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Community review has ended. You are still welcome to comment on these proposals, but the FDC and the applicants may not be able to respond to your feedback or consider it during the deliberations.

Please do not edit this proposal form directly. If changes are needed, applicants can request them on the proposal form's discussion page. Thank you!

Context material[edit]

Introductory remarks from Sue Gardner[edit]

I'm reproducing below the text that Sue sent to Wikimedia-l before this proposal was posted on Meta, as it contains a number of important clarifications about unusual aspects of this proposal, i.e. how it relates both to the usual WMF annual planning process and to the usual FDC process. I think there has been some confusion about these issues, partly because mailing list posts like this tend to vanish from attention into the archives after a few days and because - understandably - not many people click through all the links to background material ;) Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 01:38, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Hey folks,
The purpose of this note is to remind you that the WMF will be participating in the FDC Process Round 2, which begins tomorrow. I'd like to invite you to comment on the plan-in-progress, which will be at this URL within about 24 hours: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FDC_portal/Proposals/2013-2014_round2/Wikimedia_Foundation/Proposal_form
The WMF welcomes your thoughts on the draft plan. Of course you're free to ask questions and make comments on whatever aspects of it interest you, but we'd probably find high-level input the most useful. Does it seem to you that the WMF's 2014-15 planning is generally on the right track? Do you believe the four "crucial initiatives" as described in the draft are where the WMF should be focusing its energy? What do you think about our plans WRT the technical infrastructure, our mobile work, editor engagement, and non-technical movement support? Bearing in mind that we're an organization focused fairly narrowly on product & engineering and on grantmaking, is there anything really significant that you see as missing from the draft? Are we missing any important risks to the organization or to the movement overall?
Please don't reply here [i.e. on the mailing list], because your input might get missed by the people who should see it. Please reply on meta, at the link above.
And a few explanatory caveats:
First, it's important to know that the plan, at this point, is draft. That's new. Last year the WMF submitted material after it had been approved by the WMF Board and after the fiscal year had begun. That was an okay first step to getting input from community members, but obviously the input will have more impact if we get it before the plan's locked down. That's why this year we're submitting a draft version of the WMF plan, rather than a final version. We've deliberately synched up the timing of the WMF planning and FDC review processes such that the community/FDC input will come in during April and early May, which is exactly when the plan is being actively refined and revised on a near-daily basis by the team responsible for it (primarily the C-level people, and also the people who work in their departments).The benefit of this timing is that community/FDC input can easily be incorporated into our thinking while we're actively discussing and rethinking and revising internally at the WMF. The drawback is it means you'll be reviewing material that is still a work-in-progress, and so you may find mistakes. The plan may also be a little confusing, which is partly because it's still in-progress, and also partly because we are merging this year the original WMF-Board-only format with the FDC proposal requirements. It'll be a little clunky: we ask you to bear with us as we work out the kinks.
Second. You'll need to bear with us if we seem a little slow or unresponsive during the discussions. It's a busy time for the WMF: we're currently actively recruiting my successor as ED, which means Erik, Geoff, Gayle and I are far busier than we normally would be. And, the WMF will be working through roles-and-responsibilities for the FDC process in real time during the discussion period, which means questions may languish for a while before we figure out internally who's supposed to answer them. It might also be worth me saying that we won't have unlimited time for the process, and we're hoping it will be broadly participatory rather than being dominated by a small number of people. That means that if any particular person has lots of questions and follow-ups, we may eventually be unable to keep responding. If that happens to you, please don't be insulted -- it won't be personal. Also, if questions are asked and you know the answers (or can link to answers or more information) please feel free to help each other as well: you don't need to wait for us.
Third. You should know -- the WMF is not asking the FDC to recommend a dollar allocation for the WMF to the WMF Board for approval. Partly that's because from a timing perspective there's no good way to make it work. The WMF Board needs to approve the plan by 1 July 2014 when the new fiscal year begins, and the FDC input is released 1 June. That month-long window doesn't leave sufficient time for the WMF to adequately incorporate a dollar amount recommendation from the FDC into our cycle, particularly given that the window needs to also include WMF Board approval. Ultimately, I think it's fine that the WMF Board would approve a dollar amount from the WMF rather than the FDC: I think the most important function the FDC can play here is to help the WMF to evaluate and assess the strength of the plan overall. And so, I've asked the FDC to i) provide input on the plan on the WMF's proposal page during the community review period (the month of April), ii) give the WMF formal feedback (reinforcement, support, suggestions, concerns) on 8 May, and iii) if it chooses to, give a more full and detailed assessment of the WMF plan as part of its overall package of recommendations on 1 June. Any June assessment will not be received in time to significantly influence the plan upon which the Board votes, but we would take it under advisement as the year plays out. This is perhaps not ideal but there is no perfect solution, and I think it's a step forward from last year, because it'll mean the WMF gets community and FDC input at the point in the process when it will be most influential.
I am really pleased to have the WMF participating for the first time with its full draft plan in the FDC process. The draft will be posted within the next 24 hours, and your input is welcome from then until 30 April. We look forward to hearing what you think.

