Grants talk:APG/Appeals to the Board on the recommendations of the FDC

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Support for the WMIN Appeal[edit]

  • I strongly support WMIN's appeal for more funds as a community member from India. We do not wish to see the movement in India being run by San Francisco or their stooges in India. Down with WMF Imperialism! Prad2609 (talk) 06:40, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • IMHO, WMF & FDC needs to give a more compassionate support to the young & promising chapters like WMIN & WMIL . With a large geography to cover, scores of language communities to support, and a potential to grow tremendously, chapters like WMIN should be supported generously.( Comments as a long time community member & not necessarily as an Ex-WMIN Board member) -- Tinu Cherian - 09:06, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • I also strongly support MWIN's appeal for more, rather necessarily required funds. Also Indian community members can directly get a grant from WMIN rather than WMF reimbursing them lately. --Rangilo Gujarati (talk) 09:57, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • I believe that it is important to ensure that WMIN is given the primacy it deserves in the India scheme of things. WMF India, A2K and direct grants should be supplementary rather than crowding out WMIN. Also, the reason WMIN could not see traction for a long time had to do with the difficulties of setting up in India coupled with volunteer organization. Having just one employee has made a huge difference and I believe that at the level of funds requested by WMIN, one would see great growth. Also, imho, the India program of WMF severely restricted the growth of WMIN and demotivated volunteers. Appropriate grant of funds would also signal to the volunteers the role being played by WMIN. --Gurubrahma (talk) 10:03, 9 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
+1. IMHO, WMF should not continue the grant to A2K and fund/reimburse WMIN. -- ɑηsuмaη «Talk» 14:06, 9 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • Supporting WM-IN's appeal, per Tinu Cherian. --Netha Hussain (talk) 12:10, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • Frankly speaking, I love Wikimedia movement and feel proud to be part of it. I do remember the time when I was spending hours in the company of English Wikipedia. I would love to see Wikipedia movement to spread deeply in India, a nation of around 1.2 billion people speaking scores of languages. I appeal that sufficient funds as required by WM-IN should be made available for a decent growth to ensure the movement to realize its true potentials in India. --Bhadani (talk) 16:06, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • I concur with Tinu, WMIN is a young chapter with great scope for growth and needs funding. --kondi talk/contribs 16:43, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • My support for the WMIN's appeal as a volunteer. Having read the appeal and discussions at proposal pages i found the accusations wrong, it doesn't make sense! Also, it's sad to see possible COI from WMF side, I (we)'d like to see this resolved. We can all see how WMF/FDC is questioning WMIN, but we see no questions been asked to A2K. This is creating a rift negating the wiki-culture. Thanks. -- ɑηsuмaη «Talk» 09:19, 9 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • I would like to convey our strong support for WMIN on behalf of Wikimedia Community User Group Pakistan‎. We're sure WMIN will help us in spreading the Wikimedia movement in Pakistan as well. --Saqib (talk) 09:25, 9 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • Support. Tinu says it all :). --Redtigerxyz (talk) 16:03, 9 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • The WMF executive has only given half-heartedd support to WMIN for the sake of doing so knowing fully well that WMIN would not be able to stand on its own feet without full commitment from WMF. This is the board's chance to show that it is interested in the welfare and growth of the indian community by acceding to the review request. — Nearly Headless Nick {C} 07:16, 10 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • I support WMIN's request for funds. Even if such a traumatic reduction of grant was considered as justified, the grants committee should have indulged in a dialogue to identify & resolve bones of contention, and to come up for a meaningful compromise where core items on the WMIN proposal were enabled and whatever line items considered unnecessary were identified & removed rather than a bland allotment of just 30% - leaving the task to WMIN to butcher its own fund proposal. There needs to be a greater dialogue on this issue. Application of external norms for judging what is acceptable levels of increase in funding, as mentioned by Anders Wennersten, may not be appropriate in early growth stages of an organisation. AshLin (talk) 08:32, 10 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • Young and growing chapter,need support from FDC. To make good national level events we need FDC support. Budget allocated for the year 2014 is very less. If you the total expense in the year 2011 when we conducted WCI and other activities, total cost involved in WCI alone was around 40 Lakhs. With the current allocation for the 2014 budget, I dont see any WCI happening near future. And if FDC wants WMIN apply grants multiple times in the year 2014, I strongly believe FDC to be failure. -- naveenpf (talk) 10:02, 10 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • I strongly support WMIN's appeal against FDC's decision to grant only a small fraction of what they asked. Being an active community members and having done a few outreach programs, I know how necessary it is to have strong chapter. Also, I would like to ask the WMF executives behind this decision that why there is another parallel body created in India and why that "other" body had received a huge fund but the chapter is being deprived of the sum that it projected?--DhavalTalk 10:24, 10 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • I support WMIN's appeal. It's a country of 1.3 billion people, with a diversity of languages. Our efforts on GLAM and Gender gap have started taking greater shape in the past year. We can not possibly be scrounging for funds every time. I understand a chunk of the budget is meant for events. I believe holding events and using them for publicising WMIN work and for community building will prod the Indic language Wikipedias. -- Rohini (talk) 14:02, 10 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • Support for the WMIN appeal World (talk) 14:16, 10 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • Due to such diversity in WMIN chapter, such a large grant request is justified. Many projects like GLAM, Gender gap are growing.The chapter needs funds which will continue to grow over many years. Yohannvt (talk) 15:55, 10 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • I support WMIN's appeal. Further to my comments a few sections below, I also believe WMIN need to be brought back to the centre of the stage when it comes to WMF's involvement in India. The WMF has bypassed WMIN in too many occasions, so far with unsatisfactory results in most of them, and I believe channelling the activities through WMIN will at least make sure dedicated local Wikimedians are on board and address the problems. Deryck C. 16:57, 10 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • I support the appeal made by WMIN. From past year or so, the growth in many projects have been tremendous. And to successfully continue this growth, the appeal made by WMIN is justified. Kiran Ravikumar 18:53, 10 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • I strongly support WMIN's appeal for more funds. In the past year or so, the various communities in India are contributing constructively to Wiki, and they definitely need some encouragement.--Challengethelimits (talk) 01:49, 11 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • If WMIN is to ever grow as an entity that will be the legitimate face of the Wikimedia Community in India, it requires a great degree of courage and determination to be able to reach such a massive target base. The diversity and size of the population is so mind boggling, that only a distributed, well supported volunteer lead approach can hope to achieve the sort of sustainable user base that we all would like to see. These are very young days for the chapter, and the level of financial support requested is justified at this phase. I request a reconsideration of the FDC's recommendation which has left very little scope for the chapter to spread its wings and fly --Planemad (talk) 12:04, 11 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • 1) India being a very big geography, an awareness session in one area does not help in other area. hence conducting in many locations is the key. 2) India having highest number of languages spoken in any given country. a presentation in one language is not going to help others. presentations in each language is important. 3) India having very large variation of literacy levels, demands different approaches to train people to use and contribute wikimedia projects. one of the bottlenecks we have been holding many many projects is the lack of funds. availability of grants can unblock huge opportunities infront of us. Arkrishna (talk) 16:44, 11 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • Support Support Abbasjnr (talk) 20:03, 11 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • Support Support WMIN requires support and a chapter run by community members is a must for a country like INDIA which has got a diverse geography and culture. The amount of languages we have in our country can be reached out effectively by chapter only if has tremendous support from WMF. Omshivaprakash (talk) 06:07, 12 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • Support Support I request the FDC to consider WMIN's appeal. Most of the volunteers for the chapter are feeling burnt out and it is very important that this organisation is allowed the resources to run professionally. To call a start up organization going from 0.5 employees to 3 employees as 500% growth is ridiculous. Do you want the Executive manager to waste his time and capability doing everyday admin chores? The not so transparent huge grant given to CIS-A2K / expesnses from the former Wikimedia India office and lack of stringent review for such programs yet hints at double standards while it comes to funding community led organizations. Some of the concerns mentioned in the review are valid and yet the recommendation should be generous to allow a maturity period for the organization. A line by line review and allocation of funds would have been more helpful. Events can be useful if they are planned well. For example, in Tamil Wikipedia we have seen increased activity after our 10th year celebrations. A note for the chapter: While events can be useful, I don't recommend spending time and money on similar events every year just for the sake of it. They can be huge drain on a small community like ours. Even if FDC doesn't allow funds for the events through chapter, the communities should be still able to conduct them through direct grants from WMF. So, all is not lost if we don't get the requested funds. The chapter has to think if it wants to act like the sole funding agency for all Wikimedia related events in India or if it can still partner with the language communities without essentially spending money. Another area where we need to rethink our strategy is physical outreach and concentrated training. Based on Tamil Wikipedia's experiences, the ROI on physcial outreach is very less. It is mainly a branding exercise. I don't think a 24x7 training centre in one city will serve the whole country. So, in this case, cost cutting can be done by having three employees, a suitably spaced office and doing away with the training centre. When we have more staff, may be we can also try to find institutional partners who would be glad to provide their facilities for free? We have got such partners for Tamil Wikipedia. How about a small digital studio in the same office which will conduct webinars, produce video tutorials and leverage the Wikipedia's site notice feature to deliver it for the whole country? Also, there should be clear definition of chapter led programs and programs led by the language communities. And for this, we need to increase the membership base and develop a dedicated volunteer base among the members. So, I will also recommend the chapter to be resourceful, come with a revised proposal focusing on the essentials. That will be a good way to prove ourselves and aim bigger next year. --Ravi (talk) 08:51, 12 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • Support Support I represent the Sanskrit Wiki community and strongly support WMIN's appeal for a better allocation and grant of funds. At this point of time, Wiki movements in India needs to shift gears from its infancy and reach up; for which, a solid financial support is a must. The support and responsiveness we have received from WMIN on some of our earlier projects has been extraordinary and I totally support the demands put forth by WMIN. For growing communities like ours, this kind of support would mean a lot.

