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Appeals to the Board on the recommendations of the FDC
  • A formal appeal to challenge the FDC’s recommendation should be in the form of a 500-or-fewer word summary directed to the two non-voting WMF Board representatives to the FDC.
  • The appeal should be submitted on-wiki through this page.
  • Formal appeals can be submitted only by the Board Chair of a funding-seeking entity.
  • Formal appeals must be filed within seven days of the deadline for submission of the FDC slate of recommendations to the WMF Board, even if the recommendations are published before the deadline for the recommendations.
  • These board representatives will present the appeal to the WMF Board at the same time as the Board considers the FDC recommendation. All responses to an appeal will be made alongside the Board's overall decision on the FDC recommendations.
  • Any planned or approved disbursements to the organization filing an appeal will be put on hold until the appeal is resolved.
  • If the WMF Board's consideration of the appeal results in an amendment of the FDC's recommendations (which is expected only in extraordinary circumstances), the WMF Board may choose to release extra funds from the WMF reserves to provide additional funds not allocated by the FDC's initial recommendation.
  • The Ombudsperson, as well as members of the WMF Board other than the Board representatives, may participate in the investigation if approved by the Chair of the WMF Board.

2013-2014 Round 1[edit]

Wikimedia Israel[edit]


Amount requested: ₪1,553,837 ($438,306)

Amount recommended to be allocated: ₪709,000 ($200,000)

  • WMIL has executed impressive programs in the past, and has not overly focused on institutionalization. Examples of successful past programs are Wikimania 2011, media coverage of the 10th anniversary and Wiki Air. The change in national copyright law is a significant achievement for WMIL, and WMIL has had success with partnerships.
  • The editing community WMIL supports is increasing. WMIL has strong commitment from its volunteers.
  • WMIL a high potential for (global) impact. However, the quality of the proposal is concerning; it may not show WMIL’s full potential or highlight past achievements.
  • WMIL has been open about recent hiring challenges.
  • WMIL has demonstrated visible improvements in reporting and sharing lessons with the movement.
  • The depth of WMIL’s strategic planning is not commensurate with the size of this request. For example, goals and metrics are not clear or measurable.
  • The proposed growth in both budget and staffing is too rapid.
  • WMIL’s proposed plan is not feasible, with too many activities for an organization in transition.
  • The pace of WMIL’s staff growth does not seem rational or proportionate. WMIL changed its staffing plan unexpectedly and did not inform FDC. Furthermore, the current and proposed staffing plan is ill-considered.
  • WMIL is a creative organization that has spread ideas through the movement and has potential to achieve (global) impact. We look forward to WMIL’s continued innovations.


Dear Patricio and Bishakha,

We would like to thank the FDC staff for their efforts to create an open and fair evaluation process which provided us with detailed and constructive comments. WMIL board has thoroughly read and discussed the feedback from the FDC, as well as the compliments for WMIL activities and its contribution to global initiatives over the past year. Subsequently to FDC feedback, we have suspended all our planned expenditures, including the hiring of an Academic Coordinator, in light of our inability to support our existing academic activities with the provided budget.

WMIL has made great progress during recent months with regards to institutionalization and program support. We are concerned that the FDC’s provisional budget allocation coerces Wikimedia Israel to considerably reduce its existing operations close to a halt. Our basic operational cost [1] which consists of salaries for an ED and a coordinator, office space and legal and accounting fees costs WMIL $185,580, out of the allocated $200,000, leaving merely $14,420 for projects, volunteer support, etc. It is not possible to support existing projects with this rudimentary budget, let alone launch planned projects aimed at recruiting new people to Wikipedia and other WMF projects.

As expressed in our proposal, WMIL aims to increase its external (non-WMF) resources. Responsible fundraising is one of the central tasks of our newly hired ED, but fundraising efforts take time to mature, as well as lengthy legal procedures, such as receiving a tax deductible status. We are taking these steps as part of our ongoing professionalization process. The current FDC allocation forces the chapter to choose between activities and fundraising, lacking the financial resources to do both effectively.

The amount recommended by the FDC for 2014 is similar to the 2013 operating budget. Our 2013 budget comprised of the grant WMIL received in 2013 ($141,172) plus outstanding 2012 funds ($31,100) which adds up to a “Movement Resources” budget of $172,272. We’d like to stress that our 2013 activities could not have been completed without this 2012 surplus.

Our actual 2013 operating budget was $204,921. Some of budgetary estimates made in 2013 proposal, such as ED budget and office rent, turned out to be unrealistic, as elaborated below [2]. Had 2013 been a ‘normal’ year, WMIL would not have been able to balance the budget from the third quarter onwards - the required changes in the ED budget alone resulted in an $34,477 increase of the total budget. Just to keep that in mind, according to FDC guidelines - WMIL increase may not exceed $28,234.