End of the text reproduced from:

Sue Gardner: "[Wikimedia-l] WMF FDC Proposal: we invite your participation" April 1, 2014

Thank you for this proposal[edit]

Thank you for submitting a complete proposal form by the proposal submission date! We realize that you put a lot of effort into creating this proposal, and many of us are looking forward to reviewing it in-depth. Wikimedia Foundation's proposal will be considered by the FDC in Round 2 2013-2014, provided Wikimedia Foundation remains eligible throughout the course of the FDC process.

Please do not make any changes to your proposal at this time without requesting those changes first here on this discussion page, so they may be reviewed and approved by staff. We will consider changes that greatly enhance the readability of your proposal or correct important factual errors or broken links, but you need not worry about making minor corrections to your proposal form if you notice them after the deadline. The FDC will be looking at the substance of your proposal rather than focusing on the language used, and so these types of minor changes are usually not needed. This is also done to ensure that any changes made to a proposal are really intended by the organization submitting the proposal. Thank you for your cooperation, as this helps keep the proposal process fair and consistent for all organizations.

Please monitor this page for questions and comments from the community, FDC members, and FDC staff. Engagement during this part of the proposal process is important, and will be considered by the FDC along with other inputs into the proposal process. Follow up questions from FDC staff should be expected early next week and community review will continue until 30 April. Staff proposal assessments will be published on 8 May 2014 and linked to from your proposal hub page.

Please contact us at any time if you have questions about your proposal or the review process. We are here to support applicants throughout the process.

Best regards, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 18:50, 2 April 2014 (UTC) (on behalf of FDC Staff)Reply

Questions and comments from Pine[edit]

Thank you for making this proposal public. I have only spent a few minutes with this report but I like what I see so far. I apologize if I missed answers to these questions when I skimmed the report.

A general comment: I think the four "crucial initiatives" were well chosen, and I'm especially glad to see EE and Mobile as separate "crucial initiatives".

More specific questions:

Cost increases for current staff[edit]

  • Can you break down the cost increases for current staff more specifically into categories for increased cost of living, merit pay, and increased benefit costs? Please also verify that increased benefit costs were included in the cost of living figure.
The cost of living increase is 2.1% and the merit pay increase is 3%. Increase benefit cost are 0.8% which are not included in the cost of living figure. Gbyrd (talk) 19:24, 2 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
  • What is being done to keep medical costs at a reasonable level of inflation? For an organization the size of WMF I think that medical benefits would be a significant expense.
Medical benefits are a significant expense which is budgeted at $2.6 million. The increases in medical cost are managed by our HR team, using a combination of partnering with an insurance broker to keep our cost increases as low as possible and a wellness program. Gbyrd (talk) 19:24, 2 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
In civil countries with more effective and less expensive healthcare systems, like Canada and Europe, such costs are included in the general state revenue. Considering WMF is an organisation with a global scope, it would be useful to have a global overview of welfare/taxation-related costs, though they're different from an accounting perspective. Concretely, it's hard to say how relevant a 2.6 M$ figure when I don't know how much is spent over taxation etc. (directly or indirectly) in other countries. --Nemo 22:07, 3 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

WMF locations[edit]