SumanaKoundinya (talk) 10:54, 12 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

  • Support Support WMF should be open to emerging communities like WMIN and other South Asian chapters. This I believe is also the declared intent of WMF currently. Then what is stopping from WMF extending required support. WMIN is asking for support to setup infrastructure for long term growth potential of WMIN. WMF should be open to releasing the fair share of support to WMIN.

abhilashunni (talk)

  • Support Support Providing the required funding will only boost the tireless activities of the Wikimedia community in India. Being a powerful community (and an ever-growing one), its worth investing in it. Rasnaboy (talk) 17:42, 13 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

Letter of Support[edit]

Support Support CIS has been a long time associate and well-wisher of the Wikimedia India Chapter (WMIN). It strongly believes that the WMIN has played and will play a significant role in growing the open knowledge movement in India.
With this belief CIS has extended help and support to the WMIN from the inception of the idea of the Chapter to the setting up and current running of WMIN. CIS has:

  • Housed numerous Wikimedia community meet-ups since 2008, at its office in Bangalore.
  • Offered legal and technical advice, whenever asked for, that helped in setting up the WMIN.
  • Borne the legal and statutory expenses of setting up of the WMIN.
  • Housed several meetings of the WMIN Executive Committee, at its office in Bangalore.
  • Housed meetings of the WMIN General Body, at its office in Bangalore.
  • Offered to be the official address of the WMIN, which continues to be so until this date.
  • Shared its administrative and secretarial resources whenever asked for.
  • Shared institutional and individual contacts and networks, whenever possible.

After the WMF approached CIS to re-house the India Program under our Access to Knowledge (A2K) program, CIS continued its support to the WMIN. Further, CIS has taken various measures, (without the mediation of the WMF) to involve the WMIN in effectively administering this program such that the Wikimedia movement grows in India. Towards this CIS has:

  • Involved the WMIN in the selection of the CIS-A2K Program Director.
  • In consultation with the WMIN EC, put in systems, such that all major activities undertaken by CIS-A2K are communicated in advance to the WMIN EC.
  • Agreed to not support any individual or group that may act against the interests of the WMIN and the Wikimedia movement in India.
  • Informed and tried to involve the WMIN EC in the selection of new personnel to the CIS-A2K team.
  • Sought feedback on the work-plans and Grant budget revisions from the WMIN EC.
  • Assured to take disciplinary action against the CIS-A2K team members, should the WMIN EC feel that the team member is working against the ethos of the Wikimedia movement in India.
  • Has spread the importance of the WMIN to many of the community members across various Indian languages.

Unlike any other program or grant that CIS has got, CIS has put its best efforts in reaching out to the WMIN, in addition to the WMF, in various ways in administering the A2K program. It did so with a firm belief in the existence and growth of WMIN.
On the one hand CIS recognizes the unique nature of a not-for-profit entity, like WMIN in India which may have to put additional efforts to be recognized as a not-for-profit entity in the eyes of the Indian state. It also needs to constantly introspect on its governance models to accommodate the diversity of Wikimedia movement in India and to protect its sanctity in doing so. There are numerous challenges WMIN has successfully faced and will continue to face. CIS has been there offering its two cents of support and advice whenever approached and will continue to do so in the future. As mentioned above, CIS has also benefited from the interactions with WMIN in successfully executing the partnership grant given by the WMF. We have been engaging with the WMIN EC in all the major activities that we have undertaken as part of the Access to Knowledge (A2K) program since the WMF gave the grant in September 2012. We are positively sure that this productive engagement with WMIN will continue beyond the current phase of WMF Grant, which will end in July 2014. CIS and WMIN will continue to collaborate in growing the open knowledge movement in India and in Indian languages.
On the other hand, unlike many other non-profits in India, WMIN has the advantage to leverage a readily available global brand image of Wikimedia. This is as valuable as the funds, if not more, that WMIN has approached the FDC and the WMF Board. As a torch-bearer of the Wikimedia movement in India there is an additional responsibility on WMIN to continuously work in an open, transparent and accountable manner. From CIS’ own experience, being “OPEN” is a never ending learning process and a work-in-progress which involves significant effort that takes one away from actual programmatic work, one has committed to doing. It is important to note that efforts towards these are not often recognized by the Donors or communities as requiring support. Even WMIN requires this kind of support right now. As a Wikimedia movement partner in India, right now, CIS feels the need for a broad support for the WMIN to grow and build its muscle in the next 2 years. Also the communities across India deserve more support from the WMF, and this grant to WMIN will be one of the key channels by which the WMF can reach out to the communities in India. Thus we offer whole-hearted support in strongly seconding the funding request made by WMIN and request the WMF Board and FDC to positively consider their request keeping in mind the larger context and canvass of the Wikimedia movement in India and the potential for the growth of open knowledge in Indian languages that still remains to be tapped.
--Sunil Abraham, Executive Director, CIS T. Vishnu Vardhan, Program Director, CIS A2K

Fæ's support for a positive review[edit]

As a past WMUK trustee and during our work attempting to establish a Chapter's Association and my time as its Chairperson, I had the pleasure of meeting several of the folks serving on the WMIN board and discussed a few of their ongoing issues both specific to "the way things work" in India and some that are in common with other chapters. I have always been in awe of the slightly scary potential of WMIN and the challenges they have faced when maturing as an organization over the last couple of years.

The FDC's assessment and concerns appear well founded, based on the evidence and plans provided. At the same time, everyone recognizes that WMIN is working hard to mature its processes for planning, reporting and governing. The key criticism from the FDC is the unacceptable level of risk from such an ambitious plan. Responding with just 30% of the requested funds itself puts the future of the WMIN at risk, as this leaves the chapter without a realistic plan for the coming year, and there is no doubt that the WMIN board needs support and encouragement.

I would like to see a more detailed proactive review and re-planning excise in cooperation with the FDC. I suggest additional "review and improvement" funding is granted which ensures that the significant finds allocated are independently tracked and measured for effective and efficient delivery of our Open Knowledge mission, and that WMIN's improvement programme targets planning and risk management processes in the short term, if necessary with specially funded training and consultancy support. Where slashing back of the funding proposal introduces unnecessary risk to WMIN's planned infrastructure, that this is identified as part of risk management and that specific contingency plans will be eligible for interim grants on the basis of protecting the value of charitable funding, rather than risking the overall strategy.

There is a danger that the significant levels of re-planning, management and administration over the next few weeks and months may overburden and overstress the current WMIN board if delivered by unpaid volunteers. Our experience of the growth pains of other chapters leads us to conclude that we need to do more than just tell a chapter that their plans are insufficient, or that their reporting and measurement is inadequate. How to move this on to positive improvement and growth and avoid the serious risk of a negative spiral of speedy and damaging decline is a challenge for the FDC as well as WMIN.

Thanks -- (talk) 11:07, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

Nepalese community's response[edit]

Although there are vast dissimilarities between India and Nepal, there are some similarities too. Examples are like socio-cultural situation and awareness/education level of the people. We have to work for various languages with equal priorities. We observe WMIN is helping those language Wikipedia to increase their communities. We understand how difficult it is to give equal attention to various languages. The size of population and the country is another important issue. On this ground we recommend for positive review in the request of Wikimedia India. Thanks--Ganesh Paudel (talk) 07:59, 10 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

Anders Wennersten's comment and response[edit]

I wonder if you can elaborate on your views in stating numbers and program that you beleive should be supported and are not. For example the four national events in WMIN proposal that FDC did not see gave value for money have litte to do with WMIN possibility to grow. And talking of growth, the recommended allocation for WMIN is 80% higher then was granted last year, a huge increase reflecting FDC view on the importance on the WMIN chapter. And WMIL recommended allocation is 29% up, by far the highest increase to any of the chapters that had received FDC allocation before. The guardrailes of +20% that FDC has as a baseline is not a kind of punishment line, but a figure economic research has found to be on the higher end on how fast an organsaition can grow and still maintain control and quality in their operations.Anders Wennersten (talk) 09:59, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