This case demonstrates that the strict "20% annual growth” factor formulated by the FDC is tailored for chapters which have reached a level of professionalization, such as hiring paid staff and finding office space. A 20% growth for a small but growing chapter like WMIL, which is undergoing the inevitable stage of professionalization, cannot be compared to the budget of larger chapters, whose professional staff size have already stabilized.

Since its founding, WMIL has proven its capabilities and creativity which spanned well beyond its actual size, through the hard work of its board and volunteers. To continue improving in realizing the Movement’s Goals, WMIL now needs more resources to scale up. We therefore ask for your assistance in enabling the chapter to further develop its enterprises, and provide increasing support for a growing community of Wikipedia editors.

Itzik Edri,
Chairperson. --Itzike (talk) 13:13, 6 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

  1. Basic operational cost
    Executive Director ₪ 268,118 $74,477
    Activity Coordinator ₪ 133,002 $36,945
    Legal ₪ 10,000 $2,778
    Accounting ₪ 42,500 $11,806
    Registrar fees ₪ 1,300 $361
    Insurance ₪ 11,000 $3,056
    Office Space (including rent, municipal taxes and VAT) ₪ 141,432 $39,287
    Contingency ₪ 60,735 $16,870
    Total ₪ 668,087 $185,580
  2. The ED’s budgeted salary was $40,000 (2,500$ per month), without taking into account costs of travel and reimbursement. This sum was insufficient due to the lack of familiarity by the board with the non-profit sector in Israel and the accepted wage levels for EDs. In March 2013 an ED was selected. Unfortunately, she was not able to meet chapter expectations and left after three months. After consultation with other organizations and chapters and we raised the budget to $74,477 (4,166$ per month, plus additional costs for travel and reimbursement). This salary is still below the average wages for ED in charities in Israel ($4,722 per month according to last year report (heb)).
    Inaccurate assessments were also made for the cost of renting an office and community room. Office rental costs of NIS 141,000 are certainly reasonable in Israel. Unfortunately, there are no centers for nonprofit organization which offer office space at a low cost rent.

Board decision on Wikimedia Israel's appeal[edit]

As board liaisons, we are writing to share the WMF Board's decision on Wikimedia Israel's appeal regarding the FDC's recommendation on WMIL's proposal in Round 1, 2013-14.

After reviewing the information shared in the appeal, the Board has decided not to override the FDC’s recommendation for Wikimedia Israel. In doing so, the full Board has carefully considered all the points raised in WMIL's appeal, and asked the FDC for its response to these points as well.

Here is the thinking that has informed the Board's decision:

The FDC followed a rigorous process in its decision-making on Wikimedia Israel's proposal. The FDC's deliberations on the Wikimedia Israel proposal were rigorous and thorough and followed a similar approach to all other proposals. There was no process deficiency; the Board representatives can attest - as observers of the FDC process - to the fact that the proposal was deliberated on in great detail, and consensus was reached after an iterative process of individual allocation recommendations and collective discussion.

WMIL's proposal was considered on its merits, factoring in all the information that was then presented.[1] The FDC considered WMIL's strengths (impressive programming, strong volunteer commitment, creativity, no over-institutionalization, improved grant compliance) and potential pitfalls (too many activities, measurability of goals, ambitious staff growth) in arriving at its decision.

The recommended allocation marks a 30% increase over the last grant. Last year, the FDC recommended US$141,172 for WMIL (nearly full funding), while this year the FDC recommended US$200,000 of US$438,306 requested. This marks an increase in movement resources for Wikimedia Israel of approximately 30% more than the previous year’s allocation.[2]

The Board reads this increased allocation of unrestricted funds as a positive signal and as strong faith in the capacity of WMIL to successfully continue to execute programmes with excellence – as it has done in the past. In general, the Board upholds appeals only in rare or exceptional circumstances; we did not view a recommended increased allocation in resources to WMIL as a circumstance of this kind.

Additionally, we remain concerned with the costs of institutionalization, as noted in the Board of Trustees’ Guidance to the FDC. We urge Wikimedia Israel to approach staff growth - and all growth - thoughtfully, in a manner that is both impactful and sustainable.

We appreciate Wikimedia Israel’s attempts to diversify its funding streams, another issue that was highlighted in the Board's guidance to the FDC. We acknowledge that fundraising can take significant time and effort, but we are not certain that the current FDC recommendation would prevent Wikimedia Israel from taking actions to diversify its funding in a measured manner.

We have taken note of the concerns that WMIL has raised in the appeal. Given these, we are asking the FDC (members and staff) to make a visit to Israel to better understand your context and your needs, as well as your programmatic and organizational aspirations.

WMIL is not only a successful chapter but also an inspiration for other entities in our movement. Many groups from our global communities are looking at WMIL and learning from your successes. We hope WMIL will see this increased allocation from the FDC as an opportunity, rather than a setback, and continue to contribute to the movement as it always has.