  • Has there been any consideration of moving any WMF facilities to less expensive locations?
WMF does look at lower cost locations when adding new facilities, such as a data center. Our average space cost are currently below market for San Francisco. Gbyrd (talk) 19:24, 2 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks, Garfield. Is there a strong reason for WMF to remain in San Francisco? The costs of locating there are significant. --Pine 07:00, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
The main reasons for staying in San Francisco is that this is where there is a significant concentration of engineering talent.Gbyrd (talk) 15:56, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hi Garfield, I understand how that makes sense if WMF was hiring thousands of engineers, but the organization has only about 200 employees, and WMF says in the Annual Plan says that locating in Silicon Valley is disadvantageous: "The job market for engineers began heating up in 2010, and continues to be extremely competitive, particularly in the Silicon Valley area." There are other places around the United States and around the world with engineering talent. There would be some disruption from moving operations, but companies successfully move on occasion and WMF did so in the past when it was smaller and the cost of locating in San Francisco was lower. I think it would make sense, especially when WMF does its next strategic plan, to think about saving millions of dollars annually by moving to a modestly priced city that still offers a good talent pool. Thanks, --Pine 07:11, 5 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
This issue may be better discussed in the next Strategic Plan so I'll save it for then. --Pine 07:56, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Travel expenses[edit]

  • Has there been any consideration of reducing travel expenses for WMF employees such as by encouraging more virtual meetings?
WMF has been adding more virtual meeting spaces, which are used frequently. As for travel cost, even with the growth in staff, we are only budgeting an 11% increase in travel cost. Gbyrd (talk) 19:24, 2 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Relatedly, we're still missing WMF data in Wikimania 2013/Budget. Transparency is important for community-driven activities like Wikimania to be continually self-assessed. --Nemo 22:07, 3 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
We will work on getting this data submitted before the end of the comment period.Gbyrd (talk) 16:04, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thank you. --Pine 07:11, 5 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
This information has now been added to the chart.Gbyrd (talk) 21:46, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Benefits of "Narrowing focus"[edit]

Moved under Grants talk:APG/Proposals/2013-2014 round2/Wikimedia Foundation/Proposal form#Narrowing focus

Global Education program[edit]

Moved under Grants talk:APG/Proposals/2013-2014 round2/Wikimedia Foundation/Proposal form#Narrowing focus

Next strategic plan[edit]

  • Does WMF intend to start a new 5-year strategic planning process involving the community in 2014? How are the expenses for that budgeted?
This question will be largely answered by the new executive director. We did not want to commit a new E.D. to a process that might not be in line with his or her thinking on strategic planning. That said, the C-Level staff and the WMF board have had conversations about whether or not a 5-year strategic plan makes sense for the WMF. There is a general feeling that a 5-year plan may be too long of a time horizon – given how quickly technology changes – and that a more iterative approach to strategic planning may be more effective. Funding for strategic planning ($300,000) is included in the Governance budget in the "Other" category. --Lgruwell (talk) 16:58, 2 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thank you. --Pine 07:00, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Capacity of WMF legal employees[edit]

  • I frequently hear that WMF lawyers are working at full capacity and I'm aware of one project that was cancelled apparently due to inability to budget adequate support time from Legal. Would it make sense to hire at least one more attorney or paralegal?
Hi Pine. Thanks for your question. I'm not aware of the specifics of the case to which you refer and I unfortunately do not have recollection of it. You are right however that we are working at full capacity, often late and on weekends. That said, I think we are fine with present staffing this year, though it will be tight. The communications department is being transferred to a C-level position, so I will no longer need to spend time supervising that department, giving me more time for legal issues. Also, we are fortunate to have a privacy fellow (paid for by Georgetown U Law Center) and another fellow hired this year who will give us additional support. We lost a wonderful in-house pro-bono attorney when she took a General Counsel position, and she gave us great support. We will miss her and her expertise. That said, I do not expect us to do many community consultations this year since most of the work is done (terms of use, privacy policy, and trademark policy); these consultations have traditionally involved time-intensive efforts for the lawyers. So overall - in light of the shift in my responsibilities and the unlikelihood of the need for more intensive consultations - I am hopeful that our present team size will be able to address the priority legal work this coming fiscal year. Thanks again for your interest. Geoffbrigham (talk) 18:00, 2 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks, Geoff. --Pine 07:00, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Individual Engagement Grants program[edit]