  • I have posted this as a separate section to avoid this getting buried in the India community's feedback.
  • We appreciate your comment. You have suggested that economic research shows that 20% is the upper limit of how fast an organization can go. I have tabulated growth data of WMF below. The raw data was obtained from here
WMF's growth
Heading 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Expenses in '000s 23 177 791 2,077 3,540 5,617 10,266 17,889 29,260 35,704
Ann.Grwth % - 657% 346% 162% 70% 59% 83% 74% 64% 22%
Assets in '000s 56 283 10,066 1,696 5,664 8,602 15,425 26,165 37,206 48,146
Ann.Grwth % - 400% 3451% -83% 234% 52% 79% 70% 42% 29%
  1. It appears WMF grew in expenses from USD 23,400 in 2004 to USD 177,700 in 2005. That was a whopping 657%. Sounds close to how we are growing! I also note that expense growth and asset growth have been separated while reporting. Expenses are not clubbed with assets and counted as growth, as is being done to WMIN's growth assessment.
  2. Your quotation of the "latest economic research" should perhaps be checked for context sensitivity. I believe it can not be for new organizations. It may be for nearly fully grown organizations. Can we have a citation for this research? I have had many years of planning experience, and hence request you to take this in good faith.
  3. I find from WMF's plan document of 2013-14 that the growth projected is around 20%. This is a drastic reduction from the 65% plus rates of the past several years. This may be a result of the saturation of the more resource consuming Chapters which have reached a high level of growth already. Different regions wake up to the growth paradigm shifts at different times. We believe India is beginning to grow now. To apply a cap based on a "new conservative global average level" is not fair. An average at the foundation level is rolled up from growth rates of Chapters that are growing above average and Chapters that are growing below average. When you seek to estimate the maximum attainable, it should not be a mathematical exercise of a certain %. If the Olympic 100 meters record is unlikely to be bettered by 10% at the Olympic level, it does not mean a school record can not improve by that order of magnitude. We have not reached our full potential, hence we are confident of our growth.
  4. In the early years of all the developed chapters, they seem to have been able to take part in donation collection and mobilization as payment processors. We do not have the opportunity to get a share on such a basis. Thus we seem to be severely handicapped.
  5. WMIN represents a country of 1 Billion people speaking many languages. There are at least 20 languages with a Wikipedia each. Of these about 3 have substantial growth rate now. Many others should be joining the higher growth rate in the coming years. We had to express our inability to fund to a few people in the past because we had limited funds. These higher growth rate language groups have been seeking funding directly from WMF in the past year. They have slowly started approaching the chapter as they approach the 10K USD spend level, because this is the level at which regulatory scrutiny increases, and they would like to be free from the hassles and risks of such regulations. At the proposed level of funding, it appears we can not cater to their aspirations and growth levels adequately, and should continue to request them to approach WMF directly. Just as you had sought to assess the growth of WMIN based on what we directly get from you, if you estimate what you have given to India through various channels. This will show the picture of India's growth. Please help the language communities avoid regulatory hassles and apply through the Chapter in future.
  6. We appreciate you have considered the importance of the India as a nation and allowed a 80% growth, which is far ahead of the 20% cap sought to be imposed as a default. But this 80% seems to be adhoc. In every GAC, we have gone through a lot of discussions with the committee members. In FDC, it appeared to be just a one way street. We had so little dialogue. If you did not believe some program can work, there should have been a question with your basis to believe why it will not work. All doubts were taken as if they were well founded for deciding on a conservative allocation, with no opportunity given to us for alleviating these fears. The level recommended is so low that critical areas of enablers are becoming impossible. We need to have at least a single cabin office for regulatory compliance. We may have to continue with no staff, and hence very minimal chapter driven initiatives. We looked at the training centre and related infrastructure as a means of reducing costs for operating at a certain scale. The monthly rent of INR 70,000 for a larger space is about 4 times the cost of a conference room from a business centre for a 8 hour usage. At 4 training programs per month we can break even. Any more would be a bonus. When we propose the space for monthly rental, we imply there would be many more than 4 events a month in this place. If the INR 70,000 rental is denied, it amounts to capping the effort we can put to less than 4 such events a month. This logic of "cumulative daily hiring cost over time" being higher than "owning cost" is also valid for computers, projectors, and cameras. For the same number of training events, we will be spending more money for hiring "one day training facilities", than when we would spend while using an owned central facility. The denial of capital expenses would translate to lesser number of training programs at the same spend level. Would this be in line with the spirit of focusing on Global South? Capital expenses generally are capacity builders, and productivity enablers. Only those who do not anticipate their utilization beyond the break even point, would hesitate to invest.
  7. We have been having regional conferences of sorts. But these have been within individual language communities. The budget level of what we proposed in the FDC grant request viz about INR 300,000 is same as the budget level of these events. This has already happened. In Jan two more such large scale events are scheduled with WMF funding. We are surprised to see the utility of these conferences being questioned when such events have been going on globally, and even in India. Instead of projecting them as Language group get-togethers, we clubbed the interest of multiple groups and called it a regional conference. Now it seems to become unacceptable! If conferences are supposed to be such a waste of money, why should we not scrap all Wikimanias, and the various other conferences. Instead of having one 240 member conference in one city, if we have 3 events of 80 members each, and distribute them across the country, we will be reducing the cost of scholarships, and enable more local participants to participate from the neighbourhood of the different regions. When 20 language communities participate, and we accommodate them all in one event, will they enable adequate attention? When the same count of 240 people are split into 3 regional groups with an average of 6 language groups or project groups in each conference, we visualize they will be more effective.
  8. We believe what we projected as the budget is still on the lower side. We also exercised some self restraint and pared down a higher figure to the level we asked. The grant recommended is totally crippling. TS-Sowmyan (talk) 13:45, 10 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
I am just one of nine members of FDC and am not The spokeperson or anything like that for FDC. FDC is an advisary group to the Board given its scope by the Framework and directives from the Board. So for example the 20% figure is not my invention, but after following the chapers and others and discssing it a lot I sternly believe it is a very sound guardrail, but it should as you indicate be adjusted to size and where the entity lies in its lifecycle, ie not be handled too rigid. The answers below are my personal ones, the official feedback to WMIN is found in the recommendation.
1. I have never as a person been involved endorsing the growth for WMF as you list. Personally I do Not think that level of growth is sound or should have been followed except for the growth of personell related to the ITcenter where higher growthrates is easier to manage
2.See my introduction. we can get more people involved discussing the guradrail of 20% like the ones that explained this in detail for me, but I am not the wizard on this research
3.FDC were not involved for the last years growth for WMF either, the Round 2 will be the first time. Otherwise I agree that a more mature org should have lower growth rate then beginners. If you study our recommednaion for Round 1 you find our recommendation for the biggest one to be: WMDE -6% (but there are number complications here so not fully comparable), UK +6, CH +0, so FDC has recommedned lower growth rates for more mature entities
4.I am nor sure why you go back so far in history, WMSE and WNAR for example have never had the oppurtunity to grow with donation collectors, and the effect of that part of chapter history is now levelling off
5.India is a great country and very important in the movement, I and my collegues all agree on this. It is outside FDC scope, though, to discuss different models for growing in India being outside the proposals set up. If you want to go furtherin discussing different growth models, I as an individaul would be glad to take part but as said it lies outsoide my role as a FDC member
6.Yes the way FDC is set up is not optimal in cases like hte WMIL and WMIN in this round. In both these cases the diffrence between required and given funds are huge, and everyone would be happier if we could discsussed the relevant budgets post per post IRL. And even if acutally FDC is only proper operational during our deliberation (it is the group with nine that is the key element not each of us as individuals). Perhaps ther could be some opening to work through this even after we have been through our deliberation for Round 1, and at least discuss and explain to each others growing the understanding
7. I do not want to argue on a specific items here. I stand by the writing in the recommendation. If we by the Board were given the task to make a new deliberation with other input we could consider this and perhaps leave a new recommended allocation, but as long there is not direct concrete errors in the facts we based our deliebration upon, the recmmendation will be as it is. But the Board representatives are looking into this issue this week and can ask FDC for further clarifacition which we then will provide to them
8.Yes we have understood this. And if you could state this in detailed numbers explaning what you can do within the recomended funding and what not, it would be most helpful for us and the Boards representatives. We FDC members and the FDC staff have put in hundreds of hours analyzing your proposal and trying with our best knowledge understand what this funding would mean for WMIN. But perhaps there are information that was missing in the proposal? We in FDC wre very surprised to find in the appeal some new facts that was missing in the proposal and could have had a positive effect in our deliberation. (as already stated all this is my personal comments) And also to make it clear I have no dependency whatsoever to WMF, I am a very active contributer on sv:wp and a member of FDC putting in my own time for free. Anders Wennersten (talk) 18:51, 11 December 2013 (UTC)Reply


This is in reply to Anders 8th point.

The primary focus was the chapter should do four things:

  • Create awareness and enable more people to benefit from Wikimedia projects
  • Enable people to contribute by teaching them how to edit, upload etc
  • Facilitate contributors to interact with each other, share experiences, recognize like minded people and enable people to find collaborative partners
  • Do whatever it takes to support the community through a responsive organization

1 Awareness:[edit]

India is a country of large contrasts. One can find many prolific contributors, and also a vast majority who do not even know that a knowledge source called Wikipedia exists. Even among those who know about Wikipedia, a majority do not know they can also edit and contribute. Among the communication channels, penetration of TV is high in the Indian households, but the penetration of internet access is limited to about 12% of the population. When we consider article viewership per 'person with internet access' across many countries, the statistic for India is low.

Low article viewership is attributable to education levels, socio economic status, and computer usage. But a baseline statistic relative to internet access should level these variable factors. We did such a statistical analysis and found the baseline figures for India are very low compared to the developed Wikipedias. Thus we will not be able to target viewership by population count, but should not have a major difference for users with internet access. After all, Wikipedia shows up within the top 5 entries for most searches in Google.

Low viewership in Indian languages may also be attributable to the lower article count, and consequent low awareness about the language Wikipedias, as these do not figure so high in google searches.

Our desire was to show case the variety of knowledge available in many ways possible. If we consider knowledge dissemination based TV programs, we have National Geographic, Animal Planet, History, and such others. But the more popular knowledge dissemination programs are the various quiz shows found in the regular entertainment channels. The Indian equivalent of Jeopardy / 'Who will become a Millionaire', is very popular. So, if such quiz shows can be based on Wikimedia artefacts, it may be a big boost to create awareness about Wikipedia. For example in every Quiz show, the quiz master only needs to show the reference for the right answer through a Wikimedia article. Quiz shows with questions that illustrate different projects and categories were developed to test the concept with limited audience. Viewers considered these quiz shows as a good mode to show case the variety and scale in Wikipedia.

Social media was the next dimension considered to spread the word. Almost everyone with computers and internet are on social media now.

Participation in annual spring festivals of educational institutions is one of the modes we have used in the past. As far as Wikimedia Commons is concerned, “Wiki Loves Monuments” competition had generated a tremendous amount of interest in the past. We wished to extend the scope to other themes and considered a broader 'Wiki Loves India' theme.

Exhibitions are one way of creating awareness. The Kolkata book fair is expected to attract millions of visitors. Such events tend to have passing crowd, and will need additional methods to create a sustained communication / reinforcement based on repetition. These can only generate one time triggers of awareness and have to hand over the potential users to other sustaining modes. So the themes for external events were based on talks, quiz shows and competitions. The Kolkata book fair event is planned to include these.

A recent event of the Sanskrit Wikipedia at Bangalore also demonstrated the power of the exhibition. A demonstration of QRpedia was also conducted here. These showed some potential to create curiosity, and also generate the next generation usage pattern of viewing Wikimedia artefacts on smart phones. India has a very high level of cellphone penetration. Smart phones are also gaining popularity. Thus, a few programs to generate QRpedia based awareness were also included. In this effort a GLAM project with Visweswaraya Museum, which is focused on Science and Technology demonstration, was conceived. Here, article writing will not be part of the effort, because most articles are expected to be present in Wikipedia. What we need to do is generate QR codes for the exhibits, and enable people view the description of the scientific principle they see in a demo, through a Wikipedia article. Those who visit the museum are expected to be curious to learn, and when introduced to details from Wikipedia through their smart phones in their language wherever possible, they are expected to access them later through other means. This concept was also extended to other public spaces such as Lal Bagh Botanical Garden at Bangalore, where many rare or unique species of trees and flower plants are present. They currently have name plates for the species. We considered introducing QR code leading them to Wikipedia articles on the species that are already present. Tourist locations are covered by WikiVoyage. We can expect QR code to catch up as tourism industry discovers its potential and seeks to introduce them.

Thus exhibitions, quiz shows, and QR codes form the new dimensions to promote awareness.

To get the quiz shows running, we need to catch the imagination of many quiz masters and quiz clubs. We visualized running pilots in a few schools to see how they will catch on. We will form partnership with the quiz clubs and offer them a monthly module, and prizes by way of book vouchers / T shirts emblazoned with the word Wiki Wizard or some thing like that to the Winners. School children’s enthusiasm normally rubs on to parents too. Children wearing T shirts with such logos and walking around the neighbourhood also generates brand awareness.

We are certainly looking at these ‘not so fully proven methods’ as pilots. Once established, private individuals can also seek grants for conducting the WikiQwiz.