As always, we thank Wikimedia Israel, and its volunteers, staff, and Board for all that WMIL has done for the movement since its inception.

Best regards

Patricio Lorente and Bishakha Datta
Board Liaisons, Funds Dissemination Committee Bishdatta (talk) 16:58, 31 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

  1. Appeals should not bring new information to the table, as the FDC can only base its recommendations on the proposals or other documented information about the entities. Adding information through complaints/appeals is unfair to all applying entities, and to the FDC process as a whole.
  2. Wikimedia Israel writes that the 2013 FDC grant was supplemented by US$31,100 rolled over from its 2012 program plan, which should be included in their total amount of movement resources for 2013 (resulting in “movement resources” of $172,272). For all entities receiving FDC funds, the movement resources total for any particular year should correspond to the amount of movement resources allocated by the FDC for the entity in that year to support the organization’s activities during that year (as clarified on the proposal form discussion page). 549,440 Shekels, as confirmed by WMIL on the proposal form discussion page, is therefore the number that most accurately shows WMIL’s movement resources in 2013. Any movement resources allocated for previous program plans or other grants should not be included in this movement resources total, even if an organization is drawing on reserves which include funds that were at one time granted to that organization as movement resources.

Wikimedia India[edit]


Amount requested: ₹11,054,802 ($176,214)

Amount recommended to be allocated: ₹3,325,000 ($53,000)

  • The FDC believes that it is important that WMIN’s growth is sustainably supported, as India is a high-potential country. Language communities in India are gaining momentum and have some committed volunteers.
  • The funding requested is high given local context, with an overly ambitious plan. The recommended amount of funding may be a better match for WMIN’s current capacity than the amount requested.
  • We recognize WMIN’s success in Open Educational Resources (OER) work.
  • The proposed growth is too rapid, and would present a significant risk to WMIN’s successful implementation of its plan.
  • Clear rationale for goals is not always provided in WMIN’s proposal, and programs do not have adequate measures.
  • The activities proposed may not lead to impact commensurate with costs. For example, a focus on conferences and other events may not yield high impact.
  • Too large a portion of WMIN’s proposed budget is allocated to operational costs, which may not result in direct impact on the Wikimedia projects. Furthermore, some budget line items do not appear consistent or realistic.
  • Governance/organization challenges could impact decision-making and execution of WMIN’s plan.
  • The enthusiasm of WMIN’s board is impressive, and board members may need opportunities to travel in order to exchange ideas with the broader movement.


Dear Patricio and Bishakha,

Recommendations should be targeted at achieving mission goals of the movement. The point held against us is not that we are straying away from the 5 year goals or targets of WMF, but we are planning to grow very ambitiously towards it. If we can not be allowed to grow faster, is that not against the focus in the global 5 year plan on Global South about?

We were allocated a lower value ‘assuming’ we will NOT be ABLE to grow. If we grow as per potential, we may have to stop after 3 to 4 months for want of funds. [1] Should we have had adequate budgets this year, none of these communities would have the need to apply for direct WMF funding. When communities to apply for direct funding from WMF they expose themselves to India’s stringent foreign currency laws and become open to question by the income tax. What is the need of having the chapter with FDC funding if we are forced to redirect them to WMF for grants? Alternately we would have to discourage growth by denying funds to the community based on availability and not based on merit of their proposal. What can WMF do to enable us to perform despite the low confidence expressed in our ability to grow?

We wished to have staff and an office cum training center. This is part of building capacity. [2] We have been advised to move out of our current office premises so the move is necessary. WMIN is likely to at best stagnate, or worse, degenerate without full time staff support. So far community volunteers have been supporting chapter programs and we have witnessed a high level of burnout. Furthermore, without staff or office our purpose to apply for FDC funding is completely defeated.

Unlike WMFs own India Programs and indirect employees at A2K, the chapter and community have a track record of proving themselves with tangible results. We need proper support to achieve our full potential. With limited funds we have conducted several successful programs, we do not understand what more we need to do to “prove ourselves”. [3]

We feel that the staff assessment was completely biased and that the staff have had double standards when dealing with us and when dealing with their direct and indirect colleagues at India Programs and A2K. There has been a huge negative impact on the movement in India because of decisions taken by these staffers and their immediate predecessors. [4]

Without adequate insurance, WMIN, its board and its members are exposed to the threat of litigation at a personal level. We want to remind WMF that we are a country with 1.2 Billion population, 20 languages with their own Wikipedia, and currently below the average in benchmark indices, and hence have a high potential for growth. The denial of funds at the right level severely restricts our scope to nurture large segments of the Indian community. [5]

Thanking everyone involved, Mokshjuneja (talk) 17:32, 7 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