  • IEG's budget is expanded significantly to $500,000 in this proposal. IEG's annual spend has been much lower in the past. How does WMF intend to expand the number or budget of proposals that are successful in earning funding recommendations from IEGCom?
Hi Pine, thanks for asking about this. This budget is not for IEG alone, but for all our individual grants, apart from scholarships ($200,000) - the $500,000 includes IEG, the Travel and Participation Support program (which we intend to redesign this coming year) and other grants campaigns to increase the participation of, and support to, individual contributors. In IEG's case, we're considering the grants spend across two rounds in the same fiscal year as well as potential extensions (we budgeted slightly differently last year because of the pilot round), but are essentially sticking to the spend we know is feasible given our experience with the last two rounds (i.e. two rounds of a $150,000 each and 2 rounds of potential extensions of $50,000 each; this comes up to $400,000). We've put aside $50,000 for Travel and Participation Support (we run this in partnership with WMDE and WMCH; our contribution towards this is staying steady), and another $50,000 for potential grants campaigns we run this next year as an experiment around supporting individuals at scale through micro-resources and micro-grants. We're looking forward to thinking about this more intensively with you in the following months :-) ASengupta (WMF) (talk) 20:25, 2 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks Anasuya. Under the new annual plan will IEG be allowed to access product and engineering resources, and will Generation Wikipedia move forward? --Pine 07:00, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
We've been working with the product and engineering teams already in a number of ways, and will continue to do so in the coming year, including on datasources and tools for self-assessment. In terms of IEG, though, it will continue to be difficult to give grants this year towards projects that need integration (which is why we encourage the creation or improvement of gadgets), because of tech's stretched capacities. Re Generation Wikipedia, I'm not sure it's appropriate to comment on a specific grant in discussing our overall plan goals; as with any proposal that might have current challenges around implementation, if the proposal leaders continue to be interested in the idea, we can re-assess down the line. ASengupta (WMF) (talk) 14:02, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thank you. --Pine 18:58, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
ASengupta (WMF) or Qgil would it be possible to add some budget and technical staffing time specifically so that they are available in support of IEG proposals such as code review for IEGs? If this required an additional 0.10 FTE each year I think the marginal cost would be worthwhile. --Pine 07:15, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Pine, I think the current rules can be challenged, but they make sense and I would keep them at least 1-2 rounds more. In less than two years Wikimedia Engineering has multiplied by... four? the time invested in supporting Google Summer of Code, FOSS Outreach Program of Women, Google Code-in and Facebook Open Academy -- an all year round activity. Before embracing IEG as well, I'd rather focus on digesting this increase and improve the qualitative results of these initiatives in terms of shipping new features and converting participants in long term contributors. Also, we must be careful in any activity that mixes free software development and money (including paid internship programs) because they have a risk of distorting healthy volunteering environments. I keep encouraging technical contributors to apply for IEG knowing the rules, and I believe there is a chance for useful technical projects that don't require extra WMF Engineering time for review, merge, and deploy. If someone has a good idea that can convince the related maintainers, please share it.--Qgil (talk) 23:32, 1 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks Qgil. Sbouterse (WMF) when you're working in IdeaLab or declining technical proposals for IEG because of the need for WMF technical resources can you direct people to the programs that Qgil mentioned? --Pine 23:33, 2 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
When appropriate, I already do this, and others are always welcome to as well :) Cheers, Siko (WMF) (talk) 23:59, 2 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
Great, thanks Siko. You're great at being on top of things like this. --Pine 20:37, 3 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

Rate of WMF spending growth[edit]

  • Could you explain how it's reasonable for WMF's spending growth rate to be significantly exceeding the growth rate of active editors?
WMF is only one of many movement entities working on this issue. A portion of our budget is for spending on the retention and growth of active editors, but it is not a measure that I see applies to our overall budget. Gbyrd (talk) 19:24, 2 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I think of the situation like this: WMF's costs are increasing at a faster rate than the rate at which its user base is growing. This would be similar to a cell phone developer's costs increasing while the number of phones it sells is flat or decreasing. That is a problem if it is allowed to persist and suggests a need for greater cost efficiency or growth in sales that is at least the same rate as the growth in costs. I would be interested in WMF's thoughts. --Pine 07:00, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
As most of the growth is in engineering, to use your framing, we are making investments in the future of the Wikimedia projects. For example, for us not to invest in mobile would limit the accessibility for both viewing content and contributing content in the future. So I agree that we need to be mindful of cost and rate of growth, but we do need to make the investments needed to make sure we can meet the needs of both our current and future readers and editors. Gbyrd (talk) 00:02, 5 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
OK, thank you. --Pine 07:13, 5 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

