meeting
  • Accepting the Wikimedia Poland bylaws

This meeting has been moved since not clearly planned and described. Still on the agenda, accepting the Wikimedia Poland bylaws. Could this be organised by mail ? Anthere 07:25, 4 September 2005 (UTC)Reply

Discussion on pl.wikimedia.org seems to be working best for now. Angela 19:50, 5 September 2005 (UTC)Reply

Language support and requests[edit]

Artificial languages[edit]

An Dispute if a certain artificial language, like esperanto or Klingon could be a letigimate Wikimeda language rises frequently. Once we talked on that Klingon Wikipedia should be closed. I think now the time is riped to determine if it is or not on the board descretion and to close this dispute (here should devide international auxiliary languages like Interlingua or esperanto and other conlangs including fictional languages [mainly created for a fictional story's taste or just conlangers' hobby like Klingon or Sindalin]. --Aphaia | Translate Election | ++ 05:45, 11 May 2005 (UTC)Reply

We discussed this today but it was unclear whether this needed to be a board decision. A vote might be held sometime after September. Angela 23:05, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Kannada funding[edit]

H P Nadig has sent an email to say a meetup is being planned for all contributors to Kannada wikipedia in Bangalore. The idea is to invite the press (significantly the Kannada Language press folks) to the event to generate some publicity to the kn wiki and push the momentum on kn wiki to a higher degree. He would like to know if funding is possible for this event.

They would require around $400:

  • $180 - venue
  • $70 to hire projector
  • $70 - snacks & stuff
  • $70 - parchments for press guys.

Angela 19:50, 5 September 2005 (UTC)Reply

whose venue would these 180 be for ? Anthere 20:12, 5 September 2005 (UTC)Reply

Chinese Wikinews[edit]

Chinese Wikinews should be on the agenda (see recent discussion on the Foundation-l mailing list), along with the general policy question of whether threats of censorship should ever be allowed to interfere with how Wikimedia projects are run.

This policy issue - as well as the practical matter of indefinitely denying something of undeniable use and value to the Chinese users who requested it and met all the requirements - is far more important than trivial issues like Klingon (see above), or even more serious issues like personnel and funds. Rather, it goes right to the guts of what Wikimedia stands for: "Imagine a world in which every single person is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." - No, in the case of Chinese Wikinews that's not what we're doing, and it is a shame. This censorship issue has to be dealt with seriously and soon if we really stand for what that quote says. Dovi 20:43, 11 May 2005 (UTC)Reply

This was on the agenda for today, but Jimmy wasn't present, so it has been postponed to the next meeting, which will probably be next month. Angela 23:05, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Wiki Council / local arbcoms[edit]

Yesterday there was a talk about arbitration committees and the idea of a Wiki Council, regarding the current situation on several Wikipedias (mainly related to troll actions and sysop abuse). Sadly, setting up an arbitration committee is a bit harder on different language versions (apart from the languages that members of the Board actually do speak), so it's hard to choose an arbitration committee. There was an idea of Wiki Council discussed. I think it would be good if the Board would talk about it and decide on something, or at least give their approval. Datrio 14:00, 16 May 2005 (UTC)Reply

Jimmy is meant to be posting a proposal about the Wikicouncil. This is separate from an arbitration committee, so perhaps that needs to be on the next agenda. Angela 23:05, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Copyrights and public domain documents[edit]

There are potential issues about lobbying for public domain and other free license documents. Should we have a Wikimedia wide policy about this? Yann 11:35, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • This should be done in conjunction with other PD organizations, such as Project Gutenberg. THey have already expressed interest. A coordinating committee should be established. Danny 11:51, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • We should at least have some templates for approaching repositories, libraries, and other content-holders about this; and a full discussion of these "potential issues" somewhere on-wiki. +sj+ 09:23, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • See the article fr:Wikipédia:Quel avenir pour le domaine public. Yann 09:55, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Legal Counsel[edit]

I received an offer from Laurence Lessig to help Wikimedia find pro-bono legal counsel for matters related to copyright. Is the board interested in exploring this? If so I can pass on the offer. --Gmaxwell 13:56, 16 May 2005 (UTC)Reply

We discussed this in today's meeting. Although Jimmy wasn't there, we took the decision that he would follow up on this with you by email. Angela 23:05, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

support by the wikimedia foundation to wikimedians with legal problems[edit]

I request that the board would discuss the following principle and if accepted be published on the wiki somewhere as an promise by the wikimedia foundation to its users;

There are many people working on many wikis of the foundation. By doing this the Wikimedians expose them self to legal actions against them. Especialy the people who communicate whit visitors to explain them how wikipedia (and Co) works and sysops.

Example; on an wikipedia is there an article about an person. That person writes to wikipedia to demand that the article is removed from the wiki. An user explains that it can not be removed only because he is asking it. And explains how wikipedia works. Policy, procedure how to remove an article. The user get sued by the complainer.

In general; if an wikimedian get sued or imprisoned because of work done on a wikimedia project or on behalf of such an project. An that user has done nothing that is an clear violation of wikimedia core values, policys or the local policy of that project. So not if he has done something really stupid that it is comment sense that you should not do that.