2 Training[edit]

Targeting beyond the student community:

We target training to edit at the college level. Wiki Academies have been held at a number of academic institutions. But, we have not been able to organize such training for the public - individuals who are interested. In some of the educational institutions the necessary infrastructure consisting of computers and internet connectivity is available. But these facilities are typically reserved for their own students. This view has been questioned by some, who believe many such institutions should be willing to throw their facility open to the public as well. However, the widespread reality is otherwise. In the months between February and May 2012, Sowmyan personally visited a number of educational institutions in Bangalore for a survey and found a near unanimous reluctance to such open access. The institutions were not even open to allowing wiki-meetups with outsiders. In 2012, a college professor from a well known college was interested in introducing Wikipedia as part of the syllabus as a project; but it could not take off because of the non-availability of volunteers who can commit themselves for a longer period of time.

Targeting housewives and senior citizens:

India had a tradition of lesser proportion of educated women taking up a career. Such women tend to focus on nurturing the family. Their leisure time is a prime target for engagement by TV programs designed for women. This segment forms a high potential segment who can take to editing Wikipedia. Their educational level, and the availability of the computers at their homes, gives them the potential to be Wikimedians. They can be trained if public programs are possible. Same is the situation with many retired employees. The senior citizens of today are much more computer savvy than those who retired five years ago. This group is knowledgeable and often may have expertise in their areas of practice. They have the potential to be good editors too. However, it would be futile to go to an old age home and expect most inmates to become editors. This is because computer literacy among senior citizens in general is lower. Moreover, taking to contributing to Wikimedia is a hobby. Not all people love every hobby. Everyone has a preference. There will always be only a fraction of the people who will come forward to editing. The potential editors in the community at large are thinly distributed across a large population. When an educational institution is the boundary, the number of potential editors may be limited. So rather than look for a concentrated location such as an educational institution and conduct training, we needed to open a central place where many from the larger population of public can come and get trained. Teaching housewives, senior citizens and other interested members of the public forms the focus of the public training program, as they are the population who have the time that can be channelled to this activity.

Public Training infrastructure:

Thus a concept of creating a captive public training infrastructure was born. A grant request was raised by Bangalore SIG chair Radhakrishna last year for about 10 laptops based on this program. The idea at that time was to target apartment complexes and run events on all weekends. This program was purely based on availability of laptops and wifi data cards for internet connectivity. It did not expect a fixed training room.

Q: When the senior citizens and housewives who are going to be trained are supposed to have access to a computer at home for subsequent contribution, why do we need a laptop?
A: They may very well bring laptops if they have them. The current situation is that desk tops are common in current home installations. Laptops are replacing them in new installations. But wherever desktops are used at home, they can not be brought conveniently, even within the building complex, for a training program. The ownership of such goods is not individual in many family situations. These are shared by multiple family members. So even in case of such shared home laptop, people hesitate to take them out to public places.

The proposed program was later modified to a fixed training centre based on the following possibilities:

  • We can use this facility for more training programs such as Train the trainer, and Train the admin
  • The training room, when not used for training can be used by local Wikimedians to hangout and browse / edit.
  • This room can be used for public programs for people not situated in a cluster such as apartment complexes, or educational institutions
  • The facility can be used for capturing video based training. Thus it would double as a video studio, and webcasting base. The justification for the webcasting platform is further discussed in another section.
  • The equipment can also be used for in-situ training in apartment complexes, taking the training to the door steps of trainees.

Thus we proposed a pilot for the training program in Bangalore. Once established as successful, we could consider setting up similar units in more places, or shift the centres to other localities. Probably a mobile van with complete training and practising infrastructure can be developed for 10 people and used for going around different localities. If each locality is covered for 5 days of repeat programs, we can cover 50 batches of trainees. That could be 500 editors in a city. Unlike a hit ratio of 5% for the Wiki Academies run for students in educational institutions, we expect a higher proportion to take to editing in the public programs. In an educational institution, many come for training just to explore. It is only in repeat programs that we will realize the true potential of trainees. When we do not conduct follow up programs, the drop out rate can be higher purely because many did not grasp the essentials in one session and needed more hand holding. In our concept, we did not plan purely site training. We felt a fixed training centre would be of value. This is because when it is not being used for training, it can be put to other uses as described earlier.

We stopped at a fixed training centre rather look at a customized mobile facility. But when the idea succeeds, mobile vans could be the way forward in future budget periods.

Q: Why should we invest in a fixed training centre when we call it a pilot? What happens if this fails? Why not hire the equipment?
A: We need to experiment with a scheme for at least a few months before we declare it a success or failure. In this duration we may train for about 10 days a month using hired facilities. With the daily rate for a conference room being Rs 15000, and monthly rentals for space that can be converted to a training centre being of the order of Rs 70,000, cost of hiring space for 10 days of time exceeds the cost of renting for a month. Cost of hiring equipment has the same logic, but at a different ratio. With about 10 months’ equipment rent you can own equipment such as laptops. Considering such equipment would typically last for 2 years, the renting option is about 2.5 times costly. Daily rental rates are even more costly, and driven up by the cost of delivering, collection, and some sort of insurance. At daily rates, hiring equipment for about 40 days can pay for the purchase of the equipment. If we were to run the experiment over a few months, these 40 days will be easily matched. So it appears it is good to own than rent. Even if we do not have a fixed training centre, we can have laptops that can be taken to different hired training halls and used. When we do not have a fixed training centre, the cost of transportation, and risk of damage may increase. These may have to be covered through insurance.
Q: What happens if we decide after 3 months that the public training program is not useful?
A: As discussed the break even analysis shows owning is better than hiring. The duration of the experimental stage itself would be equal to the break even period. So the laptops become assets with useful functional value, that can be continued to be used for the other applications. Train the trainer, and train the admin are two other programs that need to be conducted. As the editor count is sought to be increased, these counts also need to be increased. These are special programs and not conducted with the same frequency as the basic program, nor can they be in academic institutions with the infrastructure. They would even have multi city participants. The laptops can be used for these programs. It is also possible that that potential trainers and admins will already have laptops.

Considering the break even, the multiple uses to which the equipment can be put, and the potential to use them even without a training centre, we proposed these equipments may be procured. If these equipment are considered to be not usable in any way, they may be sold off as second hand goods. The suggestion to buy is being made on the basis that we are not saving with an alternate route and the probability of succeeding is high in our opinion.

When we succeed in such a program, we can look at spreading the training effort far and wide through mobile vans. That can be the next phase in the next year and based on success statistics.

Video based Training:

Leaving aside the face to face training, we also had this idea of developing an on-line audio visual course, as detailed as a MOOC program - such as a Coursera course - to be hosted on Youtube and Wikimedia India website. Such a course would also be developed in the training centre. We compared costs of using video production service vis-a-vis doing the video ourselves. A digital camera capable of video capture was proposed. Lighting was considered, and amateur recording was found quite feasible. Sowmyan has personal experience in using a webcasting tool. Webcasting costs a lot more because it needs to be near real time. However, when we resort to a stored video solution rather than live video, the complexities reduce. Sowmyan also has experience in audio recording and post processing. He can teach these skills to others. Sowmyan has adequate experience to say we can produce a decent quality video with the digital camera and process them. A suite of training videos will be made for English language first, as these may be followed with reasonable comprehension by most Wikimedians. A language specific module may be built with the use of language specific trainers. These become important to teach data input methods. They are also to be complemented with language styles. This sort of training module should be usable across the world. Indian accents of speech may be a bit difficult for some, but by and large they should be universal.


Among the staff we had proposed 2 people besides Sowmyan. One of the two would be an accounting person, supporting us in membership, accounting, administration etc. The other person would be a Wikimedian capable of training and guiding GLAM programs. This person will be tasked with supporting the community and preparing the video training modules when not doing face to face trainings. Details: [1]

We believe our current training approach of an academy of 0.5 days needs to be complemented by a video based module as well. It can work both ways. Those getting trained face to face can refer to the videos to reinforce their learning. Those who learn through videos can come for a face to face session to be able to clarify many hands on issues. The video based training would give us a very long reach. It can cover as many people as are interested. It provides a default alternative to anyone who seeks a physical training but is just too far away from the places where workshops are held.

Notwithstanding the video based training, we still find value in face to face training. Our current standard workshops cover the very basic functionalities such as editing, and linking. But they do not cover aspects such as adding tables, or more intricate formatting. When people come with basic skills it may be easier to teach them advance skills. Perhaps such advance skills will be easier to acquire for some people through on-line videos, given the higher degree of familiarity they may have after acquiring basic skills.

Face to face training approach is severely limited in the number of people who can be trained in a given time with the limited resources. The cost of such training also scales directly with the number of people to be trained. MOOCs are meant precisely for this environment. Mass training to hundreds of thousands of people at the same time period has been achieved by MOOCs, without increasing the cost in proportion to the number trained.

The training centre and associated hardware infrastructure is a proposal for many programs such as train the trainer, train the admin, train the public, and develop video based training modules. The multiple uses justify them.

3 Facilitation:[edit]

Indian language Wikimedia communities formed with the Indian language Wikipedias. Many of these are currently celebrating the 10th year anniversary. Having been such long standing communities, they have been operating with a degree of independence, and cherish their freedom. The group of admins have influenced the initiatives of the communities, selected focus areas, organized collective initiatives, and taken up quality improvement. Their work has a lot to do with the content. They do run events and programs for which they seek funding from WMF. Several people have sought small grants directly and executed the projects. WMF seems to be happy with many of them. These language groups also continue to seek WMF funds and do not typically look up to the chapter for complete funding. Malayalam Community and Telugu Communities have been beginning to use chapter funds. But Tamil community strives to be self sufficient or get WMF funds because they have many foreigners. In recent times they have looked at the chapter for bridging gaps in funding, or advancing money when their grant money is delayed. Kannada community has been operating in low key despite proximity to the chapter. Their volunteer base so far has been low and has just started looking up this year. Bengali community is looking for the Kolkata book fair and approached WMF. Telugu Community has arranged for a 10th anniversary related major meet at a cost of Rs 600,000. Malayalam Sangamotsavam is holding their Sangamotsavam event at a cost of Rs 600,000 this month. These communities have been looking at the chapter for funding of the order of Rs 200,000.

