Grants:APG/Funds Dissemination Committee/Nominations/2016/Q&A
As part of the 2016 self-nomination process to fill four vacancies on the FDC, this is the community question and answer page. Candidates who have self-nominated are asked to review and answer questions that are posed to them individually and as a whole group. The FDC staff kindly asks that these questions from community members are on-topic and relevant to the FDC nominations process. They should be focused on the skills and experiences needed by FDC candidates. Many thanks for your participation!
The Question & Answer process runs July 11–17, 2016:
Questions to all candidates
If you have questions that you wish to ask all candidates, please list them below.
- FDC applicants have experimented with programs undertaking editing with various direct and indirect financial supports in the past, and they are likely to continue. Facilitation and sponsorship of topic-focused editathons are one of many examples. Please share your understanding of the best and worst examples of paid editing of which you are aware. EllenCT (talk) 16:45, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- Do you know of any examples of paid editing which did not perform as well as they could have because of a particular flaw which you can describe? EllenCT (talk) 16:45, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- From my perspective (as the chair of the FDC for three terms), the FDC requires a lot of past experience in evaluating grants (not just writing grant proposals, which also is a must, but of having had a chance to read and compare 100+ applications for money), or extensive professional background in management, strategy, finance, or auditing. Could you please explain if you agree or disagree, and especially if you don't have them, write how you believe that your contribution can still be more valuable than that of those candidates, who do have such experience and background? Pundit (talk) 13:47, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- Diversity. The four to be appointed persons will join the five elected persons on the FDC. The current five elected persons are all man living in or coming from countries that participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. How far do you prefer diversity on the FDC that you would support all four women candidates, to not only balance on gender but also geography by adding someone from South-America, someone from North-America, someone from Africa and someone from Asia? Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 20:56, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- The founding framework of the FDC describes the committee as a center of excellence and states: “One of the functions of the FDC will be to highlight successes and share learning across entities in the movement, to increase overall effectiveness in achieving the movement’s goals.” In your view will the FDC have a function beyond making funding decisions? And if so, how do you plan to systematically share the knowledge accumulated at the FDC level for the benefit of grantees and the movement? Nicola Zeuner (WMDE) (talk) 08:25, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
- The FDC was established, among other things, for “holding entities to high standards in the plans they develop and in the implementation of their plans.” This is an important function, however standards and metrics can also have the negative effect of hampering local innovation. How are you going to achieve a balance between encouraging innovation and ensuring accountability?Nicola Zeuner (WMDE) (talk) 08:25, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
- First I must say that we have 13 outstanding and widely diverse candidates this year. May I ask that all 9 who are not appointed this year run for election next year? This is a followup on Ad's excellent question. Should we focus on diversity (not just gender and geographic, but in terms of skill set and experience and maybe even age) and developing new talent, or should we focus on meeting certain qualifications. The 1st choice (diversity) is sometimes called "affirmative action" and some of its critics say that it results in "reverse discrimination" and burdens the folks selected with the charge that they were "not the best qualified." The second option (qualifications only) is sometimes seen as being very mechanical and favoring those who have already been favored by the "birth lottery". Perhaps it is a matter of a trade off. Where do you your opinions fall in this matter? Smallbones (talk) 15:43, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
- An earlier FDC had cutted at the request of WMDE just with the amount that was provided for direct Community funding. Would such a thing happen with you too? How do you keep it with the direct support of the volunteers through local chapters or User groups? Marcus Cyron (talk) 11:33, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
- Because of what happened (see my request above) I see the FDC as enemy of the Volunteers. What would you do, that such things never happen again and I can have again trust in this organisation? Marcus Cyron (talk) 11:36, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
- Great question. Topic-focused ediathons are great. I do not equate them with paid editing. There is a policy for disclosure of interest if someone gets paid for editing. That will do.
- The policy for disclosure has been developed with the situation you describe.
- Agree, I graduated in Economics and Business Administration, had training in auditing, and have 20+ year professional experience in functions as financial-economic advisor or related functions. Pundit, I find I a bit weird for a BoT member to cross multiple lines of authority to step into this community question and answer page.
- Let's walk the talk on diversity and welcome the four women who had the courage to nominate themselves. They are all from different contintents and not from Europe. They bring all terrific experience within the Wikimedia movement to the FDC. The reason I nominated myself was because four people asked me to nominate myself. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 20:56, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- Excellent questions Nikki. Yes, the FDC has a function beyond making funding decisions, and already has done so in the past. The FDC does share information. The whole FDC process is public with here on meta, progress and impact reports here on meta, an evaluation portal here on meta, a learning pattern library here on meta. The FDC deliberations are behind closed doors, but the are timely published here on meta. Members of the FDC do attend and hold sessions at Wikimedia Conference and Wikimania. So, I do plan to have all information received by the FDC to be published, in an accessible, readable way. To systematically share the knowledge you ask for, will require to direct movement entities to provide the beginning of answers to some thought provoking questions (links to collective impact framework), provide building blocks for a strategic plan for the movement as whole (as the previous 5 year strategic plan mentioned in the FDC framework has expired.
- Excellent question Nikki. I feel your pain. Narrowing the measurement of impact to a restricted set of (global) metrics excluding measurement or metrics hampers innovation. To encourage innovation I urge affiliates to disclose their preferred model of accountability for innovation, to develop their preferred methods for measuring innovation and to come up with relevant metrics of innovation. Regarding accountability in general, we should prevent putting an excessive burden on reporting by affiliates, and keep accountability requirements proportional to amounts of funding received. Spending by WMF on APG is less than 10% of total financial resources in the Wikimedia movement spent each year. My preferred pitch line to donors would be that 90% of funds received by the WMF is burned in San Francisco on a couple of global programs and 10% of funds received by the WMF is wasted on fans, friends, and affiliated entities of the WMF through grants to keep the editing communities of Wikipedia happy.
- Thanks Smallbones. I participated in the election last year, and might as well run next year, if not appointed this time. In my view all 13 candidates do qualify for the FDC. The chairman of the Board posted on Facebook a message that he wanted to appoint all 13 if possible. That would double the FDC in size. That will happen if the chairman can convince his fellow board members to do so. There are of course some other good reasons to keep the size of the FDC limited to 9 members and appoint only 4 people now. For the FDC to operate as a team capable of serving the global Wikimedia movement a diversity in personalities, characters and skill is needed, as is diversity in cultural background.
- Hi Marcus Cyron. I do favor support for "community management" and/or "volunteer support programs". Your complaint about a past FDC recommendation should be addressed elsewhere through the appropriate channels, at the appropriate time by the appropriate person.
- Hi Marcus Cyron. You are disappointed about a past FDC recommendation. These questions and answers are supposed to be about my and fellow nominees skills and experience. As a former board member of WMNL we have had cuts in funding. The board took responsibility by revising programs, plans and budget. We were just grateful for receiving a ton of money in return for a grant application of 10 to 20 pages. Actually the cut triggered the contingency plan for the event, so no board time and energy was wasted on what to do.
Q1: Paid editing is a complex subject: I'm not against that per se, but it definitely adds complexity and requires double attention. For example, when Neutral Point of View is not required, paid editing is a much more easier issue. As Pierre said below, we must be wary of COI and POV-pushing, volunteered or paid does not really change the problem.