New software engineers[edit]

This discussion was moved by Nemo to a separate section below. --Pine 20:02, 3 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

Code review[edit]


  • I have heard talk about starting an endowment for WMF. This isn't discussed in the Annual Plan. Will there be any serious planning for an endowment in the 2014-2015 time frame?
Hi Pine- We have done some initial research on what an endowment would entail and presented that to the board. We advised the board that we should have this conversation in the context of the next strategic planning process, so that we could have a broad conversation about it. --Lgruwell (talk) 02:57, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
OK, thank you. --Pine 07:29, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Merit pay budget[edit]

  • I would like to ask a further question about the merit pay budget, and this isn't intended as a critique so I am trying to be careful with how I word this question. I think WMF's selection and performance management philosophy for employees is to pick employees who are internally motivated for the WMF mission and then mostly assume good faith. If above-median compensation isn't one of the reasons that people work for WMF and it isn't a big motivator to perform well for employees who are already internally motivated, then what is the reason for having a merit pay budget? There might be a good reason and I'd like to know what it is. Otherwise, WMF can save the time and politics of managing a merit pay budget by eliminating the merit raise process and instead adjusting annually to changes in the labor market to stay at the same compensation levels relative to the median, right? I'm not arguing for eliminating this funding, I'm just wondering if there is a more effective way to use the same compensation money. Thanks, --Pine 07:50, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hi Pine, according to HR the 3% across the board envelope + the cost of living increase, while modest, is one of the ways WMF signals about performance and is a consistent year-over-year mechanism in keeping with the annual review cycle for adjusting relative to the labor market and gives individual managers a small amount of flexibility of budget if they need to do any internal aligning. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 17:05, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
OK, but the merit pay isn't applied 3% across the board, right? Is it a 3% maximum or a 3% average, and is it applied to employees individually or is it applied to all employees equally for the performance of the entire organization? Also, if some of the merit pay is actually being used for market adjustments then I think this budget should be clearly labeled as a combination of merit pay and market adjustments. --Pine 07:37, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
The 3% creates funding to provide adjustments to compensation as needed, whatever the reason. "Merit" is the language we use at WMF for this type of funding.Gbyrd (talk) 14:22, 14 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
OK, but is the ceiling 3%, so that we don't have some employees getting 0% and others getting 20%? And if this is a discretionary salary adjustment for any reason I would call it something like "discretionary raise budget" rather than merit pay so that its purpose is clear. --Pine 02:28, 16 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Tbayer (WMF) I'm still waiting for a reply on this one. Thanks, --Pine 23:35, 2 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
The 3% is not a ceiling. As I indicated in my prior response, "Merit" is what we call this type of funding for compensation adjustments.Gbyrd (talk) 00:01, 3 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
Gbyrd, thanks, what I'm saying is that I think this funding should be named something that's more descriptive and explicit about including market adjustments. This way an employee who gets a 5% raise with 100% of that for market reasons and 0% for merit reasons doesn't get to call it a merit raise. In other words, I'm trying to promote truth in labeling. Thanks, --Pine 20:27, 3 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
When a employee get a change in compensation it is identified what amount of the change in their compensation is a result of, cost of living, merit, or market adjustment. The language we use for budgeting is not the same language that is used for a compensation conversation and compensation documentation with an employee.Gbyrd (talk) 18:30, 5 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

Budget breakdown[edit]

5th floor of current building[edit]