  1. For example, the Kolkata community is preparing to participate in Kolkata Book Fair in January 2014 at a cost of INR 3.5 lakh & Telugu community is planning its 10th year celebrations at cost of INR 6 lakh in the same month, if the chapter were to fund both fully we would be committing 1/3rd of the FDC funds suggested in January itself.
  2. We believe growth due to such General funding, based on capital and infrastructure expenses must be separated and only project to project funding should reflect the true growth rate. Overheads are unlikely to scale gradually and at the minimum level of 3 staff and a training centre with 10 seats we were not being extravagant for a country our size.
  3. In 2011, our first grant was for WikiConference India and was worth $40,000. After a successful conference and several more successful programs (as acknowledged by WMF), all the FDC can trust us today is $ 53,000 for an entire year? This is indeed a shame if we are denied our fair share of movement resources.
  4. Further details can be found on the staff assessment discussion page: [1]. Moreover, there was a serious allegation from a community member that a WMF staffer was close to CIS prior to being hired which means a possibility of COI. This is the first time we have heard of this and would like a clarification on this from the staffer concerned. We would also like a clarification from WMF on the particular staffers involvement with our staff assessment (we understand that the staffer chose to voluntarily recuse from WMIN related discussions but her involvement in preparation of the staff assessment is unclear) and why this staffer-grantee prior relationship was not declared in public at the time of hiring the particular staffer.
  5. We think that this blogpost by a senior community member sums it up.

Ombudsperson feedback[edit]

My feedback focuses on the criticism related to the FDC process itself, specifically the topic where it is stated:

"We feel that the staff assessment was completely biased and that the staff have had double standards when dealing with us and when dealing with their direct and indirect colleagues at India Programs and A2K" and the related comment on the staff proposal assessment discussion page concerning possible conflict of interest.

  • This perceived CoI concerns a member of the FDC staff, Anasuya Sengupta, and her past connection to members of the CIS team (Centre for Internet and Society in India).

After going through the process and hearing the concerned parties, I can confirm that:

  • This connection was known by the time this staffer joined WMF and she did not personaly negotiate the grant with CIS, only later did she took over the leadership of the grants processes at the Foundation, and started managing the CIS grant.
  • Since FDC members should disclose, and abstain from any discussions or decisions that could be a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest, Anasuya Sengupta has voluntary stepped back from the deliberations on the WMIN proposal to the FDC. With regard to this aspect the staffer did not have access to documentation and communication between the FDC members related to WMIN proposal. Also, she clarified about the nature of her relationship to CIS, wich was known prior to her being hired by WMF, and that it does not include familial or business relationship.

Lusitana (talk) 22:03, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

Board decision on Wikimedia India's appeal[edit]

As board liaisons, we are writing to share the Board's decision on WMIN's appeal regarding the FDC's recommendation on WMIN's proposal in Round 1, 2013-14.

After reviewing the information shared in the appeal, the Board has decided not to override the FDC’s recommendation for Wikimedia India. In doing so, the full Board has carefully considered all the points raised in WMIN's appeal, and asked the FDC for its response to these points. We have also considered the Ombudsperson's report on a process point raised in the appeal.

Here is the thinking that has informed the Board's decision:

The FDC deliberations were rigorous. In its deliberations, the FDC treated the Wikimedia India application just as it did other applications - WMIN was treated as a stand-alone chapter and the allocation recommendation made solely on the merits of its proposal, as was the case with other entities.[1]

WMIN's recommendation was not tied to or affected by the WMF grant made to the Center for Internet and Society (CIS) for its Access To Knowledge (A2K) program. If CIS applies for funding in the coming year for its A2K program, its proposal will be evaluated under the same standards as WMIN by the FDC.

The recommended allocation marks a sizeable 80% increase in movement resources. Last year, WMIN held 1,848,736 Indian Rupees in movement resources. This year, WMIN requested 11,054,802 Indian Rupees, an increase of nearly 500% in movement resources. Wikimedia India’s recommended allocation this round was for 3,325,000 Indian Rupees, an 80% increase in movement resources.

By recommending growth in movement resources at an overall 80%, the FDC is highlighting the potential that WMIN has to build language communities in India and encouraging the organization to start fulfilling this potential, a perspective that the Board endorses.

The FDC Ombudsperson and WMF's General Counsel have separately confirmed that due process was followed and there was no actual conflict of interest. The Board has consulted with the FDC Ombudsperson and WMF's legal team in response to specific process points raised in WMIN's appeal.

The Ombudsperson's full report is available at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Appeals_to_the_Board_on_the_recommendations_of_the_FDC#Ombudsperson_feedback

WMF's legal team's opinion is reproduced here: “Our opinion is that Anasuya's acquaintance with the Executive Director at the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) is not a potential or actual conflict of interest with her role supporting the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) recommendation regarding Wikimedia India (WMIN). Overall, the process was properly managed.