Regarding examples: several GLAMs are now working with chapters digitizing and proofreading books on Wikisource. It's much easier for the community becaus we don't have the NPOV issue. The Canadian chapter has a great partnership going with the National Archive of Québec, and archivists are helping proofreading books on a daily basis. Dominic is a "permament Wikipedian in Residence" at NARA, and I think it's great. Is all this "paid editing"? I'd like to think so, and I'm all for this kind of commitment and engagement by GLAMs professionals. I think our Wikimedia projects would benefit enormously if we convinced GLAMs that contributing to Wikipedia, Wikidata and Wikisource is part of their daily job as cultural institutions. I think of Wikimedia projects as "public goods", and I want educational and cultural institutions to think the same. We need them to accomplish our mission. 09:52, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Q3: my answer is pretty simple: I don't have those competences.
Therefore, I'm not a core candidate, others are definitely more suitable than me regarding those skills. But the committee is made by 9 members, and not all of them need to be professional grant evaluators: what I can bring is a long experience as a chapter trustee, a grant seeker, a wikimedian volunteer. Most of the affiliates that ask for APGs are chapters, and I think it's very important that the FDC has insights and deep understanding of "what is like to be in a chapter". More and more chapters are willing to work with universities and GLAMs, and there I can offer my contribution. Also, my personal diversity is a peculiar experience with Wikisource (and to a lesser extent Wikidata), which I think is crucial for next generation of Wikimedia programs and partnerships. -- 15:34, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
Q4: I agree that appointing members is a way of "correcting" the existing bias in our community, which tend to vote and elect "European White Men". I also have to say that there at least one male candidate that I, as a wikimedian, would love to see in the FDC, and I think it would better for the movement to bring him in. (I won't say the name but he's a great dancer). In the end, I'm convinced that diversity is crucial, but diversity plus experience plus vision is what we have to aim for. -- 09:28, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Q6: when I was in WMIT Board, we had little time and "mindshare" to proactively seek advice and counsel from other chapters. I think this is normal, but also not efficient and sometimes even dangerous: in my personal experience chapters (both volunteers and staff) can greatly benefit from each other. I know that EDs do have periodic online meetings, which I think is a great idea: these meetings could be replicated for chairpersons or other trustees. For example, the FDC has the power and the visibility to create pages here on Meta where chapters and affiliates can share basic info about themselves and their governance: when Meta is not enough, we will find another tool.
Q7: As I see it (very personal opinion) there are candidates here who are "diverse" (gender, geography, age) who are also the best qualified. It's kind of an easy choice ;-). Jokes aside, I think it's perfectly reasonable, as I stated above, to think that appointed members should "fill in the gaps" in skills and diversity, because often election reproduce bias already within the electing community.
I don't know yet if I will be a candidate next turn, but it may be.
Q8-Q9: Hi Marcus. I admit I don't know the specific case you're mentioning, but other have said that, at the end of the day, it is up to the chapter to decide, where to spend the money it's granted. Also, there are other easier grants to ask to Wikimedia;:the FDC is just the most formal and institutional way. Being a part of a UG myself, I'd go directly via these channels, double-checking with fellow volunteers about what we could and could not commit to. It is always difficult to show impact, and to report results, and to commit to doing these things on periodic basis. It seems the case you are mentioning is more complicated (community funding via a chapter?) so it's really difficult to properly answer you without knowing the details of what happened. But, for what is worth, I'm a big fan of honest communication and feedback, and within the FDC I do as much as possible to understand the motivations for a project (why, really, you want to do this?) the possible impact and the relative budget request. At the same time I would be very honest in showing my doubts and the things I don't understand. Feedback is important, because grant requests are not always sound, even if there is good will. Real communication is mandatory for trust, and it goes both ways.
I think the others have said well that the management and disclosure of conflicts of interests is the key aspect when it comes to paid editing, as well as the decisions of individual Wikimedia communities. (The communities are generally open to donations of content from GLAM institutions, even if for example a large cache of images from a given archive could result in that archive's material being overrepresented in illustrations on our projects contributing to systemic bias. Conversely, PR companies are generally discouraged from paid editing. It is an editorial decision to balance the resulting benefits and possible losses in the way we portray the world, and for the affiliates to either follow the existing community consensus or to seek one if they are proposing something potentially controversial). In the context of the FDC I would be looking to see if the applicant has considered the (community) context and risks of their proposed project.
I believe the FDC as a whole benefits from the experience of members having evaluated grants, but at the same time it needs to build on the lived experience of a cross section of our community to be a real guide for our movement. For the right level of diversity and representation it cannot fully rely on people with prior major grant evaluation experience.
On an individual level of an FDC-member experience in Wikimedia combined with an inquisitive mindset, the ability to ask the right questions and the dedication to go looking for answers, a sensitivity to how the world and the Wikimedia community works and the ability to express one's opinion are what is required, in my opinion. It is a definite plus if a subset members also have grant evaluation experience, and the presence of this experience needs to be guaranteed through the final selection of the new FDC members. I personally consider myself to have a (non-zero, but) limited experience in grant evaluation and that my selection would be based on my Wikimedian experience (leading the Affiliations Committee for a period, mostly), demonstrated skills and to a lesser extent my background (education and work). I am happy that the current field of nominees represents a healthy mix of the two components I outline, so the Board should be able to put together a selection for a diverse FDC. --Bence (talk) 16:46, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
This is quite an interesting suggestion, and I see the merit in it, though with interesting implications: one consideration to keep in mind is that the terms of the elected and appointed members are staggered, so the appointed members have to be a diverse group in themselves to ensure diversity put next to both the current group of elected members and an unknown group of the next elected members (also taking into account that the not appointed members of this round might very well stand for election next year and thereby the selection this year will inevitably influence the election the next time). Perhaps in the long run the FDC or Wikimedia can adopt a guideline similar to the one proposed by the European Commission (though it is not perfect either) in case of appointments, which could very well result in 4 new female Wikimedians joining the FDC.
I believe that sharing lessons is an on-going task. The FDC already engages in highlighting parts of the project proposals in their recommendations, and obviously all the reports are public here on Meta. However, for effective sharing, somebody has to process the available information and actively bring it to the attention of others in online and IRL discussions, blog posts, social media, etc. where it will actually be received. I think the FDC members are already filling this role through their participation in various Wikimedia events and learning days, and if selected I would continue to go down this path.
I am not sure that standards and metrics and innovation are mutually exclusive. I believe that grantees can take risks with untested programmes and can use metrics to ensure they can evaluate the results. It is a separate conversation how good our metrics are, but in general they are a useful guide we can use together with qualitative data.
Mostly answered with 4.
I am not sure which decision you refer to, but looking through the last few FDC recommendations on WMDE it doesn't seem that the FDC had found fault with WMDE's community support activities so the size of the cut and the size of that project is likely a coincidence. But regardless, future recommendations will have to depend on the quality of the proposals.
I do not think it is a good characterisation that the FDC is the enemy of the volunteers. The FDC is made up of volunteers who make a recommendation to an other group of volunteers (the Board) on how to allocate a small portion of the total funds in the movement. Those decisions can be tough and disappointing for the people who made the proposals, and it can be difficult to make those recommendations knowing the disappointment they might cause but this is the role these volunteers (the FDC and the Board) are selected into by the rest of the community. There are no enemies here.
- ad. 1 and 2.
- The best example of paid editing I know comes from Polish Wikipedia in which a group of editors had official collaboration with Polish National Bank. It was openly paid editing but with "managed" COI resulting in increase of quality and number of articles about basic macro-financial matters. See: w:pl:Wikipedia:Projekty instytucjonalne/Wiki-Ekonomia
- The worst example I heard was probably "w:en:Gibraltarpedia" with hidden COI, abusing the admin privileges in Wikipedia resulting a lot of distrust and bad media coverage around similar QRpedia related "city" projects.