  • I have heard some discussion about WMF possibly taking the additional 5th floor. Is there a possibility of a half take instead of a full take? If it makes sense from a productivity standpoint to do a full take then that's ok, but I'm thinking that phasing in a half take this year with the option for a full take next year might make sense also. --Pine 08:43, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hi Pine, you may actually have read that in this document itself (it's twice mentioned in the Q&A: "the expansion to the 5th floor of our current building", "expanding the office space to take over the 5th floor to accommodate staff growth"); Sue also talked about it in the February (I think) metrics meeting.
To help answer your question, can you explain what you mean by "phasing in a half take": sharing the floor with a second tenant, or only starting to occupy the floor during half of that fiscal year? My guess is that the building owner doesn't offer the option to rent only half of the floor (these floors have an open office structure without separating walls; with e.g. only emergency exit per floor, I could imagine that it's not possible to have two tenants on the same floor without at least a lengthy and costly reconstruction, building additional walls etc. - BTW you can find an older plan of the 5th floor at the real estate agent's website here). But you may have meant the other alternative instead.
Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 16:57, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hi, I read about this in the report and heard discussion in the March metrics meeting. I think that WMF currently has the lease on the 5th floor and subleases it with the right to force out the subtenants. Because the plan for the next year is to grow staff by about 25% while taking the entire 5th floor would increase the floor space by 50%, I'm asking if it would make sense to take over only half of the 5th floor. Small businesses frequently are clustered together in the same building on the same floor. However there might be some productivity or privacy reasons to take the entire 5th floor such as a demonstrated productivity benefit from having the 5th floor designated as a "quiet floor" with no audible telephones and minimized discussion for people who want to locate their desks there. From my point of view this decision is as much about budget as it is about productivity. --Pine 07:37, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Our proposed annual plan is for WMF to occupy the full 5th floor, as there is no practical way of using only 50% of the floor and allowing a subtenant to use the other 50%. We are also need to reduce density on the other two floors of the building so occupancy will be more than the 25% staff growth.Gbyrd (talk) 14:28, 14 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
OK thanks. --Pine 02:29, 16 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Just wondering out loud here but why doesn't the WMF and some of the Wikia stuff consolidate. I realize that the 2 entities are seperate but there are a lot of overlaps and it seems reasonable to me for some things to be colocated, such as some of the Media Wiki development or the Visual Editor development. Then it would be more cost effective for both organizations and a better utilization of funds. Reguyla (talk) 15:24, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Reguyla I'm moving your comment here where I think it's more visible. Gbyrd can you respond to this? Thanks, --Pine 23:36, 2 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
When it is appropriate, the Wikimedia Foundation Engineering team does collaborate with other volunteers, organizations and companies working on Media Wiki and Visual Editor projects including Wikia. A consolidation or coordination of Engineering resources with any volunteer, organization, or company has to very carefully calibrated and must have an aligned project plan, which is why one of our most significant collaborations is with Wikimedia Deutschland and the Wikidata project.Gbyrd (talk) 00:16, 3 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

VisualEditor re-launch on English Wikipedia[edit]

Is there a plan to re-launch VisualEditor on the largest Wikipedia project, English Wikipedia, in this fiscal year? If so, what is the launch plan? I have heard hints that this will be a decision made by the new Executive Director and if so I think this should be documented in the plan, since it will be time-intensive for staff and poses significant PR and community relations risks. On the other hand, if it is re-launched and well received, it may benefit the strategic plan goals. --Pine 20:20, 3 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

User:Pine, I saw this question on Lila's talk page, and User:Whatamidoing (WMF) brought it up in VisualEditor Office Hour today. :) James's response (condensed to remove interjecting comments by others) is "So… re-enabling VisualEditor on the English Wikipedia isn't something we particularly want to rush into doing. Rushing anything – in particular, rushing to meet some arbitrary deadline – is a really great way to make things worse, not better. We spoke about this last Office Hours, but it bears repeating: There is no "official plan" at all with regard to the English Wikipedia. I'd be interested in thoughts about whether it's something worth pursuing. I know that a community member started writing an RfC on re-enablement a couple of months ago, but that seemed to be agreed to be premature at the time. Maybe that time is now more appropriate? That's obviously a community decision." The logs with context will be posted soon (the hour is not yet over) at IRC office hours/Office hours 2014-05-19. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:41, 19 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

SMART goals[edit]

On a similar theme to the thread started by Nemo under Grants talk:APG/Proposals/2013-2014 round2/Wikimedia Foundation/Proposal form#Measurable results, I would like to see more extensive use of SMART goals in the Annual Plan. Also, as someone suggested to me in an off-wiki conversation, the WMF monthly reports are good and it would be beneficial to take some inspiration from those reports for the formatting and documentation of the Annual Plan. --Pine 20:34, 3 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