Anasuya's friendship with a staff member at CIS did not involve any financial or other significant relationship that would influence her independent judgment. Anasuya does not receive any personal benefit from the WMF's grants to either WMIN or CIS. Under the WMF's internal conflict of interest policy, consistent with standard good governance principles, this situation is not an "interested transaction" requiring recusal or disclosure. Anasuya handled the possible perception of bias with an abundance of caution by sharing information about her friendship with the FDC and excusing herself from a portion of the FDC's deliberations. However, this was done to assist the FDC process, and was not required by a conflict of interest.”

In this context, the Board reaffirms its faith in the FDC and the FDC staff.

The Board does not see Wikimedia India and the Center for Internet and Society as being in competition with each other in India. We ask the FDC members and staff to convene a dialog with Wikimedia India with a view to remove any misunderstandings that may exist in this context, and to encourage greater alignment and understanding that is to the benefit of the wider movement.

Wikimedia India has already notched up significant programmatic successes, including the community-led WikiConference India held in 2011, Wiki Loves Monuments, and this year's breakthrough development on Open Educational Resources. We look forward to hearing more about your work in the year ahead and remain deeply appreciative of all the work you continue to do to advance our collective goals.

Best regards

Patricio Lorente and Bishakha Datta
Board Liaisons, Funds Dissemination Committee Bishdatta (talk) 17:08, 31 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

  1. Appeals should not bring new information to the table, as the FDC can only base its recommendations on the proposals or other documented information about the entities. Adding information through complaints/appeals is unfair to all applying entities, and to the FDC process as a whole.

Note from the Board representatives to the FDC[edit]

Dear members of the Wikimedia community, particularly Boards and staff of Wikimedia India and Wikimedia Israel:

We - the Board representatives on the FDC - have noted the appeals by WMIN and WMIL against the FDC recommendations for Round 1, 2013-14.[1]We appreciate the members of their Boards and staff for publicly stating their concerns with us in detail.

We are taking these appeals very seriously and giving them our full consideration. We are reviewing our deliberation notes and discussing with them with the full WMF Board of Trustees. In the mean time, we have also asked for feedback on the recommendations and assessments from the FDC members and staff, as well as from the FDC Ombudsperson on the process so far. These inputs are an important part of the appeals process.

Therefore, in order to review all these inputs before coming to a decision, the WMF Board will make its decision on the FDC recommendations - including the two appeals - by January 1, 2014, as outlined in the FDC timeline.[2]

We thank the members of the Boards of Wikimedia India and Wikimedia Israel, as well as the FDC members, ombudsperson and staff, for your commitment and for the work you do on behalf of our movement.

Best regards, Bishakha and Patricio, on behalf of the WMF Board of Trustees. Patricio.lorente (talk) 19:34, 15 December 2013 (UTC)Reply


2014-2015 Round 1[edit]

Wikimedia CH[edit]


We want to thank the FDC members for their work in reviewing the current APG proposals: we know first hand how time-consuming that can be. This being said, we noted a few inconsistencies and believe that the Committee overlooked some important points that warrant a formal appeal from our side.

A first series of comments from the FDC staff has already been addressed - we will of course not restate them here, but regret that some of the points we raised were apparently not taken into account.

Chapter priorities[edit]

The statement about Wikimedia CH being unwilling to prioritize or close down programs is quite surprising, particularly in light of our termination of the TAO program in 2013. Likewise, we have made a point to re-shift our community support activities to less staff-intensive programs, empowering volunteers (and providing monetary or logistical support) rather than driving them (for example by organizing events ex nihilo). The word "priority" is only used once in our proposal form, and is applied to Kiwix (a project which received significant community support). As reflected in our cost and staff structure, Offline Development is projected to use 1.2 new FTEs, but our overall staff costs only increase by 0.6 FTE - meaning that resources are being reallocated according to this new priority.

Budget, administrative costs and rate of growth[edit]

As a preliminary note, we need to highlight, once more, what the cost situation in Switzerland is. Put simply, and using such standard measurement as the Big Mac Index, anything here costs about 40% more than in the surrounding euro area. In spite of this, we do assign 85% of our staff costs to programmatic works (3.85/4.6 FTE), have a cost per FTE similar to surrounding Euro area chapters, while at the same time taking on five different languages (three large and two minority ones, which obviously limits our ability to scale operations) and the development of a major outreach tool (Kiwix).

Another point of concern by the FDC is the rate at which we draw from our reserves. We feel compelled to remind the FDC that the Zurich Hackathon was entirely supported by WMCH, at the cost of 46'000.- USD (staff time not included). Because the PED grant system hadn't yet been put in place, these costs were entirely borne by us and not covered or reimbursed by the Foundation: the money was taken from our reserves and represented about one-quarter of our 2014 deficit. This is an important point, particularly considering the Committee's own views on organizing regional or global events with limited demonstratable impact (this clearly wasn't one of them).