- In general I think the key issue is not paid editing as such but rather handling COI which might or might not necessarily arise around it, bearing in mind that COI can also happens in projects with no paid editing component as well. I think project proposals to be financed from Wikipedia donors money and having upload/editing part should be carefully screened regarding potential COIs, but not necessarily be totally blocked, but rather its COI should be a part of its risk evaluation.
- ad. 3.
- I was a member of GAC for very long time and evaluated many applications. Probably not 100+ but for sure 50+. As an expert for grant evaluation process for EU CORDIS 6th and also 7th Framework Programme, I was involved in 3 intensive sessions - which consisted of reading 2-3 grant applications in each session overnight and writing my opinion about each of them. It was completely different - much more structured method of evaluation than what we have in Wikimedia world, but still my role was to judge if the grant did made sense from scientific POV but also if the project of budget was consistent and in agreement with research plan.
- ad. 4.
- Regarding this - I must agree that diversity is important for FDC and Wikimedia movement in general - and for sure I am not the best choice from this POV.
- ad. 5.
- First of all - thanks to the transparency of the workflow of FDC - anyone have access to the process in almost every detail. I mean deliberations, discussions and recommendations are all available on meta (see for example: Grants:APG/Proposals/2015-2016 round1/Deliberations) and this is the basic method of FDC to "share learning across entities in the movement". Maybe, the problem is that there is way too much of it for "average wikipedian", therefore probably very few people (except boards of chapters, responsible employees and WMF Board members) really read all these documents - so some briefings and summaries could be useful. In fact current FDC is doing this in a form of conference sessions (during Wikimanias and Wikimedia Conferences) and IRC office hours. Maybe a good idea would be to add to this some sort of short bulletin or own FDC blog.
- ad. 6.
- I generally disagree that the pushing of standards and metrics must hamper local innovation. This is false contradiction. Good standards in applications and reports should be for sure kept if we are saying about spending millions of dollars given to us in goodwill by our donors. Regarding currently used metrics - especially those automated ones - I have sometimes mixed feelings. For example instead of mechanical measurement of number of pictures uploaded as an effect of the GLAM cooperation I would rather opt for closer look on the quality, uniqueness and really useful reuse of them. Metrics are just merely the tools - and it all depends how they are implemented. If too mechanically - they can indeed result in missing the point and falsified negative evaluation of good projects. On the other hand - if there is really new good innovative project - there is always a way to find a good method of evaluating the results. So - again I see no contradiction between standards and supporting innovations as long as they are both implemented in thoughtful way.
- ad. 7
- Well, this question should rather be asked to WMF Board members who will be selecting us :-) If I were them I would like to have FDC which would be able to do its job. So, the good set of needed skills is, I guess, the primary criterion, but if it is possible to achieve it with more diverse FDC than a less one - then for sure such issues as geographical/cultural background and gender should be considered as well.
- ad. 8 and 9.
- I don't know to what exactly problem this question is addressed. I wasn't following FDC - WMDE relationships except SignPost article from 15 January 2014 and the following discussion on wikimedia-l list. Anyway, I think in general that chapters' projects and programs regarding support of communities should be effective. Not only producing some fun for communities but also be measurable of either new content for Wikimedia projects and/or increase of editing activity and number of retained users. If there are concerns that a chapter is spending money for inefective projects in that terms - the FDC might have to make difficult and unpopular decision of cutting money for such projects even if they are popular in local communities. It doesn't mean that FDC is enemy of volunteers, although it might be received by affected communities as such. I am not saying it was the case of WMDE, but I saw 2014/2015 and 2016 annual WMDE applications and discussions around it where I see pushing more and more to have measurable results - which I believe is actually good.
- Question 1&2
- Paid editing is a tricky topic: I'll just overstate a bit and say there is no shared consensus among the communities that paid editing is a problem. For example Wikimedia Commons have opt out of the disclosure policy commons:Commons:Requests for comment/Alternative paid contribution disclosure policy. I guess the problem we all have witnessed is POV-pushing and COI (volunteered or paid does not really change the problems).
- However I'm not sure, where this discussion is leading us in regards of evaluting grants application. Of course, FDC has to understand whether the outcome of the grant is related to the funding requested.
- Editathons and GLAM partnership are good example of possible paid-editing, and to my understanding evaluation of thoses programs is realated to outcomes and track history of the affliate/grantee on the same kind of programs.
- Question 3
- I partly disagree with that. I think the FDC is the sum of the skills of the individuals in the group. The FDC as a group needs to know how to evaluate grants application, understands how strategy is done (and the possible outcomes of a given strategy), etc. One individual won't have it all perfectly, what we are looking for is building the best possible group. Moreover, we should not forget that FDC composition is done in a way that at least 4 of its members are experienced members. That said there is a minimum subset of skills to have in order to have an easy onboarding but it depends on who is appointed.
- Speaking for myself, I can bring skills about evaluation and understanding metrics on various context (never forget the context), I know how grants are written by the grantee, and I have frequently challenged draft ideas or program or financials in the past, I also have a wikimedian background on GLAM, Photo contests (I runned WLM several time, was international jury several times for WLM, WLA, etc.).
- Question 4
- In my opinion, appointed seats are a good occasion to bring diversity that you did not have through elections. I think we have a good pool of candidates, but it's not perfect, especially in term of geographical diversity (yes that does not help me, but I guess what matters is finding the best group, with or without me). So my advice, appoints people bringing different skills and various cultural background (and good luck with the choice, and no Christophe you don't get a 12 faced dice to decide!).
- Question 5&6
- The FDC primary goal is to provide funding recommandations. This gives to the FDC a position of leadership in the movement through its recommandations it shape how we see potentially impactful organization. In thoses recommandations, we can find examples of the hight standards expected by the committee "The FDC would like to specifically highlight BiblioWiki (Amical’s partnership work with libraries) as a program that has demonstrated great success, both in terms of content and also in its ability to create self-sustaining partnerships with many cultural organisations". I think the recommandations, and all the APG documentation is already a gold mine for thoses who take the time to read it, i.e. the problem is more surfacing the informations. I also believe that people tries to do their best, so if the committee do not do that on a systematic level, there is probably a good reason (volunteer time is limited ?). So coming to my mind as solution for that: 1. Sessions during "leanring days" in conference such as Wikimania and Wikimedia Conferences, 2. Crowd source to people who reads all this (I pretty sure many chapters read almost all the material and some must already be doing the work for internal purpose).
- Well true, taken the wrong way evaluation can hinder innovation. Global metrics is a good idea, but we need to some improvement:
- Different strategies for the grantees (Larger set among which they can choose)
- Metrics definitions needs to be accepted (Otherwise it will be discussed over and over)
- Reporting should encourage more to focus on long term impact than just current years program first outcomes. Innovation is about thinking long term!
- Also we have to keep in mind that indicators are what they are they indicate thing, they evaluate trends, they don't capture the full stories and they will never do that. I have seen positive changes in that in the way we are asked to report, where the story telling is taking an important place, and it should, because FDC needs also the stories behind the metrics (at least in my job, when I do consulting for clients, I generally analyze results based on their metrics, and I often ask "What's the story behind this improvement or this regression?" and it's always very interesting to listen because it's the part where you learn the most).
- Question 7
- I don't think appointements to the FDC is a question of "equality of chances". It's a question of getting more qualities to the group (diversity should be part of that). And by the way, Thank your for the kind words about all the candidates.