We have tried to hold smaller group meetings within cities on a regular basis. These have not sustained for long. The regularity has been disrupted. Revivals have also been unsustainable. Interactions with many indicate, regularity of attendance has been difficult for these small meetings. People respond with a sense of importance for the larger meets. Essentially, every one is looking for a return on their investment of time to attend an event. A monthly meet in a city such as Bangalore involves 3 hours of commuting for many to cut across the city, and the meet itself is of 1 hour duration. This is scheduled monthly in the afternoon of a Sunday. People wish to get back for a family outing on the weekly holiday. In this context, if the talk they get to hear is not adequately close to their field of interest, the interest wanes. The expected reward for the time spent in commuting is an interesting talk. What is interesting to one person may not be interesting to another. If one or two events fail to impress them, their future attendance suffers. Bangalore sustained 54 months of monthly meetings before the 55th was missed. Other cities were not as successful, with meetings happening in fits and starts.

This is when we thought large events are better value than small ones. The Te Wiki Mahotsavam in April 2013, and the Ta Wiki 10th anniversary in September 2013, were greatly remembered by the community because it brought together many people who had never known each other or never met face to face. The camaraderie and sense of joy and satisfaction among the participants was palpable. They were a bunch of people who gave their free time to Wikimedia every day. There are people who are almost addicted to the movement. Here was the occasion where they were getting a return on their investment and finding satisfaction. What more can one do to reward them? Wikimedia does not have to pay them for their service, since they took it up voluntarily. They did not even demand a get together as a reward. But, when the organizers, who were also similar contributors, extended this gesture of a large meeting, it suddenly seemed to open up a new window for rewarding, recognizing, and providing satisfaction.

The key take out from these observations is that we need to organize events that are large enough, where everyone gets adequate value for their time. This will expose people to hear more talks, meet more people, and have a greater probability of finding interesting experiences. Obviously Metcalf’s law is at work. The value to the participants tends to increase in proportion to the square of the number of people attending.

In this context, we could not believe FDC felt conferences are a waste of time and money and do not require support. We are not running a profit and loss based business. We are nurturing volunteers. We are rewarding them in a small way, in kind, emotionally, though not in the proportion to the market value of their time. Some of them also give monetary donations. But they are the bigger donors who provide unique value by their editorial contribution. We can say these ‘content generation time’ donors are more important than the ‘monetary value’ donors. They donate and in return we give them a certain emotional feel-good experience by spending a bit of the ‘monetary’ donations we receive from others. By suggesting the conferences are wasteful, are we suggesting their editorial contribution is not worth the expense? This may be a result of higher valuation of the ‘monetary’ donations over ‘content’ donation. Let us do a survey, and analyse data to see if these events do not satisfy the contributors and they do not have any tangible impact of new collaborations coming from these. Till such time, let us honour the value they put in without asking a hundred questions, or demanding anything in return. We believe conferences are opportunities for community members to network, enjoy their togetherness, recharge their batteries and work with renewed energy. These are the means of rewarding them in non monetary terms and sustaining the motivation.

We proposed 3 regional conferences and a national conference. Three communities have had conferences in 2013, TE, TA and ML, spending movement resources worth approximately INR 1.2 Million. All communities may or may not have these events annually, some may prefer to do it biannually or even with longer gaps, depending on the community. The costs have been based on experiences of previous meets.

Q: Why did we propose 3 regional conferences?
A: The country is large, 3200 Kms north-south and 2900 Kms east-west. It has 20 language Wikipedias. Regional events would more cater to local communities as against a national event where all communities meet and exchange notes. If we have an event in Mumbai, the folks in Assam are disadvantaged. If we have it in Guwahati, the ones in Thiruvananthapuram may be disadvantaged. Can we give scholarships to 100% of the people? Let us say we hold a single event over 5 days of 8 hours each. That would give 40 hours for 20 languages, at an average of 2 hours per language. A typical Indian is familiar with multiple languages. They have a higher probability of knowing the languages of the neighbouring states, but not those which are farther away. A conference of the 4 southern states may have a degree of benefit for all 4 communities. Even in a 3 day conference instead of 5 days, they may find 6 hours for each of their languages, and the rest from a highly probable familiar language. That gives them greater utility. The cluster of north-eastern states may have a similar advantage. Network theory suggests strong clustering among neighbours, and reduced but adequate connections between clusters work best in terms of enabling improved communication flow. When we have regional conferences, we reduce the travel distance, travel time, and hence cost. The number of conferences is not an issue. The cost is generally proportional to the number of people covered and the number of days. If regional conferences can give more valuable hours per typical attendee and reduce cost and time, they are the better option.

4 Administration:[edit]

Compliance risks associated with direct funding to individuals beyond a level:

India is a conservative country. We have many stringent laws aimed at safety and security from disruptive elements that are perceived to be keen to sabotage the nation. The hidden foreign hand is one of the factors feared. Governments will be conservative. These laws were created in response to a few untoward incidents. But the laws once framed hinder many genuine movements and initiatives too. Foreign currency inflow is one such issue. FCRA rules in India can be complicated. Not every community organizer is aware of these complications. For example the Indian Tamil Community works in close cooperation with the Srilankan Tamils. Indian Bengalis of West Bengal work closely with Bangladeshis. They are united by language and divided by nationality. When they seek to work together they may unwittingly cross some legal boundaries. As individuals, everyone can receive foreign funds to the tune of USD 10,000. Beyond this they have to subject themselves to scrutiny by the authorities. This oversight on financial transactions is not from the finance ministry, but from the home ministry which deals with law and order. This should give a hint of the suspicion laden oversight system in place.

Until now the chapter has not been adequately equipped to fund such events and hence for requests beyond the small grants or part funding, we were redirecting them to approach WMF directly. This is fine as long as language communities can receive values less than USD 10,000 from WMF. When they start getting larger values, they need to take care. If they slip due to lack of knowledge, they will be in trouble. When there was no Chapter, providing funds to them directly was the only way for WMF and it made sense. When the chapter has been operating for 2 years now, and these language communities have also started growing in size and spend on events, it may be desirable to let them get their funds through the Chapter. You may even give them through us with caveats that some amount is for a certain community/event, or with a constraint that we have no discretion to spend it in any other way. These sort of directed grants/donations are an internationally accepted practice. But please do not expose them to compliance risks. We appreciate the freedom of individuals seeking funds directly from WMF. They should have options. If we do not serve them or treat them fairly, they should not be without recourse to alternate means. So far, there has been no reason for any of them to have any grievances. They just continue their practice of getting funded by WMF. On occasions they do approach us for funds to supplement some grants for specific purposes. Our proposal did envisage more support to such language communities. But except for the Tamil Community others have not done an annual planning. The proposal from Tamil community, if it is to be met fully, would form a substantial part of the overall grant given to us, and hence we will have to advise them to continue to depend on WMF again. This may make them vulnerable to exceeding the limit of USD 10,000. WMF may not realize this, and the language community may be confused about it. When we advise the way we do, we may appear to have a vested interest. We do not want to be passive bystanders watching others get into trouble. We are clarifying the legal compliance situation to you.


Insurance is the next issue we want to highlight. By this we mean liability insurance for the governing team. Social activism is increasing around the world and Governments are wary of this phenomenon. There have been indirect attempts to muffle the social media by many Governments. India is perhaps only second to USA in the number of requests made to Google to remove content. There are perhaps many political outfits who want to earn limelight by taking actions, which can be seen popularly to be in the interest of the nation. During the WCI 2011 conference, an objection was raised about India maps in Wikimedia not showing the official borders with Pakistan as per Indian point of view. Facebook has faced public interest litigation for allowing people below the age of 18 to post on their website. In such moves, the office bearers of the affiliated entity face the first attack. We make disclaimers about the status of the chapter as unconnected with the content. But that kind of defensive argument can come up only after a legal action is initiated. The volunteer Executive Council members and officials face legal repercussions till such time this argument is heard and accepted. We understand that SLAPP suits are used as a threat to individuals who can be scared into submission, even without a valid legal case. To give relief to the governing team from such an eventuality and help them face the risk, it is important that they are insured. A certain minimum amount of about Rs 250,000 is to be paid by the chapter for such contingencies. Only beyond this level insurance come in to support. The insurance itself costs about Rs 800,000. This cover is one of the high cost provisions in our grant application. Without this insurance cover no volunteer may come forward to lead the Chapter.

As far as the office is concerned, we have been operating out of space provided at the largesse of CIS on a pro-bono basis. There are two reasons for proposing a new office for ourselves:

  • One is that we are growing and as we recruit more staff we need more space and cannot continue to rely on the largesse of supporters of the movement. We need a place of our own to show our seriousness and implement a professional program.
  • Second is advice received that has been shared with CIS, WMF and a WMF Board Member.

The above gives a brief description of how we built the core elements of high cost expense items in the plan projected to FDC for funding. This is not an exhaustive defence of every line item. It is aimed at clarifying factors that did not seem to get an appreciation.

Explanation of individual Line items from the WMIN budget document:[edit]

We present below some explanation of each line item in our budget. The numbers and their break up are in our budget document:

1 Regional conference:[edit]

This was explained above. They can represent a geography or a specific project. But aimed at cutting across multiple language communities. Three conferences were proposed with an attendance of 80 people. Expenses of this order can be compared with other language events from India approved by WMF GAC.

2 National conference:[edit]

We had a all India conference in WCI 2011. This is proposed after a gap of 2.5 years. The impact of this conference could be clearly seen in the wikistatistics for this period. It was the first conference and much appreciated by the community. The expense for this is comparable to the earlier conference organized in 2011.

3 International conference:[edit]

Wikimania and Wikimedia chapter’s conference are the events to which 3 people are proposed to be sponsored.

4 Brand promotion:[edit]

These represent the SWAG material distributed, and standees used in events. Standees are a clear indicator of a venue. They are also often captured in event images to project the wikimedia brands.