Multi-year grant and APG reliance[edit]

The FDC at the same time 1. highlights the importance of Kiwix development and its succesful handling by WMCH, 2. shows concern about a supposedly increased reliance on APG funding (eventhough our ratio remains in line or below that of chapters similar in size), and 3. concludes that a multi-year funding, which we specifically requested for Kiwix, would not be recommended because of the lack of a strategic plan.

The strategic plan for Kiwix did receive a positive review from the subject-matter expert, who noted that "it's a very modest initial investment in paid staffing" (particularly, as a commenter noted somewhat maliciously, given the comparative cost of developping and distributing the Wikipedia Android App). While we enthusiastically welcome his recommendations (particularly on user feedback and success metrics), we would like to draw the Committee's attention to the fact that in the current fundraising system a multi-year, multi-stakeholder proposal is key, as it ensures sustainability for the project. By reducing our funding by the rough amount requested to start our Kiwix development platform (150'000 USD) and preventing us from presenting potential partners with a clear, medium-term development roadmap, the FDC cut other funding options short. Furthermore, funding issues will obviously delay the recruitement process for our development team, further delaying the obtention of early must-have deliverables within 2015, thereby hampering our ability to requests funds for 2016, etc.. Contrary to what is asserted in the FDC review, WMCH does not plan to take charge of disseminating this work around the world: this is clearly the role of our partner organizations and is the current working model (see e.g. Afripedia).


To summarize things, we believe that

  1. compared to other chapters, WMCH faces one-of-a-kind challenges (living costs, linguistic diversity) yet delivers value for money in line with similar or larger organizations and reaching beyond its home territory in a unique manner. We also committed to significant extra spending by participating in Movement's activities (46 kUSD for the Zurich Hackathon) and significantly shifted priorities to become increasingly self-sufficient and thereby reduce our expected reliance on APG funds as soon as 2016;
  2. preventing us from further developing Kiwix or even from planning its medium term development contradicts in our view the stated support made by the FDC.

This is why we respectfully ask that the APG Board representatives change the recommended allocation made for Wikimedia CH so as to reflect rather than add to our past, current and future challenges. On behalf of WMCH Board, Popo le Chien (talk) 20:33, 8 December 2014 (UTC)Reply

From Board Representatives[edit]

Dear Wikimedians,

As the two Board Representatives on the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC), we want to publicly acknowledge the appeal that was submitted by Wikimedia CH. We appreciate the effort that Wikimedia CH’s Board and staff put into their appeal, which outlines their concerns with the FDC’s recent round (Round 1 2014-2015) of Annual Plan Grants recommendations.

We are now carefully reviewing the inputs to and the notes from the deliberations with the Board and the decision on the appeal will be announced at the same time as the recommendations.

In the past, the Board’s deadline for decisions about the FDC’s recommendations for Round 1, including appeals, has been the first of the new year. This year, we will do our best to share the Board’s decision before then, if possible, and certainly by the end of 2014. We do wish for you all to have restful and peaceful holidays!

With thanks,

Bishakha and Frieda, on behalf of the WMF Board of Trustees

2016–2017 round 2[edit]

Wikimédia France[edit]


An appeal on FDC's recommendations has been submitted through e-mail by the Board of Wikimédia France to WMF Board's liaisons Dariusz and Christophe, copy to the whole WMF Board. A complaint against the FDC process during round 2 has also been made to the ombudsperson. At the moment, the Board of Wikimédia France has chosen for legal reasons not to release publicly the content of these pleads. We leave the choice to the Board and the ombudsperson to further communicate or not, within the limits of what is legally possible for them. Further communication from us may be made as the situation develops.

--EdouardHue (talk) 10:25, 7 June 2017 (UTC), on behalf of the Board of Wikimédia FranceReply


As a Board Representative on the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC), I want to publicly acknowledge the appeal that was submitted by Wikimedia France. We appreciate the effort that Wikimedia France put into their appeal, which outlines their concerns with the FDC’s recent round (Round 2, 2016-2017) of Annual Plan Grants recommendations. We are now carefully reviewing the inputs to and the notes from the deliberations with the Board and the decision on the appeal will be announced shortly. This year, we will do our best to share the Board’s decision by July 1, 2017, if possible.

With thanks, Dariusz Jemielniak, on behalf of the WMF Board of Trustees Pundit (talk) 12:58, 7 June 2017 (UTC)Reply

Board decision[edit]

As liaison to the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) from the Wikimedia Board of Trustees, I am writing to share the Board's decision regarding the appeal submitted by Wikimédia France and the FDC’s grant recommendation.

The Board has decided not to amend the recommendation from the FDC for Wikimédia France and therefore approves it without modification. The Board considered the email about the appeal that was privately sent by the chapter, reviewed the assessment prepared by the FDC, and heard from the FDC liaison who had personally observed the process from start to finish. The Board found that the FDC had thoroughly and independently considered the material provided by the chapter, and had adequately explained the reasons for the financial funding allocation it recommended. In addition to the financial portion of its resolution, the Board supports the additional recommendations made by the FDC, such as the governance review.