Q1 I don't see editathons as a form of paid editing. Costs incurred in editathons are usually for venue, food for participants and a bunch of other things - participants are not paid to edit.
Q2 Because our understandings of paid editing differ, I am not able to identify any specific examples of flaws in 'paid editing' workshops. Speaking more generally, edit-a-thons can have flaws, but these are not related to paid editing. I've been a resource person at editing workshops in India where the motivation of the participants varied widely; some just wanted to attend a Wikipedia workshop without specifically knowing what editing meant. Communicating our complex editing rules in a way that makes sense to a newbie is always a challenge. Knowing which rules to explain during a Wikipedia Editing 101 Workshop and which can be saved for an advanced workshop is another challenge. And finally, some edit-a-thons produce more content than others, specially if the editing group is more motivated or interested to produce content. We've seen this backfire in India during an education program done in collaboration with universities - but we've seen this succeed in other countries.
Q3 I have to say I don't fully agree with this formulation. Some of the best grantmakers I've worked with in foundations had none of these skills. But they had other skills needed to make good grants. They had domain knowledge or expertise. They had a vision. They had clarity - they knew what they were trying to achieve, what change they wanted to make, and what kind of institutions or programs they needed to support to make that change. Yes, you could call that strategy, but it's more than that. They were able to sniff out potential through a combination of analysis, research and exploration. They asked the right questions. They had sound instincts. Of course, I agree that the FDC overall needs some strategy, management, finance and auditing skills, but I do think good grantmaking is more than this. I think the right combination of 9 persons, with complementary skills, can create grantmaking magic. (Sorry to be cheesy.)
Q4 and Q7 On diversity. I don't think it's an either-or. First I want to distinguish between 'affirmative action in universities' and 'diversity on the FDC'. In India, where I live, we have a large population of people who do not have the opportunities to get the education they want - usually because of a combination of class and caste factors. We have affirmative action policies in universities - called quotas - that partly correct the biases that class and caste cause. This has been a very controversial policy, even resulting in riots at one point. However, I agree with this policy, without which millions of Indians would not go to college simply because they were born poor - or into a particular caste. Or both, as is often the case.
However, when it comes to the FDC, I see it somewhat differently. The FDC consists of just 9 people, so each individual must be carefully chosen for the qualities and qualifications he or she can bring to the table. The end goal is balance and roundedness and sound decision-making, and diversity is a contributing factor to all these. Diversity is often positioned in a way where only candidates from Asia, Africa and Latin America or only women are seen to bring diversity to the table. Why is this the case? Diversity can be of many things - age, language, gender, geography, ability, education, professional qualifications and so on. If we had nine financial auditors on the FDC from nine different countries, would the FDC be diverse? No. I won't press the point except to say that all candidates need to be looked at through the dual lens of qualifications/experience + diversity. Looking at someone as merely a 'diversity' candidate (without qualifications) is not meaningful; it somehow takes away their merit, their experience, the fact that they may be qualified anyway, regardless of gender or geography. It's really not an either-or for me.
Q5 The FDC's primary objective is to make funding decisions. However, if disseminating not just funds, but also learnings, can steer other Wikimedia organizations towards excellence, that is always of use. But is that the FDC's role? Isn't that the role of organizations that apply, to document and disseminate learnings, both for their own communities and for the wider movement? The FDC can and does encourage applicants and organizations that seek and receive funds to share their learnings (in ways that bring home those learnings). But don't have a strong view on this; whatever makes sense.
Q6 This is a challenge that all grantmaking programs face, unless they are extraordinarily conservative, and refuse to support anything but the repeatedly tried-and-tested. But to some extent, it's a false dichotomy. Innovation can and does lead to results - as we see day in and day out both with 'disruptive' digital technologies and with tiny, incremental innovations that can lead to big results. The key question is this: how does one assess whether or not the applicant has the capacity to manage big 'innovation'? It's not that difficult, if one assesses the merits and potential of an' innovative' idea, the capacity of the applicant to manage this innovation, and potential risks. In fact, this is where something like the FDC - with consensus-based decision-making - is really useful because it safeguard's against individual risk-taking personalities. Meaning, I may be risk-friendly, someone else may be risk-averse, but the possibility of a discussion lowers our individual preferences and allows for many more aspects to be considered before coming to a decision. I'm putting 'innovation' in quotes both because it's such a buzzword nowadays, and also because many organizations quietly tinker away, fixing program flaws with deep insights - but these are never considered innovations. But also, metrics don't necessarily squash innovation - the trick is ensuring that the right metrics are used, and some leeway provided for experimentation.
Q7 Answered above with question 4.
Q8 Without going into the specifics of what's happened, here are a few things this question raised for me. One, there are many pools of funding support within Wikimedia, not only the FDC. Individual engagement grants, Rapid grants, Project and event grants, and others. So there are many direct sources of community funding. Speaking more broadly, it's always been my hope that chapters-communities-user groups within a geography will work together; that sometimes happens, and sometimes does not. However, when the FDC cuts an organization's budget, it is up to the organization to decide where it will apply that budget cut - the FDC does not dictate that.
Q9 This question made me sad, because I see the FDC as a body of volunteers, not as separate from - and certainly not - an enemy of volunteers. The FDC already communicates its decisions and why it made these, and individual members also comment on these from time to time. If you looked at the FDC's decisions as a whole, rather than one particular case, and understood how volunteers are trying to empower other volunteers and organizations in the movement, would this not help restore trust to some extent?
I appreciate there is a spectrum of activity including editathons and content contests where there is some material benefit involved to participation - albeit the material reward in some cases is only a plate of biscuits. To my mind the difference between this and "paid editing" is that, aside from the value of the benefit, in these cases the "sponsors" have no expectation of controlling the content that is added.
Q3 I'm not sure whether I am meant to be one of the candidates with these skills or not ;) So let me start by saying that a key skill for FDC members is reading proposals, establishing context, identifying what has been left unsaid, working out what to accept at face value and what to challenge - which is what I have been doing as a Board member. Of course as a board member you don't make a grant allocation at the end but you do still make important decisions (like, whether to pass the annual budget, or whether to restructure your staff, or many other examples ).
While having people with professional expertise on the FDC is very helpful, I don't think prior experience of significant grantmaking, or finance, strategy, or audit, should be a requirement. A friend of mine who trains councillors in local government says that being an effective councillor is largely about the exercise of advanced common sense. I think the same is true for Wikimedia committees. Values, attitudes, approach and judgement are more important than specific skills.
Q4 Yes, I think this selection is an opportunity to broaden the diversity of the FDC, both in terms of gender and of geographical breadth. (And yes, I appreciate that if the WMF follow this advice it doesn’t help my own chances of them appointing me.)
Q5 Two answers to this. First there is a chance that the FDC effectively ends up making decisions on issues beyond grantmaking. Say chapters ask for APG funds to invest in fundraising (for instance). If the FDC tends to support some kinds of fundraising and not others then that could effectively come to define a movement fundraising strategy. That's not necessarily a good thing in my view, as the FDC doesn't have a mandate to do so. The FDC needs to be cautious and avoid "filling in the gaps".
But specifically in terms of sharing successes: I agree, the FDC at present doesn't do a huge amount of this. There is plenty of raw material in the FDC bids and reports, as the form currently requests success stories and obviously they are read thoroughly. They are also shared in other fora e.g. conferences. Probably there is more that can be done - a selection of the most impressive successes (or most important learnings) noted in each round, like an FDC Greatest Hits album for instance?