5 Outreach:[edit]

  1. Print material: These cover brochures, guide books and certificates to award winners. This year we are bringing out 4 language manuals. Next year we will bring out one more.
  2. Academies: This is for academies. Twelve outstation programs involving travel of trainers have been proposed. Apart from this, local academies may be held by volunteers. This heading also includes train the trainer programs of which 5 programs have been proposed.
  3. Technical: India is a software country. There is significant enthusiasm for this. In the past WMF have directly conducted a number of dev camps in India. In Nov 2012, Mr Erik Mueller had suggested that India has adequate competence in the country to run such programs and we can hold about 1 event per quarter in different parts of the country. This is our initiative to start this dimension of training and knowledge dissemination.
  4. Wiki Loves India: This follows from our phenomenal success with Wiki Loves Monuments and a verge to extend the contents about India available under free or cc-by-sa license.
  5. Innovative programs: This is to provide for some innovative initiatives of the community as well as some new initiatives in India that may not be considered innovative, but not held in India. Some GLAM programs and Digitization programs have been envisaged as part of this. We already have begun a significant GLAM initiative with National Museum at New Delhi. The success of this can give rise to many new programs. Digitization is in helping archives. We have also listed the Quiz program initiative aimed at awareness creation and popularization.
  6. Event participation aims at a moderate 4 numbers of events per annum. The proposal is low. We get invited to participate and talk in events. This is also a social obligation associated with a brand. People value Wikimedia and hence invite us.
  7. General outreach: One of the significant costs incurred by a volunteer in arranging events is the cost of communication. Many who take the lead find this pinches them significantly. While casual organizers may not mind a one time personal cost of telephony, the repeat organizers with greater enthusiasm have expressed a desire that they be compensated. We find this reasonable. The rality is many events are held in India without funding, and in all of them the serious volunteers find their telephone costs as the single most worrisome burden. We do not want people to turn off their phones and stay away from organizing for this cost.

6 Governance:[edit]

  1. EC travel conveyance and accommodation: There are 7 EC members distributed across the country. We are required to have a quarterly face to face meeting as a part of the regulatory requirements. Considering one of the events would be associated with AGM, and one may be closer to the board majority of the member’s location, 21 travels for the seven members for face to face meet related visits have been proposed.
  2. Communication: The EC has a teleconference every month. Considering members are geographically distributed and need to flexibility to participate from wherever they are, this has been provisioned. We also have domain names registered and a server that hosts our Chapter related content. This has also been provisioned against communication.
  3. AGM and compliance related expenses: This provides for meeting notices, documentation, filing of society returns to the registrar etc. These are statutory requirements. This also covers a annual report. We use the annual report itself as a Chapter related introduction material. Limited sets of copies of these are printed for use with the external world. Members themselves get a e-copy of the annual report.
  4. Audit, Legal and insurance: Audit is a statutory requirement. A statutory compliance consultant has been engaged to keep track of changing regulatory requirements and ensuring we do not slip on these. The larger component here is the insurance. The requirement was discussed in detail in the elsewhere in this document. The Rs 250,000 is a minimum cost Chapter will have to bear before insurance kicks in. This is a provision and may not be incurred. The Rs 800,000 element is the insurance premium itself.

7 Chapter office and overheads:[edit]

  1. Staff: We have one part time (50%) contractor today. We intend to have 3 full time people in 2014. Counting his experience, we propose to make the Executive manager’s role to be full time. He will build relationships with institutions, and take overall responsibility for all initiatives and supervision. One of the new person will be a trainer who will run various training programs in the training centre, prepare training modules for video based training, and also act as the Wikimedian in residence when commitments need to be closed. GLAM programs require Wikimedians in Residence. Often these roles can be played by students going through an internship. However such resources can not be always commit to closure when their term is over. In such situations to fulfill the commitments of the Chapter a employee will have to be assigned for closure. A second new person will be looking after administrative actions and accounts. This role is necessary to relieve the time the Executive Manager is tied up in performing accounting and administrative roles. We will look for a resourceful person in these roles so that he can help in many other ways as well.
  2. Contract services: This is a service required along with a new office cum training center. This is essentially for housekeeping and janitorial services
  3. Office expenses: These have been projected for a very moderate 6 tours per annum. This is also on the very conservative side.
  4. Printing and stationary: These are for forms, receipt books, visiting cards, letter heads, envelops, stationary, printing paper, Xerox, stamps, courier charges etc.
  5. Office costs, electricity, internet, supplies: The biggest cost item here is the rent for the office. This has been discussed at length earlier. Essentially we need a minimum office for statutory compliance. An address only arrangement is not accepted. Currently we operate using the address of CIS. The Executive manager works from home using CIS only for the address. We have been advised by consultants to move out of this office and have an independent office on statutory matters. The training center idea builds on this minimum office space. It is meant to cater to 12 trainees at a time. As discussed elsewhere the monthly rented space is more economical that renting training space on a need to basis. Electricity, internet charges, toner cartridge, etc are the other expenses covered under this.

8 Capital/One-time expenses:[edit]

The capital expenses are one time requirements. We feel all the expenses in this section should not be considered when growth computation is done.

  1. Electronic purchases: These include 3 laptop computers for the staff, data cards, 12 numbers of netbooks for the trainees, UPS, laser printer, inkjet printer, and projector. The netbooks are low cost devices and meant just for editing training. The projector is meant for use in the training room.
  2. Office furniture: These are for an office with 3 staff and a training center with one conference table and 12 chairs for 12 trainees. A cupboard is meant for storing files, and valuable items. The furniture proposed are functional and durable products and not fancy stuff that cost a lot more.
  3. Training and Video production equipment: These consist of a digital camera and tripod. The camera would be used to capture video tutorials sessions. They can also enable webcasting. The tripod is meant to give a steady image so that video data compression can be very efficient.
  4. Advances and deposits: When we rent an office space, the local practice is to take a 10 month’s rental as advance / deposit. This is refundable when we vacate the premises.

9 Contingency, Total, and Local component:[edit]

We applied a 10% variance to the expenses indicated by the above. The total expenses come to Rs 13,467,069 (USD 217,211) Of this we sought Rs 11,054,802 (USD 178,303) from WMF. The remaining will be met from local donations. Local donations amount to about 18% of the total. The capital expenses and one time expenses, and contingency provisions add up to Rs 1,789,590 (USD 28,864). The net revenue expenses requested to be funded by WMF is Rs 9,265,212 (USD 149,439)

Reply on reply[edit]

Thanks for your expanded explanation. While in its essence not being in contradiction to the proposal we based our deliberation upon, it does in some areas give a better possibility to understand the special challanges related to WMIN/India. What you write under adminstration above does for me give a feeling it could be worthwile to look through these issues in more details and including other grants being given from WMF to other persons and entities within India. I give some general feedback to you Reply below.Anders Wennersten (talk) 07:03, 16 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

We had given links to our budget document giving details of cost and also a strategy document giving the analysis that subsequently lead to the actions. Insurance was a high cost item, and the conferences are the other high cost elements. Hence we focused on discussing these. As part of administration we do a few other things as well. But these do not impact the budget as much. So we did not elaborate on them. Our internal micro grant process is one such initiative. This will have a few grant advisers and may be some what like the GAC. Our current process is based on the Executive Council acting like the GAC. We were at USD 15,000 level in our bootstrap grant and USD 5000 in a Q1 2013 grant. These were all small grants, from which we in turn gave micro grants of the order of a few hundred dollars. So the simplified process worked. For the 2014 plan at USD 150,000, we envisaged a GAC like team of advisers.
In a sense when communities have been getting grants from WMF directly, Chapter was not getting burdened. Similarly we will not be burdened, if such funds flow through the chapter and the projects are still executed by the communities. The end executors - communities – are the same, and they have been doing these already. We are a facilitator for regulatory compliance. The burden for us will be on accounting and bank operations. We had planned an accounts / admin person for this.
Insurance is not going to be a burden because it is a one time payment. Much of the work of scouting for a suitable policy, insurers etc are over.
TS-Sowmyan (talk) 16:32, 17 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

Rate of expansion[edit]

While seeing your plan in most parts to be relevant, I do beleive the expansion rate you propose is too rapid to be sound. There are experiences from many new chapters that has gone through the build up phase, and from these we have learnt of the problems of too rapid expansion. It takes time establishing internal control routines/policies, especially when going from an operational board to a more representative one. It do takes time to build up an office and support organization of employed people. And the time requirements of the volounters being key persons in the build up phase can easily become a bit too much. Why not keep you ambitions, but see them to be realized over a little bit longer time period?

We are unable to comprehend the rapid expansion concept. The grant sought was for INR 11 Million. The amount of procurement I was managing in the last company I worked for, with a lean staff of 6 persons was INR 250 Million. When growth happens we need to see the nature of the complexity they have. Conceptual complexity requires greater skills to overcome, while detail complexity needs more people to manage. When you remove all the one time expenses, and big ticket items that get done with less time and effort, we are left with organizing outreach etc. We are not inventing or using totally unproven methods. Often we use the routine methods deployed all over the world. Wiki Academy, Train the trainer, GLAM, QR code… whatever we are talking of are all established methods.
Let us view the high ticket items and see what the value means in terms of effort.
Insurance – spade work done already – INR 1,050,000
Advance for the office – INR 650,000
National conference – Scholarship, catering, and venue – INR 1,880,000 out of 2,050,000
(The selection for scholarship will be based on contribution criteria (data); catering services are plenty and have high level of competition; and the venue will be from established academic institutions or industry associations)
Regional conference – Scholarship, catering, and venue - INR 792,000 out of 912,000 (same effort as above)
Attending international conference by 3 people – INR 570,000 (this is a question of sponsoring).
EC travel, teleconferencing, Auditor, AGM, Compliance consultant, domain names renewal, server – 466,000 (Routine) (in the past we provided for minimal EC travel, and found a change of EC composition through elections changed the costs. In 2014 we will have 5 members ending their term. We will not know the composition and travel costs. We have provided for any contingency.
Staff salary – INR 1,920,000
Capital equipment - INR 461,000 (computers and such other equipment; standard products; highly competitive situation; effort is not much).
Office furniture – INR 210,000 (effort of scouting for sources etc already put in).
Camera – INR 56,000 (Standard product)
Variance – INR 1,062,000 (provision)
Total of identified high value events that have no complexity – INR 9,125,000
Of the above except for about 2/3 rds of the EC expenses, and about 1/3 rds of staff salary, others are absolutely new. Still, they do not pose much conceptual complexity or detail complexity. Where the expense heads are high cost, but easy to manage without significant detail complexity or conceptual complexity, scaling is not an issue.
Wiki Loves India – INR 661,000 (this involves some effort, as the scale is larger than Wiki Loves Monuments)
General outreach – INR 300,000 (this is towards communication costs of event organizing members. Administrative work will be a little more)
Rest of outreach and admin expenses are INR 3,381,000. This is of the order approved by FDC.
We are planning to have 3 staff instead of 0.5, and hence this order of outreach and admin over heads can be managed.
I guess when work is assumed to be linearly proportional to spend, the concern of scale and rapidity comes in. As highlighted above, bulk of the increase comes from many one time expenses or short term events. The remaining can be handled because of increased staff.
We have done a major conference in the form of Wiki Conference India in 2011. We have service providers with competency in doing similar work. Event management companies organize conferences like clock work. You may have heard of Indian weddings as very elaborate affairs. Every family goes through such experiences. When we have smaller events we may not catch the volunteer’s imagination as much as when we organize big events. Indian event management companies also organize such elaborate marriage events. Skills and competencies for event organization are available in all parts of the country through such service providers. We will resort to them because of the sudden surge in human resources required over a short period. If events have not proven to be a worthwhile investment in other geographies, it does not mean that the same will be true in to India because it has a different cultural context.
TS-Sowmyan (talk) 16:32, 17 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
As stated below we nine FDC members have handson experince from all chpaters that has gone from volounter based to hires staff. And in ALL here has been more problems then the chaprtes themselves anticipated in their plans (and noone have been ablo to speed up anyway at any extraordianry pace). In some cases this has lead to such probletic stituations that the whole chapter existans has been at risk. So controlled growth limits risk, plans for extraordianry growth creates risks and is also no seen to be able to follow anyway in practice.Anders Wennersten (talk) 19:56, 17 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
Anders, with all due respect what I think you (FDC) have failed to take into consideration that we already have one PT staffer who by his own admission below has been involved more on a FT basis whenever we required without extra compensation (which has been quite regular and the board is grateful to him for this). We cannot expect him to continue like this. What we need is help to move on, hire more people under Sowmyan and undertake tasks that we have been so far unable to undertake due to shortage of funds. The amount recommended is totally and woefully inadequate for that. My colleagues have given you an idea of the local situation, which is completely unique and unlike any other geography the movement operates in. There is probably 10x more information that we could provide on why things are different and why we need to be considered different but at the end of the day unless you experience the issues first hand you may not be able to comprehend this. For example, there is so much red tape that Sowmyan has had to travel to and fro the bank (about an hour from his house) four or five times to get one matter sorted. This is considered routine. If it makes things better, we could invite members of the FDC to come to India, sit with us and understand the dynamics of the country and our chapter what work we have done so far and what help we need to fulfill movement goals in our country. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 08:49, 18 December 2013 (UTC)Reply