Thanks (:

--Pine original set of questions and comments ended 08:34, 2 April 2014 (UTC) and additional questions have been asked.Reply

New software engineers[edit]

Split from #Questions and comments from Pine
  • Could you be more specific about what the 14 new Software Engineers will do?
Yeah, to a point. Our work in eng/prod overall is very iterative, of course, and the below is subject to internal and external feedback, real world experience and the final budget amount. At a high level, we're not currently planning to build a whole new development team (at the scale of the Flow or VisualEditor team). Here are a few goals that have informed the plan:
  • We're considering a small (roughly 2 person) effort focused on mapping-related infrastructure which is a shared need for lots of projects, esp. mobile. This would be similar to our current search infrastructure effort (also a 2 person effort), delivering the basics (e.g. robust, scalable OpenStreetMap tiling service) but not yet a huge amount of new functionality, rather, enabling other teams to then leverage this in building features/products (e.g. a map-based "nearby" view for mobile). Underlying hypothesis here is that with the shift to mobile overall, we'll want to leverage geo-related functionality more consistently across the board as part of new contributory funnels. We also know it's high on the community's wishlist.
  • We're planning to get more of our teams ready for multi-device development while maintaining the current high velocity of the mobile team. This likely will translate to significantly adding to the mobile team's bench strength overall so that experienced experts from the team can spend more time with teams like VisualEditor, Flow, etc. to get those products to be fully mobile-ready. In addition, we're also intending to increase the size of the iOS and Android app teams to 3 engineers each, respectively, as we are making a small bet that apps can play a bigger role in editing and reading than they do today. The apps will relaunch in a few weeks, so that'll give us some good early indicators of whether that's a good bet to make.
  • We're intending to put more effort towards a service-oriented architecture for our technology platform. This means building out dedicated services for new needs (e.g. a URL-to-citation service for VisualEditor) and potentially taking parts of MediaWiki today and more loosely coupling them to the core application. In the long term, this shift (which will have lots of implications across the board) will enable us to build new functionality more quickly, by reducing the degree to which the MediaWiki core application has to be modified to deliver it.
  • We'll augment existing teams with stronger operations support, which sometimes has been a bottleneck in the past.
  • We're considering a dedicated effort to overhaul the API documentation, with an eye to a parallel development/documentation effort (probably including a clean-up/redesign of https://en.wikipedia.org/w/api.php ).
  • We're considering two ScrumMaster hires to reduce the need for engineers to spend time on process-related responsibilities. We'll likely experiment with giving this shape in a small group dedicated to improving team practices.
  • We're likely going to add an engineer to the existing work on admin tools.
HTH, --Eloquence (talk) 06:52, 3 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks Eloquence, that sounds good to me, especially with regards to Mobile. --Pine 07:00, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

The breakdown here is a bit confusing. There are 34 new full time equivalent (FTE) proposed for Infrastructure, Mobile, and Editor Engagement; which correspond to the increase in table 6 for the two departments of Product and Strategy, Engineering. Considering that you only mention 6 engineers for mobile (apps) above, the 5 remaining new FTE for Mobile must consist of different positions among those listed in notes 1 and 2. Correct? Did you also consider as part of the Mobile or EE FTEs some of the cross-team resources like scrum masters, liaisons and testers? --Nemo 10:07, 3 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

  • Formatting note: those budget tables and notes are formatted in a way that makes it difficult to understand what is going on, and should link to more in-depth explanations of costs, as demonstrated by the extensive discussion on this talk page. In the next draft of this plan I hope these issues will be addressed. --Pine 20:06, 3 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

The separate world of Mobile[edit]

I notice that till now on this talk page we've not yet addressed directly what seems to be the biggest decision in this proposed plan, i.e. mobile (though personally I think the single most important point in this plan is the lack of something: see #Stabilize infrastructure: AWOL; and there's also the stabilisation of Editor Engagement with 6 conversions). I don't know what to think about it but I know that it's important to discuss it.