Q6 Good question! FDC grantmaking should be about impact. The basic problem is that we still don't have a coherent framework for thinking about what impact actually means - which is a prerequisite for effective metrics. To my mind, the impact of a contribution to a Wikimedia project depends on the reach and quality of the contribution and the importance of the subject, together with how much it addresses existing biases in coverage. But there are tensions within that: is creating a featured article on an obscure subject in a small language "worth" more or less than adding a new paragraph to a high-traffic article on a big Wikipedia? (And that is even before you start looking at organisation measures like volunteer capacity, leadership & governance and sustainability.)
Until there is a consensus around some of these issues, metrics are a big challenge. I am glad that the WMF is actively developing the "global metrics" but I think there is a long way to go before FDC decision making can depend too closely on these numbers.
Regarding innovation - yes, I believe the FDC should support entities taking risks and trying new things, in a proportionate and planned way. At this level, entities should be aware of the risk profile of their activity - and FDC should be keen to support new ideas within an affiliate's overall portfolio of activity, even if the plan highlights significant operational risks
Q7 Not sure I have much to add to my answers to Q3 and Q4. I think diversity is an important criterion in its own right, alongside other selection criteria.
If I'm not appointed this time, I am not planning on going away, and I hope many of the other applicants don't either.
Q8, Q9 I don't see anything particularly critical of the programmes you refer to in last year's FDC feedback for Wikimedia Deutschland. For instance, they didn't say to WMDE "we are funding everything apart from this programme". So it was very much WMDE's decision what to do as a result of the FDC allocation. I've been in a similar position myself and it isn't pleasant deciding what to cut - however it is for every movement entity to work out its own priorities.
Speaking about the FDC decision on WMDE last year: Generally the FDC seemed concerned about the lack of detail in Wikidata costs and the value for money of all non-Wikidata work. Overall I would have preferred to see more detail in both proposal and feedback on the non-Wikidata aspects of the programme. I also am not entirely sure whether FDC members were justified in putting a heavy weight (as they apparently did) on WMDE's method of attributing overheads.
Q3: While I agree that at least some members of the FDC should have grantmaking experience, as well as grant-requesting experience, I do not believe that it is the core, most desirable attribute of an FDC member. The most important attribute is a proven track record of actively participating in a positive way in consensus-based decision-making. There are many different formats for grantmaking, many of which do not require or even seek reviewer consensus on which programs should be funded or by how much; indeed, some don't even bring the proposal reviewers together, and others create a shortlist of "funding-worthy" grant requests with preliminary reviews.
I agree that all of the skill sets you mention in your post are valuable and important to have within the FDC, and given the range of candidates and the continuing members, the Board should have no difficulty in ensuring that such skill sets are well represented. My own personal experiences are focused on management, assessment and analysis of risks and benefits, certain types of financial strategies (including multi-year strategies), and I am responsible for the daily management of a portfolio valued at several multiples of the FDC grantmaking envelope.
Q4: I may have a bit of a conflict of interest in answering this question. What I will say is that I am thrilled to see three other women with such diverse life, professional and volunteer experience who have put themselves forward, and I am honoured to be in their company. Indeed, I think that each of the candidates could bring something to the table, and I do not envy those responsible for making the shortlist, or the Board itself, in their decision-making.
- Apologies for the delay in responding to these last questions
Q5: The FDC highlights many successful (and occasionally not-so-successful) activities of the applicant organizations through a few means. The staff reports to the FDC, which are publicly posted and reviewed by FDC members, include valuable insights into the programs of each entity, discussing both their strong and weak points. The FDC itself has developed a practice of writing succinct but focused narratives that explain the committee's reasoning for its recommendations, and include feedback that is intended to be useful beyond just the specific applicant. As well, the FDC has given positive reinforcement to applicant organizations that have documented what they have learned when carrying out programs (including those that documented programs deemed unsuccessful) and recognizes the value of these documents to the movement as a whole. Speaking personally, I am very interested in considering additional ways that the FDC can support the continued sharing of experiences amongst WMF-related entities, and I have recently advocated for the FDC to undertake a serious review of its methodologies to ensure that the committee is supporting the applicants and the movement in growing, sharing knowledge, and continuously improving.
Q6: I think there are some big challenges in finding metrics that can be considered widely comparable, since the activities of WMF affiliates are so varied, and have so many focuses. Nonetheless, I do think it's important that even when a new and innovative project is initiated, there should be some concept of what it hopes to achieve, and where it is headed. I am a big fan of starting small with new initiatives that have fairly limited goals; this is how activities like "Wikipedia loves Monuments" started, where many of the projects proposed and/or selected as part of the 2015 Community Wishlist Survey began. The growth of these various projects came over time, expanding as other affiliates or editing communities saw their positive outcomes. Standards are a bit trickier, and I think the FDC (and the entire Community Resources/grant-making department), possibly in association with the Affiliates Committee, can probably better articulate the types of standards that would be reasonably expected at different levels of organizational development. For example, it would probably be useful for affiliates to know at what point they should be having external financial audits, what accounting practices would be expected for different levels or types of funding, what expectations would be at different levels to ensure good continuity in governance, and so on. As more of our affiliate organizations mature, these kinds of structural "standards" become more of a necessity to ensure continued success.
Q7: Smallbones, I completely agree that this is an excellent group of candidates. I hope candidates who are not appointed will seriously consider volunteering to participate as an advisor or committee member for one of the other great grant programs, all of which are looking for volunteers. Their participation in those programs will bring knowledgeable and informed support to critically important programs that are the "gateway" to affiliates participating at the FDC level. These other grant programs are actively seeking out committee members right now, and I really hope that the candidates don't wait for the better part of a year to share their knowledge and talent.
As I look at the candidates who have put themselves forward, every one of them has skills and experience that would be useful for their participation on the FDC, regardless of their "diversity"; I will say that the presence on the FDC of a member from sub-Saharan Africa, and a member from South America, brought perspectives and knowledge to the table that would have otherwise been missed. Their different experiences helped to inform all of us, and to inform the decisions of the committee. I find it concerning that more than 20% of the questions to candidates imply that anyone who doesn't fit some pre-conceived mold is unsuitable for participation on the FDC, or that they divorce certain skill sets from other characteristics. If we have to have molds, they should start out with "candidate has a successful track record working as part of a team" and "candidate has a track record of good decisions made under time pressures" rather than "candidate comes from Country X" or "candidate has applied for or reviewed Z number of grants" or "candidate identifies as _____ gender".
Q8-9: Like other candidates, I'm not sure which FDC recommendation about WMDE that concerns you. The grants provided as a result of FDC recommendations are unrestricted grants (even when the requesting entity says that it will only use them for specific projects), and as such it is the decision of the individual organizations on what that money is spent on. Many FDC applicants also have additional financial supports separate from the annual plan grants, including WMDE, and they have considerable flexibility. Speaking personally, I have thought it was generally a good thing when a chapter redirected funds from projects that were not meeting expectations toward other initiatives that had greater potential for impact. All of the members of the FDC are volunteers, and their volunteer experiences are quite diverse, so it does not shock me that there will be times that other individuals within the WMF volunteer community will disagree with their recommendations, but I find that characterizing FDC members as "enemies" is unhelpful at best.
Q1 & Q2: I have never experienced such kind of editathons before and I do not agree to this, first this is against Wikipedia's principle, which is VOLUNTEERING, anything is paid for, is no longer volunteering. I do not see any good examples in this, you can have grant to make a better place for editathons or to run contests which will get more editors and volunteers than whom you will pay for. Moreover, we want to have a community which shares problems and ideas, how could a paid editor stay for any of these after his mission is done, and why he would do it.