The movement have hands on experience of what program gives good impact and what gives relative low impact. Also we know that conferences and events takes very much time and energy from volounteers, which is perhaps the most critical resource during a build up phase. So please read the FDC recommendation related to these issues a bit closer and see that these recomendationds are well meant and represent an accumlated exerperience of best way of spending energy and resouces in relation to impact, especially in a start up phase of a chapter.

If there is research on what gives good impact and what does not, we will welcome sharing of these. As far as conferences are concerned, we found large events do catch the fancy of the community. Ta-wiki, Te-wiki, and Ml-wiki have done large scale events with a great degree of competency. Many hands make light work. If they do not see adequate number of volunteers signing up and pledging support, they will not organize the events. It is not as if the chapter wants to get funds and go around trying to coerce reluctant volunteers into organizing a meet. The situation is one of catering to the demand that is coming from the community.
TS-Sowmyan (talk) 16:32, 17 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
FDC is made up of nine members all with first hand experience of programs, in total from more or less all chapters in the movement. The Board has asked us to be an advisory group to them just because we have this broad experience on what gives good value for money and what gives less. It can not be stated with certainty that the experience from 15 chapters is also valid for the 16th, but this is the setup for the FDC process that the Board has chosen. If there existed hardfact research FDC would not be needed, staff at WMF could do the valuation by themselves.Anders Wennersten (talk) 19:57, 17 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

The special Inda challanges related to administration[edit]

I am not familiar with these and do not undertand if your concerns in this area would have any effect on the recommended allocation. But even if it a more general issue, also related to the total picture of grant given from WMF to entities and individuals in India, I personally would be symphazatic to an effort to look further into this area. I do not know how and by whom, perhaps you in WMIN could propose some intitive that could clarify these issues?

There was a suggestion in the FDC recommendations that 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. Exchanging ideas and experiencing things first hand are always good. It would appear from previous decisions and the staff assessment that WMF executive may not have grasped the unique situations on our country and should have an opportunity to work in India for a while. Unless they are able to fully understand the kind of issues we face and the environment we work in, it would be impossible to judge us properly. To think this growth by 80% can come with existing resource levels is a tall expectation. We guess it is again some arithmetic assessment such as 0.5 manpower INR 1.8 Mn, 1 manpower INR 3.3 Mn. I (Sowmyan) have been a part timer on paper but have put in more than full time in several bursts during the last year, and almost continuously since August 2013. I am impressed by the enthusiasm shown by the volunteers who have been balancing their full time job and also doing voluntary work. I have sought to emulate them in my own way. However, just as volunteers burn out, I would also burn out, if I have to continue to be a lone ranger, and do not get support. We all want to see more professionalism, and I do not see how that would be possible without hiring professional staff? If you all think this can be done better within the limited resources made available to us, we should move aside, and welcome WMF staffers to come to India for a year and experience it. WMF was here directly for a while, and pulled out. You can also check out the operating costs from those days. We also believe the FDC questionnaire may have been designed to address the mature chapters, but did not bring out the potentials/ and concerns of an emerging/growing chapter.
India’s regulatory atmosphere is perhaps under estimated. You may have heard Walmart pulled out of its joint venture in India. We wish Indian communities are supported in a safe manner. We wish the volunteer board be protected from legal liability suits. The language communities could become vulnerable because of the large scale, large value events they wish to hold. The volunteer governance body is vulnerable because of situation al factors. We have no control on either vulnerability. Going by Sue Gardner's views expressed in her blogs, it would appear that Chapters as entities are not going to be trusted, and the organization prefers to directly fund individuals and smaller communities. If this is the policy, we should consider winding up chapters as entities. We do not see any reason as to why we must look at chapters with so much suspicion and deny funds even for a basic operation level with minimum staff, and a small office. To us it appears WMF is objecting to the minimum configuration proposed and want this to be pared down. Below this size of staffing the chapter will be unstable and can not operate, because a high level of volunteer burn out will happen among office bearers and key organizers.
TS-Sowmyan (talk) 16:32, 17 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
I can not follow your reasing here. FDC has recommended a funding that is 80 % higher then 2013 (or 113% dependent how you calculate). This in order for you to get started working with hired personell and begin the transfer from a operative Board to a supervising one, just as you say you want. In our recomemdnation we recommend you start this but at a lower pace that was in your plan. I see no difference but the timing.Anders Wennersten (talk) 19:47, 17 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
The percentage you state is highly deceptive. This is because most of our spends at the moment are programmatic. We not only need funds to increase programs, we need funds to hire more staff, an office and insure ourselves against any possible suits. Is FDC going to tell us that since we are not insured at the moment, we need to include that in our growth figures? That would be absurd. Or the volunteer board and members are to be personally liable (as per the local law) and our personal assets could be called upon in case the chapter is unable to pay. Do we not have a right to peace of mind like our counterparts at WMF and other chapters? In the future volunteers may not want to take up board responsibility should we be denied liability cover. Just because we have not had a national conference for two years, it is counted as fresh growth should we chose to hold one next year? We do not have our own office at the moment but need one now. Just because we earlier saved movement resources by accepting pro-bono support from another charity in terms of space. Now that we have been advised to move out it is going to be counted as "growth" to spend movement resources to hire an office? I think you need to have a thorough relook on how you calculate growth. We are ready for a dialogue on this issue should you be open to that. AroundTheGlobe (talk) 08:58, 18 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
I think we have not clarified the growth issue to your satisfaction. Let me give an analogy. In India we have a minimum wages act. No employer is allowed to pay any worker wages below this level. The minimum wage level is determined by the need for basic existence. Poverty line is defined as the wage level at which a person can not get one square meal a day. Depending on where we set the minimum wage level, we will have different levels of poverty alleviation. The level at which we set this min wages may well determine the average quality of life. Let us say the minimum wages are INR 5,000, I pay one person INR 1000, and 5 others INR 10,000. At the end of the year, if I give every one a 15% pay rise, it may be fair to the those earning 10,000, while for those getting 1,000 it is not fair. If I start paying this one wretched person INR 2000, an increase of 100% from the previous year, and claim we have been magnanimous, the claim will be hollow, as long as the threshold is below the minimum wage level of INR 5000. While we acknowledge we got 80%, we are still saying we have not got the minimum it takes to set up an office, etc. Sowmyan (talk) 19:43, 18 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
Can you then restate the numbers that you need to pay the person you alreday have on board and one more, and cost of office and insuranace and a Very basic cost for prorgam (and travel for you in the board).Anders Wennersten (talk) 20:18, 18 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
A revised budget version[edit]

I have created a reduced budget version. This is put up for review by the board. A link to this will be given by them after review. I am travelling and have limited access to computer and internet. Essentially we made the following changes.

  • (i)We dropped the national and regional conferences as these seemed to be the major objections.
  • (ii)We removed the training infrastructure by removing netbooks, training room table, chairs, and projector
  • (iii) We reduced staff count by 1, by doing away with the admin and accounting assistant. We assume the other two staff will be able to manage these tasks.
  • (iv) We reduced the office cum training center size in view of removing the training infrastructure and reducing staff count. This reduced the rent, advance rent as the major components
  • (v) We increased the admin travel costs as we had hoped to cover some travel along with national and regional seminars. These are now likely to happen through GAC by individual communities. They may still want chapter officials to attend them. Rather than ask communities to fund us, we would like to be self sufficient.