The Board chose not to override the recommendation of the Committee because it found that the FDC process and resulting recommendation were both thorough and proper. I personally observed the full FDC review process that began in October with the submission of the proposal and resulted in the Committee’s recommendation. I read all of the documentation, and I was the liaison for the Board who attended the deliberations and observed the conversations about Wikimédia France. I reviewed the process again when I received Wikimédia France's notice of appeal, at which point I also reached out to and solicited additional input from several members of the FDC.

Based on the documentation, the input from FDC members, and my own observations, I believe that the FDC made its recommendation following a process that was fair, reasonable, independent of bias or inappropriate influence, and consistent with the FDC Framework. The FDC's recommendation was based on careful consideration of the submissions and responses provided by Wikimédia France, and its recommendation was adequately substantiated. In addition to the reports provided by the chapter and WMF staff, FDC members independently interpreted and evaluated the relevant submissions. The FDC explained that it was concerned about the chapter's programmatic impact, based on a lack of performance indicators that correspond to the request for increased funding. The FDC also identified a number of possible governance concerns and recommended a review to handle these concerns in more detail. Based on my own review, I concur that a governance review is warranted.

The Board strongly agrees with the recommendation that the chapter obtains an independent governance review, which among other things will help it to determine if it is following best practices. The governance questions raised by the FDC led the Board to this position, and the Board further believes that the governance review should be undertaken as soon as possible and an appropriate expert hired after consultation between the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimédia France. We believe that an independent review can help ensure that the chapter's governance properly reflects the best practices of the Wikimedia movement, including working together cooperatively and openly, within a good structure.

Given the rigorous process, thought and care that went into the FDC recommendation, the Board does not believe that there is a reason in this case for it to substitute its own judgment for that of the FDC.

In approving the FDC grant recommendation and as reflected in the resolution, the Board requested that the Foundation determine and report back to the Board, through the Executive Director, that it is satisfied with Wikimédia France’s progress towards addressing the points raised by the FDC. The Board requested that the Executive Director ensure the financial and governance practices are consistent with best practices.

We also wish to thank Wikimédia France for the work their staff, board, and volunteers have done to submit a proposal to the FDC. We particularly appreciate Wikimédia France’s approach to developing partnerships and the chapter’s focus on regional development. We value our partnership with Wikimédia France, which is an important stakeholder in the Wikimedia movement. Pundit (talk) 14:34, 28 June 2017 (UTC)Reply

Acknowledgement of the Board decision[edit]

@Pundit: Thank you for communicating the Board of Trustees’ decision.

The BoT considers the FDC process was thorough and proper. As regards to the APG process itself, we are still expecting the conclusions from the FDC’s Ombudsperson.

We regret however that the BoT is not answering the substance of our appeal. We have questioned in detail here on Meta the issues raised by the FDC staff assessment and then again by the final recommendation, and at this time neither the BoT nor the FDC have addressed our arguments. We would therefore welcome an open discussion of these issues so WMFr can work towards the movement’s goals in an effective and transparent fashion.

We welcome the APG site visit and the independent governance review as an opportunity to restore trust from the WMF. We will search and propose a panel of reviewers. This could even be a chance to renew our IDEAS label ahead of time.

Wikimédia France, its staff, board of directors and members are intent on continuing their work within the movement and, to that end, are calling for a quick resolution of this setback.

--EdouardHue (talk) 18:08, 2 July 2017 (UTC), on behalf of the Board of Wikimédia FranceReply