Q3:Agree, but not necessarily to have an "extensive professional background in management, strategy, finance, or auditing." If so, all the FDC members will always be of related professions, What about humans of humanities and other fields. I have been responsible for Wikipedia Education Program, a very good example of how to manage a huge program like the one in Egypt with only 5 volunteers. The process never ends at teaching students how to edit Wikipedia. Once phase one ends, I start planning for semi-annual conference to celebrate students- twice a year. I always have big numbers of students and arranging a celebration for this number requires an accurate budget planning for their certificates, souvenirs, catering, conference hall reservation, transportation. Besides, I run the program with two other leaders which requires coordinating with them around the budget because each has his plans for his students. I have been running the program for 3 years and still, and I have never faced any problems with any financial matters because things are handled wisely and based on a clear strategy between the team members, and that is how things work if finance is not your profession or was your field of study. It is about your experience which is related to your capacity to learn and take the right decision. One last thing, I understand how important to have a background in the previously mentioned fields, but the FDC membership is more about how you judge and analyse what you have, not only on financial basis.
Q4: Diversity is what I love the most about Wikimedia. How it brings people from all over the world together in one place doing related things, having the same principles and values. What else anywhere does this? And years ago, Wikimedia foundation has been supporting women, so this is expected and always expected. Thank you for this opportunity.
Q5: Yes, it might not be a direct function beyond making funding decisions, but accepted or rejected grants are learning examples of the criteria of selection, so it helps to "highlight successes" in the sense you have mentioned.May Hachem93 (talk) 23:12, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Q6: Each project has its risks, and having a team with diversity of experiences and backgrounds would help decision making. I do not see any contradictions between innovation and accountability. On the contrary, innovative projects are always welcomed from their target audience, especially if the grant is requested by big chapters. May Hachem93 (talk) 23:31, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Q8&9: I see the former committee's decision regarding your above mentioned topic does not make the FDC an enemy. They must had their reasons, you can never prejudge.May Hachem93 (talk) 20:31, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
Q1: They are fine to an extent. I look at them as outreach oriented projects. As long as the financial obligation is reasonable for the number of attendees, they are similar to outreach oriented requests to any public event or program. The benefit should be measured in raising awareness, relevance and educating the attendees instead of merely generating content (paid or otherwise) through editing at the event.
Q3: I already have been reading a lot of those grants as an admin on Meta. My background, and current occupation is in management and finance. I believe it gives me familiarity with budgets, reports and measuring impact. I have no problem deciphering through tomes of budgets and reports, and consolidating large grants into its impactful parts. If needed, I can help with summarising large and complex grants for the team and bringing important factors in to view. I have a history of taking up difficult discussions which also might be an asset for the FDC, in case there are any complex situations.
Q4: I am all for diversity. But it should be organic and natural. I've always had a problem in appointing people "only" because of their nationality or gender. It makes us no different from any corporation who goes out looking to fulfil some "minority quota" and puts the next person in line to fulfil it, instead of any deserving candidate that might or might not make all the cuts. It usually involves brining people from outside who don't have a grasp of the culture and the movement and putting them in the middle of a heated, complex environment. Some adapt, some don't. Theo10011 (talk) 03:07, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Q6: I personally just want to help review grants and budgets.
Q7: As I mentioned earlier, I am opposed to diversity just for the sake of diversity. My opinion might be in the minority - I've looked at Wikipedia as a meritocracy. The nationality, race, gender of an editor never mattered, neither did their education or skill level, only thing that mattered was what they did and what they could prove by citing links. We lose that unique quality the more we try and chase these minority quotas and have a diverse crowd at every level to have outward appearance of fuller-representation. Appointment based in skills and experience are slightly different because they tend to relate to real-world experience, they bring in professional insights that might be helpful for a committee or board to function in the real world.
Bringing in people from outside to fulfil quota yields mixed results. Some candidates have been good, but most times, it take a good deal of time learning about the community and finding their voice. By the time they are familiar, they are replaced by another more fitting minority candidate to make the next quota. This is true for Wikimedia and the outside world. Someone organically part of that world is a much better fit than an outside appointment, they wouldn't need as much time to find their place. Age, I don't believe has been an issue, or a noticeable enough one. I am not entirely opposed to factors like gender and geography as basis, there are perceived benefits there but they should not be the only focus. I guess a perfect candidate lies at the intersection of these requirements, real-world, wikimedia experience should matter slightly more than where or what they were born as. Theo10011 (talk) 04:41, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Q8: I don't know the particulars of this grant you mention. Generally, I would say volunteers can apply separately or form their own user groups etc..
Q1 & Q2: The topic of paid editing is a bit tricky. As sometimes i deem it necessary to get some jobs done, especially in this day and era where people do not have the space of time and are even struggling to make ends meet. It is only reasonable that such individuals will take up roles as a WIR in an institution rather than just volunteer. In as much as we wish that volunteers play these roles, i think we need to evolve as a movement around that subject. As it is very unrealistic for an individual to abandon his/her job to volunteer for such a cause, however if an annual grant will involve a project in the course of the year that entails such roles, then there should be clear cut rules to guide the level or extent of their participation.
Q3: I somewhat think its necessary for one to have a prior knowledge in such related areas as such abilities to make good judgment and make sense out of grant requests are built over time through experience. It doesn’t necessarily mean because its reading, understanding the context and making recommendations anybody can just offer their opinion and it makes their judgement valid. Analyzing a grant will require more than just synthesizing the information, it requires knowledge to adjudicate the need for the grant, how soon projects mentioned intend to be executed, are there any external factors that may affect the grant given when due to be executed (economic indicators like inflation, exchange rate risks, etc.) and the ability to indicate that due to such factors do we give the grant in tranches or just give it all at once. Even ones ability to breakdown a budget and conduct tests to ensure that the proposed budget meets the demands on the grant requires some good financial analytical skill. I have been a victim of bad appraisal for a grant because a committee member didn’t know what he/she was talking about and it took a lot of explanations to prove something that could be easily comprehended. Flixtey (talk) 11:16, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Q4: Diversity is very crucial for the effective scrutiny from the FDC and the survival of the affiliates network. It's evident that most of the representations in the movement are from a particular majority (Males, Global North, etc.) that started this movement long before others joined. However we all know it is important to give the upcoming minority the opportunity to share their point of views and bring a whole new perspective to the table. As their problems may be peculiar and pertain to only those of that classification, which of course must be considered if we intend to grow. Flixtey (talk) 11:16, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Q5: This function even though indirect and not the core reason the FDC exists, is quite useful to improve learning in the movement and to easily inform the movements decisions and direction on what will likely work. I must acknowledge the processes of the FDC already ensures the existence of this through several streamlined feedback mechanisms put in place, and the better part of this is, the entire process is open and transparent. However what we could possibly do in the future is to have a documented forum similar to the learning patterns that allows both the community (grant recipients) and the FDC to highlight certain key learnings or findings related to a project or grant that are useful, to the rest of the community.
Q6: This question is very important and requires some great attention especially now that we are in our growth stages with more emerging communities. Metrics are quite useful in obtaining results and sometimes ensuring the continuity/sustainability of projects. However on the topic of innovation it's sometimes very difficult to put a straight measure and assume it will work, innovation in itself will mean something new hence may require new reforms or some new conventions. Putting a metrics that have been developed overtime or from past experiences may not work here as it may require more than just a measure to ascertain the viability of such a project. One part of the FDC may allow easy tackling of such issues through the diversity on the committee, another bit may require further probing into those areas and opening up to listen, learn or improvise to ensure such a project has been giving the necessary care before further putting out recommendations.