Basically when an wikimedian get in to trouble for being an good wikimedian then the wikimedia foundation will use its resources to assist the user whit his problems. By legal counsel, money, public pressure. Walter 16:39, 27 September 2005 (UTC)Reply

Perhaps this could be discussed on the mailing list or here on meta first? I don't understand why someone could be sued for replying to someone if they weren't the author of the problematic article. Angela 12:13, 29 September 2005 (UTC)Reply
The fact that it does not make sense does not mean you can not get sued or get in to trouble. The exact hypothetical reason what could lead to this problem is not really important. Only the question of the Wikimedia Foundation will support the principle; when an wikimedian get in to legal trouble for being an good wikimedian then the wikimedia foundation will use its resources to assist the user whit his problems. By legal counsel, money, public pressure, etc. Walter 20:07, 30 September 2005 (UTC)Reply
As a side comment, the juriwiki list received a few requests for help from editors who had received legal threats. Till now, one of the legal persons on the list have always been able to inform that person and a few times wrote to the person making the request. I would recommand any editor with such a problem to write to juriwiki-l anthere

OSI support[edit]

(Re: Meeting, February 7, 2005)

Is the OSI being taken seriously as an option now? I'd suggested it in the past but it had always been ignored or dismissed with a comment about how Soros got his money... (It would have been nice to get a "good idea" on that page if it was what alerted you to the OSI's commitment to Open Access, but I guess you probably knew about it anyway. Alak...)

If the "POV" argument is still coming up, I think it's worth remembering how Nobel got his money, and why he was so keen to give it away...

Also, if it is of any use to you, I know a trustee of one of the branches of the OSI fairly well. (It would be inappropriate to name her/him here). I'm not sure to what extent you need this, but if you do want to ask for some friendly advice about submitting an application, I would be happy to take your queries to her/him. --cfp 01:10, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Media contacts[edit]

Can I request finding out how to become a Wikipedia media contact for Australia? Just for en, not for other projects. - Ta bu shi da yu 13:48, 5 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

I'd suggest you email Michael Snow about this. He was asked for people on the mailing list to volunteer as press contacts. Angela 12:05, 11 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

Agenda requests[edit]

November 2005[edit]

  • Problems with assigning authority
  • Information circulation

I'm removing these from the agenda. We're not going to solve this in a meeting. I suggest an open discussion of these points on meta instead. Angela 21:57, 3 November 2005 (UTC)Reply

  • Fix typos mentioned here:


  • Print Wikijunior

Moved from the agenda[edit]

who is charging of the domain applying?

Please help to tell him/her to register this domains:

  • wikimedia.org.cn
  • wikimedia.org.tw
  • wikimedia.tw
  • wikipedia.org.tw

it can hand the application in this two website.

Disappointing, the wikimedia.cn and wikipedia.(*).cn has been registered by someone!

who added this to the agenda ? Discussion about who to put in charge of domains ? Anthere

Committee discussion[edit]

Is there an agenda for the upcoming committee discussion? Sj 03:15, 31 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

From the mailing list :

to find ways the committees can remain accountable, legally and financially, but also accountable to the Board and community. The meeting is also to discuss how open and transparent various aspects of those committees can or should be, including their membership, processes, and actions.

Is this the place to suggest specific agenda items? Sj

Be bold and add it to the meeting page. Angela 11:58, 11 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

June 2006 : Next meeting?[edit]

On feb 12 2006, the person who posted the logs etc (anonymous) said:

The next meeting will be in 3 weeks (roughly March 4th or 5th). To be announced here.

I have not seen any announcements. Could someone maybe clarifiy whether there are just no public meetings anymore, or that the announcementspage has been moved? Effeietsanders 08:55, 13 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

There haven't been any meetings, public or otherwise, for a long time and none are planned. However, if you think they're useful, you could always organise one yourself. Angela 00:46, 17 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
I have not very urgent things to discuss right now myself. But as I see the threads grow on foundation-l , I think it might be usefull to have again a irc-open-boardmeeting. Especially when you are seeking for interested people to join the board in time, it might be usefull to use more communication pathways as just the mailinglist and private email. I always found IRC-discussions very enlighting, not especially because they gave so much information, but you can see more clear who thinks what and why. It's easier to ask questions, the bridge to take is not that high. However I think it necessairy that at least several boardmembers can join the conversation. So maybe it's more easy if one should try to find a date and time who knows a little more about the personal agendae :) Effeietsanders 11:25, 19 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
I assumed there hasn't been any Board meeting (for the sake of newly launched Board wiki?). It will be informative why the Board meeting hasn't been held since the early of this year on Wikimedia:Meetings. You can add the most (presumably, but I don't know exactly) result of your discussions are public as "resolutions", if appropriate. --Aphaia 21:08, 19 July 2006 (UTC)Reply
There was a long gap in Board meetings of any recorded sort in 2006, as indicated from the meeting log on the Foundation wiki. I would appreciate some help organizing the record of Board meetings here on meta, where editors can readily fix up formatting and links and leave comments directly on the meeting pages. The next Board meeting will be held at Wikimania later this month; see below. -- sj | translate | + 23:31, 12 August 2009 (UTC)Reply