I have a suggestion at this point. It is certainly a difficult situation to have to look at "reviewers" to provide an assessment of the situation. I am not convinced the right solution would be that Wikimedia France contact IDEAS. Whilst I fully trust this organization to review some aspects of the situation, I believe a lot of the current issues the membership complains about would not be "captured" [2] by a non-wikimedian organization. For example... the membership currently complain strongly about the fact there is no means to freely discuss between members as the central mailing list has been very significantly moderated for over 6 months, a situation members view as censorship. More recently, a staff member is under disciplinary hearing for having refused to heavily censor the regular newsletter, which has been used by members to communicate about their actions for months. For an external organization... this might appear as fairly innocuous. if not "normal" by some standards. But in the Wikimedia world... this is typically not "normal". Our community is used to fairly high standards when it comes to transparency.
As such... I wonder if a good solution, beside an external governance and financial review by an independent party, might not be to constitute a panel of Wikimedia reviewers... with members taken from Wikimedia Chapters, in particular from the most developed ones who have very likely experienced some of the situation Wikimedia France met. Anthere (talk)
I couldn't agree more with @Anthere:. Externals may indeed be unable to grasp the general closedness as "unWikimedian", for lacking "Wikimedianness" themselves. The lack of transparency, and more recently the "technical difficulty" in communicating amongst ourselves because of the rather aggressive moderation on our internal mailing list, has been a constant point of contention in the association for quite some time now, and it needs to be assessed as much as other organizational review topics.
Additionally, I doubt the community at large, and more specifically the members of the French chapter (with perhaps the exception of our board of directors), would settle for a review board appointed by the French chapter ; as such, I can only recommend a review board picked by a party who would be considered neutral in this matter - and who better for that than representatives of Wikimedia Chapters ?
Alphos [bother me] 16:16, 4 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
[Sorry for poor english] Moreover, it seems to me that many of the discrepancies are not relevant of the field covered by the IDEAS labelling. To care an elephant, better rely on a veterinarian than on the family doctor. I deeply believe this chapter needs a very thorough investigation by stakeholders deeply involved in the movement, for many years, thus highly aware of its "philosophy" and the minimum commitments any one is compelled to. To build a skyscarper, first, check the fastness of the foundation work. Cordialement, et Hop ! Kikuyu3 (talk) 07:58, 5 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
I've just had another thought, that follows through my first one. Please correct me if my reasoning took a wrong turn at some point.
I'm absolutely unsure IDEAS would be appropriate in this situation, considering they've given us their label a few years ago :
  • either they failed to spot issues that led to the current situation, and they'll fail again at that task.
  • or they failed to spot said issues, and it's not in their best interest to admit the issues were there and are, in fact, still present - and given the current situation, there undeniably still are some issues present.
  • or the issues weren't present during their first review, having appeared since, but given the timeline of events that was published some time ago and hasn't been refuted since, reflecting years of I sincerely doubt that could somehow be the case.
As such, I renew my strong advise against relying on the same review organization (IDEAS), instead opting for other Wikimedia Chapters considered "neutral" to pick one for us.
Alphos [bother me] 16:54, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply
(edict conflict) IDEAS has certified the governance of Wikimédia France in March, 2016. The structure about which the FDC has expressed concerns was already partly in place. It is possible that IDEAS are not fully aware of the wikimedian context of the association, and of the expectations from the members about the governance principles of a chapter. I'd therefore strongly suggest to not rely on this structure for the audit. Litlok (talk) 17:00, 8 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

WMFR's latest member email[edit]

I've copied here a section of the latest Wikimedia France members' email (signed by five of the remaining seven Board members) which relates to the FDC process. I won't attempt to translate, but in summary, Wikimedia France appears to believe that Christophe Henner has been personally influencing the WMF to cut their FDC funding. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 22:00, 11 July 2017 (UTC)Reply

4. Notre position par rapport à la fondation

Contentieux avec Christophe Henner

Pour le CA et la direction, des motivations, autres que les arguments avancés, expliquent la baisse de la dotation du FDC cette année. En effet, nous estimons que la raison principale en est les agissements de Christophe Henner, ancien président de WMFr et actuel président de la fondation, envers notre chapitre, ses membres, et ses salariés.

Nous avons d’abord, dès 2016, tenté de le raisonner, en vain. Nous avons ensuite été contraints de signaler à la fondation des agissements graves de Christophe Henner à l’encontre de Nathalie Martin quand il était président de Wikimédia France et donc l’employeur de Nathalie, puis lorsqu’il est devenu président de la fondation. Un premier mail à ce sujet avait été envoyé par Émeric (président du CA à l’époque) à Christophe et Katherine Maher (directrice exécutive de la fondation), le 07/03, pour lui demander des explications sur ses agissements. Christophe, le 10/03, nous avait renvoyé une réponse laconique, sans éléments sur le fond. Nous avons relancé Christophe et Katherine le 19/03. Ce nouveau courrier est resté sans réponse. Émeric a signalé ces mêmes problèmes à Nataliia et Stephen (du Governance Committee de la fondation) le 12/05, sans réponse de leur part non plus. Un recours auprès du Board sur la recommandation du FDC est déposé le 07/06. La réponse du Board a été négative le 28/06 : celle-ci n’a pas répondu aux points et problèmes soulevés. Enfin, une plainte auprès de l’Ombudsperson (médiateur) concernant le processus FDC a été envoyée le 06/06. Celui-ci a posé des questions le 19/06 auxquelles nous avons répondu le 24/06, sans autres suites pour l’instant.

Il nous semble donc qu’aucune enquête contradictoire n’a été menée et que visiblement, tout est plutôt fait pour étouffer l’affaire. Pour un mouvement comme le nôtre qui met en avant ses valeurs d’inclusivité et de transparence, nous sommes très surpris que rien ne soit mis en place pour prendre en compte la souffrance des salariés et assurer la protection des femmes sur leur lieu de travail. Nathalie prendra les mesures qu’elle estime nécessaires suite à cette attitude.