Q7: The FDC is a committee that requires efficiency from the selected individuals that fill each slot. I support diversity and am in for that at the FDC, however i stand for a diversity that completes the roundness of the table and not just by mere fact of location, sex or age. I believe applicants should be appraised wholly reflecting all the skills and requirements for this role, considering diversity traits (such as sex, age, location, skill sets, etc.) that will ensure the level of success we expect in the recommendation process. I believe considering every function of diversity to appraise applicants will breed confidence and fairness in the selection process.
Q8 & Q9: Well i think a cut on your grant doesn't make the FDC an enemy. I think the WMF has tried to reimagine the grant process and made it easy for all kinds of people to apply for a grant. It is only reasonable if individuals are encouraged to use these mediums made available in seeking for grant rather than allowing a pool of funds to stay with a usergroup or chapter and not directly used on a project. It won't be plausible to have the other grant programs sit with huge fund allocations and not being able to dispense because people are going through affiliates. Which may in turn affect the FDC's allocation limits whereas grants designated for such people sit unattended to. This and for several reasons could translate in a cut on a grant by the FDC and a suggestion to lead such people to grant programs that may suit their needs or requests.
Q1: If the question is "paid editing" as in staff of GLAM organizations or Wikimedian's in Residence, I am fine with these types of projects as along as there is appropriate disclosure. The reason for my support for this type of "paid editing" is that it will not always be possible to find volunteers who have the time and financial independence to work on complex GLAM projects. For edit-a-thon's my preference is for volunteers to run these types of events when possible, but we need acknowledge that "paid" individuals from a chapter, a GLAM organization or an educational partner are involved with edit-a-thon's so again disclosure about their role, if even if they are not directly editing is important.
Q2ː I think anyone doing edit-a-thon's with volunteers or "paid" staff should see what we can learn from this evaluation report on edit-a-thon's . For me if an edit-a-thon is taking place, those hosting the edit-a-thon need to work towards generating quality content and ensuring that the edit-a-thon is cost effective given all the cost, including any staff cost (chapter, Wikimedian in Residence, or any other staff supported by movement funds).
Q3ː I have all the skills listed in the question and in addition, I have had the privilege of seeing some of the best work of our chapters and therefore I have an understanding of chapter programs and what type of support they need to be successful.
Q4ː I fully support adding diversity to the FDC. I have seen the FDC work best when the full richness of our wiki communities are represented on the FDC by individuals with appropriate experience to the work of the FDC.
Q5ː The FDC process provides feedback to both the chapters and to our community. This is done in two partsː The staff report  on the proposals to the FDC and the recommendations narrative of the FDC . These two documents have been under continuous improvements by the FDC staff and the FDC to provide feedback to the Chapters and the community on what is working and therefore funded and what is not working or needs improvement. The goal is to continue to have these two document provide relevant feedback to the applying chapter and the community so we can encourage what is working to improve the quality of content on the wikis and support our volunteers and partners. Another important part of the process is the reporting that Chapters, who are granted annual plan funds, do to the Foundation, the FDC and the community. These documents also provide important information on what is working to improve the wiki projects and where the challenges are. So taken together, a significant amount of information is now available to our Chapters and community as an integral part of the FDC process. I support each of these types of sharing back to our community and if selected to the FDC, plan on continuing to share the best of our movement and areas of improvement.
Q6ː I think when you review the recommendations  of the FDC , they are concerned with both accountability and innovation. For mature Chapter programs, clear accountability for outcomes on getting quality content added to the wikis or supporting and building our editing community are essential to our growth and sustainability. This does not impede thoughtful, affordable innovations to try different things to add quality content to the wikis or to support or encourage volunteers. I think the FDC has attempted do both in its funding recommendations and if selected to be a member of the FDC to I will continue to request accountability for how movement funds are spent and support innovation.
Q7ː I agree that the nominated field of candidates for the FDC is exceptional. My goal is to volunteer to help the Wikimedia movement in a way that best uses my experience and skills, so if not selected for the FDC I will continue to look for opportunities to be helpful to the movement. As to your second question, given the quality of the candidates, no inference of compromise is helpful. Each of the candidates brings a unique and valuable set of skills to this process and if selected to be a part of the FDC I believe they will be thoughtful and contributing member's of the FDC. Given the breadth of the candidates for the FDC is it possible to select four members of the FDC that adds diversity to the FDC and adds to the range of skills and experience to the FDC to continue its important work.
Q8ː Annual Plan grants are given as unrestricted funding to a chapter, so the chapter can make the choice about how the money is spent. When the FDC recommends a reduction in funding, it is up to the chapter to decide which of its programs will be impacted by those cuts. If I become a member of the FDC then I will support funding reductions, when appropriate, and expect that a chapter will make a decision on how to best allocate spending cuts among its programs. The question of how much community support is appropriate for a chapter is a discussion that needs to take place between the volunteers, the Board of the Chapter and its ED. The FDC will highlight areas of concern about how movement funds are being spent, but the question of if the chapter should fix the program or cut the spending is a chapter decision.
Q9ː The FDC is not an "enemy" of volunteers. The FDC is composed of volunteers and wants to see our community of editors supported by both chapters and the Foundation. The FDC makes recommendations based on the information available to the FDC, but decisions about how money is spent are made at the chapter level, so I encourage you to have you and any editors who feel the same way you do about the spending cuts, to have a conversation with your chapter Board and leadership about the spending cuts.
- I understand paid editing is not strictly forbidden and every community has its own customs and rules for it, but nevertheless it is a very sensitive topic for affiliates (and for affiliate funding), and one the FDC should care about when it could involve organizations other than the affiliate itself. That said, I think it is complicated to define where should we put the frontier for what we consider "paid editing". I agree with others in that the primary concern here is the appropriate disclosure of any kind of COI, which includes POV-pushing --perhaps the primary concern with paid editing, although sticking to that category alone can be misleading. Projects such as WIR or editing efforts involving partner organizations (like the staff of a museum or archive working at improving articles about their collections) should be clearly identified and agreed with the involved editing communities, and the FDC could oversee that the proposed funding doesn't create a potential problem for the requesting affiliate and the movement as a whole. Volunteer-driven efforts such as thematic edit-a-thons, in my understanding, can't be considered paid editing. I have not been directly exposed to any example of paid editing that could illustrate your second question. As I have said in my presentation, the focus of my work has been on budgeting and optimizing resources, and I think I can be of most help in assisting affiliates to be effective in their use of movement funding. The role of the FDC and affiliates should be fostering projects that can create capacity within the community or within partner institutions to expand and enhance articles (be it through edit-a-thons, WIR…), not paying for articles.
- I believe the FDC is a very special institution in the movement, one that should have a specific set of capabilities within its members, but that at the same time should also represent the movement's diversity and include people sensitive to its different communities and organizations. My contribution would be the kind of "technical" input you described --I work as Economist with experience in finances administration and budgeting within the movement, and as a manager in my professional-paid life. I wouldn't propose myself if I didn't know that there would be other very valuable profiles representing people who are active editors and contributors of the Wikimedia projects, and people who know chapters and other affiliates "from the inside", to understand their successes, their faults and their needs. The knowledge background that I could bring to the FDC is only one part of the equilibrated equation that we need to achieve in this committee.
