Grants:APG/Complaints about the FDC process/Archives/Complaint to FDC Ombudsman about FDC process with respect to CIS-A2K proposal
Complaint to FDC Ombudsman about FDC process with respect to CIS-A2K proposal
Dear Susana Morais,
I would like to appeal against the FDC recommendation to the WMF Board for 2014-2015 Round 2 CIS-A2K funding proposal as the process seems to have failed. Several community members from Telugu community outright rejected the CIS-A2K Telugu Wikipedia and Wikisource proposals. But, FDC seems to have succumbed to Facebook syndrome in it’s decision making process, with plain signatures or just the mention of wikipedia community being part of consultative process by CIS, trumping the reasoned, well thought out comments. FDC brushed aside major community rejection stating that “Some concern has been raised as to the quality of articles in these projects such as in the Konkani Wikipedia and Telugu Wikipedia”. Community discussion does not seem to have even tiniest impact on their decision or decision making process. This leads me to believe that community input has no place or practical impact on the FDCs grant making decisions. Of the five Telugu Wikipedians, that gave feedback on talk pages of CIS-A2K Telugu Wikipedia and Wikisource proposals after thorough discussion on language wikis (Two of them wrote the feedback in Telugu in the local wiki proposal talk page and did not translate their comments into English to be placed on meta page), all of them have significant influence in the community and also represent views of significant portion of the community. Just to give you some context of the people that raised objections, all of them are Admins in Telugu Wikipedia, three of them were actively involved for past 7-10 years in Telugu Wikipedia community. One of them is former bureaucrat and one is current bureaucrat. Two of them are Wikimedia Foundation IEG grantees and one was co-founder and first president of the Wikimedia India and former FDC member.
If FDC thought these views did not represent the community, at least they should have done an independent enquiry into the situation. FDC seems to have made a decision by relying on the FDC staff assessment and failed to do adequate qualitative assessment though they have pointed out that CIS-A2K did not heed to previous FDC’s advice and highlighted some problems with CIS’s approach. FDC staff assessment in itself did not consider the community feedback seriously. With good intentions of doing what is best for the wiki project, we have put our time and energy into these proposal assessments. If community discussion is of no consequence, in future not many from the community would be willing to give any feedback on these kind of exercises. Community’s interest to contribute to the wikis will be reduced drastically and this was already evident with some of the active wikipedians reducing their involvement levels due to adverse effects of the CIS programs. --Vyzasatya (talk) 04:00, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
Additional comments by Arjunaraoc
Dear Susana Morais,
Further to Vyzasatya's comments, I would like to highlight few points that I think seem to have contributed to the failure of the FDC process. Unlike most chapters which focus primarily on one language in a particular country, CIS-A2K proposal deals with several languages and initiatives totaling 17 programs covering the support for the Indian subcontinent, while the budget requested is small compared to major European chapters. The initiatives are for Indian languages for which the active community is close to nil for incubation initiatives or 5 to 20 people for major languages such as Telugu. The discussion can happen at the 17 proposal/work plan talk pages and/or at the specific language projects. All these are not cross linked or organised properly. Most of the workplans in English are not even translated into the local language by CIS, defeating the requirement of discussion of the proposal in the language community. Telugu Wikipedia and Telugu wikisource communities discussed the proposals thoroughly on the language project talk pages. The final comments of some of the wikipedians were translated into English and posted on the proposal talk page on meta. It seems that the FDC staff and FDC have missed these comments, as the staff assessment and recommendation mention only the word 'concern' (used in the early discussion to point to the reader to the language pages) and not the word 'rejection/opposition' as mentioned in the final comments. As the relative amount requested is small compared to major European chapters, it has been my experience that FDC devotes proportionately less time for review/discussion.
To assist Susana Morais and other interested people, I hereby provide the links to relevant pages and their page sizes for ease of access to understand the scope and extent of the proposal and the size of discussions.
- Proposal (Grants namespace) on meta
|CIS-A2K Proposal||280351||CIS-A2K Proposal(Talk)||86442|
- Work plans(main namespace) on meta
The table indicates that out of 20 work plan pages, about 10 did not have any discussion content on the specific talk pages. Some discussion might have taken place on the main work plan page or on the proposal page.
- Work plans on language wikis(Telugu as an example)
|Wikipedia Work plan in Telugu wiki(largely in English)||63741||Wikipedia Work plan in Telugu(Talk)||329754|
|Wikisource Work plan in Telugu||17849||Wikisource Work plan in Telugu(Talk)||122883|
The process improvements suggested are
- Impose a limit on the proposal page size
- Ensure that the specific language work plans are presented to the community on the communities project page in the community language.
- Ensure translation of the discussion on the language wikis into English so that FDC staff and FDC can understand the discussion properly, without relying on Google translate, whose quality is not up to the mark. This also helps reduce the load on community to translate into English.
- Ensure assessment of impact on the community is done periodically through surveys/other forms of communication
- Involve the active community members when the proposals are opposed by them, to understand their perspective better
- Ensure through assessment of a sample of projects before finalizing the recommendation.
- Stop Facebook like endorsements or mention of wikipedian names on proposal/Work plan pages, as it misleads people in understanding the proposal
Comment of the Ombudsperson
Members of the community have expressed their concearns regardind the CIS engagement to run India programs, and it has become apparent to me, that these issues are not new and did not, until this moment, encounter a solution. It is my understanding, after talking to the parties involved, that the basic core of the complaint, are the perceived adverse effects of the CIS-A2k on the diverse language communities and consequently on the quality of the contents (although acknowledging CIS's work). So, stretching beyond the “simple” proposal to the FDC, what would be of great importance to the parties involved in the complaint, would be for the WMF to criticaly review the current status of the India strategy.
Regarding the process itself, through which the proposal has been evaluated, I found no fault, but a great amount of time and care alocated by the FDC to community feedback consideration, specially in cases like India with impact on several communities. What may be an issue, is the fact that there is apparently no serious reading and understanding of the community feedback, possibly due to lack of communication. Lusitana (talk) 16:16, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
- @Lusitana, Thanks for your comment. The second para is somewhat confusing. On one hand, you say that there is no fault, while on the other, you say that there is no serious reading and understanding of the community feedback. If community feedback was to be given serious consideration as part of the FDC process, as was clarified by FDC chair in the past, then the process implmentation was faulty in this case, as is clear from the absence of words reflecting the community feedback, as well as omission of feedback with regard to some programs like Telugu Wikisource in the recommendation. Please clarify. --Arjunaraoc (talk) 10:22, 8 July 2015 (UTC)