[Special:Contributions/|]] 16:25, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

I am very, very glad to see this. It is possible it is now too late to effect the Boards decsion that will be published in a few days, but I relly want us to work through the figeres and find out the critical pieces, for all of to learn and to better be able to dicsuss if any fixes is needed. One point I want to give feedback on already, before you have made the numbers avaialble, is the problem of getting up to speed. Experience tells us it takes time after the Board decision before you have the money in you bankaccount. It easliy takes up to three month and in an extreme case it has taken over four months. To get people and offices on board also takes time from the decion to hire/rent to the time it actually generated costs. So it is common for FDC to see a buget for say 2 persons full time from Jan 1, when a more realistic timeplan would be one after 1/4 year and the other almost after half a year. But we can continue to look at this when you have a complete set of numbers ready.Anders Wennersten (talk) 16:50, 29 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
Dear Anders, as per your request for a revised proposal, we propose a scaled down version here. -- ♪Karthik♫ ♪Nadar♫ 08:06, 30 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
I give my feedback below in my capacity as an indidual, not in teh role of FDC member. Also I do it in order for us all to udnerstand the figures involved better, not to give you advice on how you should work (and FDC grant are also for unrestricted use). Also my comment should not in any way be interpreted as any type of "bid" or altarnative allocations recommendation. FDC has given their resommednation and the decision from WMF board is due in the next two days not to be effected by my answer.
My commeents is using number in dollar, that is just for my own convenience
Smaller items;
Brand promotion, Communication, AGM and compliance matters related Expenses, Printing and stationery - your budget estimate $3311
I see just "normal" outlays here. $3000
Office expenses, Office rent and contract services - your budget estimate $8973
Loooks OK but cost would not start jan 1 $7500
Staffing - your budget estimate $25160
Number and salary OK, but do not agree on timing. salary increase for no 1 3 month delayed, 4 month before second on board $20128
Subtotal basics
Your est $37444, my est $30628 because of timing no difference in ambtion level
Print materials, Academies, Technical, Local Contests and pilots, Innovative projects, General outreach activities - your budget estimate $34654
Too high ambition, several items too costly. Aslo put too high burden on Boardmembers. With some cuts, some smaller budget and delaying most partas of the plan say 4-6 months $11000
International confenreces, EC travel, conveyance, accomodation, Events participation - your budget estimate $15350
I do think you should have the oppurtunity to travel and take your part of the movement. it is poosible though that you can get alternative fundings here. $6500
Subtotal basics+programs etc
Your est $87448, my est $48158 mostly delay of start and program
Capital expenditure - your budget estimate $9119
Complex mix, soem can be bought cheaper, oterh is a must, and the advance rent I do not know how to handle, not really part of FDC budget, perhaps fix part if through alternative funding $3000
Audit, Legal and Insurance - your budget estimate $18387
I just do not understand this and would like experts wiser then me to look into this. I beleive the FDC funding only can be seen to cover a "normal" insurance cost of around $2000
From my workthrough above I think I have seen the following
  • Most of what you want to be done can be covered even in the recommended allocation from FDC of $53000 by delaying parts and cut ambitions in programs
  • I get a feeling you have a starting deficit of something like $10000 (looking at the capital expenditure items). FDC funding is not made up to cover exiting deficits, and depending on how serious this deficit is, I would suggest you take this up wit WMF/WMFBoard. We have routines but are also humans that all want a successfull movement and especially in India
  • For the issue of cost for legal support and insuance I defintly think you must raise this with expertice wihin WMF. I feel the FDC process is not optimal o be bale to handle extraordianry issuies like this well
And take this feedback as you feel comfortable with, it is just my personal thoughts.Anders Wennersten (talk) 12:36, 30 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • Sowmyan would be Full Time immediately. Second Salary may start a little late but there will be cost of hiring as well, so it would be adjusted.
  • Office would start immediately. We need to move asap as per advise.
  • "Too high ambition, several items too costly." I have no idea how you have come to this conclusion. Given our past record, this is a conservative estimate of what we can do. If you can find ways to do things cheaper in India, we welcome you to come and do so - we could not find cheaper alternatives. Just because it is India DOES NOT mean everything is dirt cheap.
  • Where on earth will we get alternative funding from for travel? Do we have to rely on WMF Scholarships forever? As explained earlier, we do not have charity status with the IT department in India yet (though we are registered as a charity with the registrar of societies) so raising funds in India is difficult and complicated.
  • Once again, if WMF does not fund Capital expenditure, who will?
  • So we only get a nominal liability cover which would be more equal to a wooden sword! It is better not to have it at all as we are not doing it to satisfy legal requirements or any particular persons but for our own security. We have a proposal based on professional advise. Will WMF give an undertaking to underwrite anything that the insurance would not cover?
  • Do note that though we have removed major events etc., proposals are likely to be made directly by communities to Grants. This would be risky and an extra burden on communities. WMF needs to take full responsibility in case of any issue that may crop up due to this.

Thanks, AroundTheGlobe (talk) 08:14, 31 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

plese note I gave the fedaback as an indivual in order for all, including you, to undertand, and my feedback was not meant to give solution, and I did not give feedback as a FDC representative. Please disregard all my feedback, if you take offfence. Just one comment on your comment. Of cource you want office and salary increas fron Jan 1, but as I wrote, you will not have any funding in your bankaccunt on Jan 1, so it will be some months before you can make proper use of them.Anders Wennersten (talk) 10:06, 31 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

Deryck's support for positive reviews[edit]

My opening question is: What is the FDC trying to achieve?

Many of my readers will recall the episode in Wikimania 2013 a few months ago when Asaf denounced my comments about the FDC with the words "shame on you". Back then, Asaf defended the decision not to give WMHK any FDC funding, saying "the FDC judges a proposal as is, and does not recommend a number for proposals which they deem to large."

Even back then I knew that wasn't true. In 2012-13 round 1, WMFR was around significantly reduced funding; in round 2 WMNO. This round, all entities who submitted proposals received reduced funding. What is interesting is that all the recommended funding figures are round numbers in USD. So please forgive me for jumping to conclusions:

  1. The fact that all recommended figures were round USD numbers suggests that the FDC simply pulled them out of the blue based on an unbeknownst benchmark value, without identifying which budgeted activites of each affiliate are more worth funding than others. It would be an utter disgrace if this speculation were true. For example, it looks like WMIL will need to reduce its operation because the FDC recommendation didn't quite understand the subtleties in WMIL's operation this fiscal year. I'm ready to be proven wrong, but the evidence is hitherto strong.
  2. Ultimately, 20% growth makes sense for an organisation that already has a few members of staff and lots of things going on. However, for smaller affiliates with fewer than 5 members of staff (so that a single additional hiring will be less than 20% growth), step changes in budget of over 20% are by definition necessary for any growth to happen.
  3. Unfortunately, this round of FDC recommendations, and Anders's comment above, confirm my suspicion that WMF grants staff and the FDC simply equate the size of an organisation with its budget. This is unhelpful: Wikimedia is labour-intensive but low-capital, so it is commonplace for projects to have a large scale but small budget. It is absurd to think that an affiliate must spend US$30000 on projects operation without hiring any full-time administrative staff, then in the next year will be allowed to have US$36000 (20% growth) so they can hire 1 full-time staff to operate projects which have zero funding otherwise.
  4. The sad result is that when affiliates dream pragmatically, their budget is rounded down (as in all the proposals this round). When affiliates dream big (as in WMHK last round), they aren't given anything at all.

Based on all the reasons I've presented above, I support the appeals of both WMIL and WMIN, and further call on the WMF board and FDC to revise the goals of guidelines of FDC, such that their recommendations would be in the best interests of supporting local Wikimedians around the world in their Wikimedia work. Deryck C. 16:53, 10 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

We can help[edit]

It is really important that we have a strong presence in India but I know how hard setting up a chapter can be. I hope the FDC can have the wisdom to find a way forward on this that allows the chapter to flourish. We can help with advice, support, documents, job descriptions, policies etc etc and would be happy to do so. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 11:50, 11 December 2013 (UTC)Reply


We want to thank the FDC members for their work in reviewing the current APG proposals - no! For bad "work" there is no need to say "thanks". Marcus Cyron (talk) 00:45, 20 December 2014 (UTC)Reply

Regarding the appeal to the Board on FDC recommendation of CIS-A2K funding[edit]

This appeal was previously published on the appeal page. I moved it here and below I clarify why. --Frieda (talk) 09:55, 15 June 2015 (UTC)Reply

Dear María Sefidari and Frieda Brioschi

Several of the Telugu Wikipedia and Wikipedia community members outright rejected CIS-A2K’s Telugu Wikipedia proposal and we have filed a complaint with ombudsman regarding the FDC process, as we feel that community feedback was not considered. Even the FDC’s admission that its advice was not heeded with respect to incubating new language projects did not seem to have impacted the decision as several of the programs proposed are of that nature. Several pointers can be found in the FDC staff assessment and FDC recommendation that indicate that the proposal seems to be weak like more or less equal budgets for each program, consistent delay in reporting, lack of details on methodology for needs assessment, not being able to report specific impact of its initiative. It is surprising that FDC seems to be carried away by the reputation of the parent organisation rather than consider the reality of the last two and half years work of CIS-A2K. A more realistic assessment of CIS-A2K’s work was done by Telugu wikipedia and wikisource communities and these assessments were summarized in the final comments on the proposal talk page. The detailed analysis points to how CIS-A2K failed to engage with community in a timely manner, how it adversely impacted the quality by inappropriate use of bots for placeholder section headings in wikipedia and uploading text riddled with errors to Wikisource in its self-interest to achieve the metrics driven so called smart goals of the entire wiki project.These are difficult to correct and the cleanup effort is consuming most of the community’s time and energy.

Given the outright rejection by several senior members of the Telugu communities and serious concerns raised on Kannada projects and FDC’s own assessment that its advice was not followed, FDC’s recommendation of granting the same level of funding as last year is not justified. It actually emboldens CIS-A2K to override community thus causing long term harm to the movement.

While we would like the support of institutions for the growth of wiki projects in India, in view of the serious criticism and adverse effects of CIS programs, it is desirable to do a thorough inquiry and refine the India strategy before further funding. We request you to give due consideration to this appeal, though the appeal from the community does not seem to have a place as per the largely well thought out FDC framework. --Pavan santhosh.s (talk) 06:49, 8 June 2015 (UTC)Reply

Dear Pavan santhosh.s, As you note, the appeals process is outlined in the FDC Framework. Formal appeals on the FDC recommendations can be submitted only by the Board Chair of a funding-seeking organization. The complaint filed on this matter will be reviewed by the ombudsperson in the complaints process. Best wishes, Frieda (talk) 09:56, 15 June 2015 (UTC)Reply

Dear Frieda and María Sefidari, Thanks to Frieda for her response to Pavan santhosh.s's appeal. The reason that the complaint was posted on the appeals page is because the process of appeals also is defective, as it ignored the potential for community objection and even for the possibility of reducing the recommended amount by the board, in case the FDC recommendation is on the high side or is not considered fair. I think the current process did not consider CIS like organisation which are not membership driven entity unlike chapters/user groups.
As the Board is the ultimate authority, I hope that Board does not stick to the process when the process is known to be defective. My colleague and I have filed a complaint to the Ombudsperson as well, but it is not clear to us when the response from Ombudsperson will be available and whether that recommendation will have any effect on the board's decision. I request you to represent to the board to give serious thought to the appeal from the community before arriving at the decision as the community is the core for the movement. --Arjunaraoc (talk) 04:21, 27 June 2015 (UTC)Reply