- I believe the FDC should represent the movement's diversity in both gender and geography, but also skills and experience, and other expressions of diversity (education is also diversity; life stories are diversity; different kinds of movement involvement are diversity). I am conscious that appointed committee members can help balancing what voting demographics sometimes don't provide, and help empowering the FDC with further worldviews and life experiences. That said, I would not like to "run on diversity" if it is not first by the particular set of skills, experiences and views I think I could contribute to the FDC. I believe all candidates should be evaluated on their own merits before other considerations.
- From my experience at a Wikimedia chapter, it is true that the FDC could provide more vocal documentation of each round's discussions and the general reasons behind its funding decisions. It would also be valuable to have more direct communication channels with the whole committee not only during each of the two annual rounds, but also to evaluate and assess funded affiliates' work during the year. In that line, I know the experience of some affiliates in Latin America who would like to participate in the FDC process but deal with different limitations, mainly of the “egg and chicken” kind –it would be good if the committee could have more knowledge about those intermediate situations and provide more information to potential applicants, even if the creation of simple APGs could address many of these cases. Another thing I would like to help with is identifying from the FDC itself potential funding partners, so we can also help Wikimedia affiliates to diversity their funding base.
- Regarding the negative impact of metrics on innovation, I should first say that the metrics proposed by the WMF for the FDC process have been rationalised and simplified over the last year, and many of the most pressing problems have already been addressed. That said, and coming from a developing country with a wide range of economic problems that impact our performance there, I would like to see a set of metrics that are more flexible to adapt to different funding realities. There are times where metrics may be valid for evaluation in the long run but it is timing that fails and acts as a deterrent for innovation: I can think of many mid to long-term projects, especially in the educational program where the pressure for immediate “numerical” results could impoverish practice and ultimately limit its potential.
- I think I have mostly answered your question in my response to Ad. I wouldn't speak here (or in similar international environments) of "affirmative action", i.e. prioritizing under-represented or marginalised social strata, but of finding mechanisms to ensure a proper and legitimate representation of our underlying diversity. However, any kind of "quota" or thought about the preference towards a woman or a candidate from some geography in particular should come after ensuring there are valuable candidates who also satisfy those ideal criteria.
- On a personal note, when I applied for my current position in a multinational foods-products corporation, senior management delayed my final interview because I didn’t quite fit the “profile” they were looking for as I came from the public University of Buenos Aires and my work experience was particularly focused on the public sector (over the last five years before the interview I had been working at “Dirección Nacional de Cuentas Nacionales” in the Ministry of Economy and at “Dirección General de Fabricaciones Militares” in the Ministry of Defense). It seemed to be quite obvious why I was still waiting for months to be called for the final interview round. Finally, I insisted to be interviewed after explaining to them not only that I was sure that I could do a great work in that position and acknowledging that I could bring in a different experience, POV, but also telling them that it would represent a big deal and a mindset change. They finally let me in, and after two years, they decided to get rid of all kind of filters about university education and to start changing the profile composition of their working teams. It was a paradigmatic change.
- The same idea about the intrinsic value of diversity is valid for the movement. I don’t think there exists some kind of trade-off between diversity and quality. Quite on the contrary, diversity should add quality by giving the committee not only extra skills, but also extra representativity and extra sensibilities, especially when many programs that the FDC has to evaluate include principles of diversity. Cande laspe (talk) 21:09, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
- It would not be appropriate from me to answer about the reasons behind decisions I didn't take part of. On your second question, it is difficult to me to see the FDC as an "enemy" as I see this committee and the grant proccess as an opportunity to encourage and empower volunteers by way of evaluating, reviewing and ultimately funding their work. Few organisations in the world have a funding mechanism that is as representative, volunteer-powered and transparent as is the FDC, and it is something that we should value.
- True, spending cuts can be ugly or non-motivating for someone who has put so much time and energy to build a proposal. However, one must bear in mind that the FDC has a finite pool of funds to distribute among applicant organisations, and must do so considering different criteria to maximise impact and efficiency. I am a firm supporter of the work affiliates do and I favor developing more diverse and complex evaluation methods to assess the impact and value of innovative and community building projects that may otherwise be regarded as uneffective in light of "established" quantitative metrics. But we need to be able to measure, consider and compare their viability to take informed decisions. And to give constructive feedback, too.
- That said, affiliates participating in the FDC framework are free to (re)allocate funding to different projects, and ultimately finance those they prioritise the most. Finally, community members also have the possibility to ask for simpler grants if they need support to attend a conference or develop a particular initiative that can't be covered by a local chapter. Cande laspe (talk) 22:39, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
Questions to specific candidates
If you have questions that you wish to ask specific candidates, please list them below.
@Gtbiv:Garfield, as the chair of the FDC for three terms I had the opportunity to work with you closely and I only have utmost respect for your skills, professional conduct, knowledge, as well as the ability to express your views in a dispassionate, yet powerful way. My concern is that if you join the FDC, its dynamics with change radically: you're a former CFO of the WMF, and one of the architects of the FDC (or at least parts of its design). Would you be able to comment on that, as well as on your potential perceived COI in relation to the WMF and its programs? I think it is to your benefit to address these issues early and explicitly. Pundit (talk) 13:43, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- @Pundit:: Thank you for your questions. In terms of changing the dynamics of the FDC, I found as staff to the FDC that the members of the FDC are each smart, independent and not easily swayed by anyone. If I was selected to join the FDC, I will be one voice and one opinion, and do not desire or expect to have any more influence on the recommendations of the FDC then any other member of the FDC. My only goal in joining the FDC is to partner with the other members of the FDC to help chapters be capable and effective organizations that are helping our editors, GLAM organizations and our educational partners contribute to the wiki projects.
- As to the question of COI, I think anyone who has heard me speak on the topic knows that I can be the Wikimedia Foundation best friend and worst critic. Having had an inside view, I have a good understanding of where the Foundation does good work and where it needs improvement, so my goal is to partner with the other members of the FDC to provide praise when appropriate, but more importantly actionable constructive feedback so the Wikimedia Foundation can do an effective job of supporting editors, chapters, GLAM projects, education partners and readers of the wiki projects.
@Bishdatta:Bishakha, you've been a valued trustee and a great supporter of the FDC movement. I've asked Garfield this, so in a similar vain (although definitely a smaller concern): is your former role as a trustee not an obstacle to your candidacy (in the sense that it may affect the group dynamics)? I myself am not really worried about this, I just want you to have an opportunity to address the question. Pundit (talk) 13:43, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
- This is a good question that I asked myself too. However, I don't think my former role would affect group dynamics. Here's why. One, there's a tradition of former trustees joining Wikimedia committees. For example, Ting, who was board chair, is now a member of the Affiliations Committee. Two, as someone who's part of many movements, I'm deeply aware of the three Ps - position, power and privilege. I take great care not to embody these.
- All said and done, I'm not a former title; I'm a person. And I'm a person who doesn't believe in hierarchy. In my day job, for instance, I work on an equal footing with women whose backgrounds are worlds apart from mine - including sex workers. If I'm able to work in a peer-to-peer manner with women who are placed at the bottom of the social ladder, why would I not be able to do so with a group of fellow Wikimedians? I functioned in a similar peer-to-peer manner when I was a trustee, particularly when I was part of the Movement Roles working group, which consisted of a diverse mix of Wikimedians from across the globe. Bishdatta (talk) 18:59, 11 July 2016 (UTC)