Specifically, the current text proposes about 1 million of increase in spending (44 %) for 11 additional FTE (see also above on the breakdown). Can you confirm that no new staff is planned for MobileFrontend (mobile skin/site) work? Cost is not necessarily proportional to FTEs because more productive engineers tend to cost more (and I seem to recall that Mobile has a higher proportion of senior staff than other sub-departments; that may also explain part of #Budget breakdown?). To actually have an opinion on this proposal I would need an answer to #Measurable results first, but for now an aspect worth discussing came to my mind.

(End introduction.) The issue is that mobile has been, till now, an almost completely separate world, to which moreover most were not paying much attention (uh, mobile site used custom fonts? who knew!). Specifically, MobileFrontend is supposed to be a skin but sometimes looks like a complete reimplementation of MediaWiki from scratch: all standard interface elements are removed by default and then re-activated on a case by case basis [or re-implemented (almost) from scratch?], which basically forces a separate approval/whitelisting for every single new feature developed in core and other extensions; some features asked many years ago for MediaWiki core (for use on desktop site, third parties) are not even remotely on the radar and then suddenly they get developed for the mobile site only. Of course I'm over-simplifying here, I hope any less-technical reader is still following me.

I'm not saying anything new of course, this is acknowledged in the plan itself: «we will need to begin shifting away from a “mobile web” team existing as a distinct unit internally, and instead have every team at WMF develop responsive, multi-device functionality». However, I'm confused: how can this happen, as long as we have a separate codebase (extension) for the mobile site and we make it diverge more and more from core in terms of features? It seems to me that the focus is currently on embedding a mobile expert(ise) in the various products to make them fit the tight restrictions imposed by the mobile skin, rather than on actually integrating them. What's worse, the same story may happen all over again if an intensified app work re-implements half MediaWiki. Cf. bridge gap between desktop and mobile in a 'safer' environment, mobile may be a good way to test delivery [...] get mobile users in closer touch with community [...] avoid walled gardens, can't be an afterthought [...] make sure their stuff works on mobile.

--Nemo 10:07, 3 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

Narrowing focus[edit]

Benefits of "Narrowing focus"[edit]

  • What benefits have been achieved from the "narrowing focus" initiative?
Thanks for the question. Narrowing focus came out of a realization that we were spreading ourselves too thin. We had global programs staffed by one or two people – charged with solving massive problems. It came out of a desire to do a few things very well, instead of give an inadequate amount of attention to every problem. The conversation also centered around what work should WMF take on and what work should be left to partners or to the community generally. As a result, some programs were discontinued and staff was reassigned to priority projects. It meant that we had more people working on fewer things. We have now been operating under this more narrow focus for a year and a half. It seems like we now have a better understanding of what resources it takes to have a global program or tech initiative succeed. We either fully commit those resources or we don't do it at all. We can always be better at living up this this, but I think it was an important reorientation. --Lgruwell (talk) 16:38, 3 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thank you Lisa. I know that fellowships transformed into IEG and the US-Canada education program spun off, and those changes seem relatively minor. Were there other changes as a result of Narrowing Focus? --Pine 07:00, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hi Pine. The other two changes were around the Catalyst projects and a lesser emphasis on events. Here is a place where you can find more information: The presentation to the board regarding narrowing focus and Sue's notes on meta . I should also mention that recently the U.S. Education Program's work was spun out to a new nonprofit, the Wiki Education Foundation, which is in the process of obtaining its nonprofit status. --Lgruwell (talk) 17:31, 7 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thank you Lisa, I had forgotten about those two points. --Pine 22:18, 7 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Global Education program[edit]

  • Where does the education program fit, since it doesn't seem to be a "cruicial initiative" even among the "non-technical movement support" initiative which includes "grants, evaluation, legal support and communications"? If the education program isn't a "crucial initiative" then should it be discontinued per the "narrowing focus" initiative?
    • Here's an afterthought. Should the education program be a standalone "critical initiative"?
The Education Program is a critical part of the newly expanded Grantmaking team, particularly as we see ourselves as supporting the movement with non-technical, non-legal resources: i.e. we're not just about distributing money, we're also about supporting the growth of community and content through ideas, tools, skills and other resources. WEP is moving towards a less hands-on model, becoming a 'facilitative hub' for different programs around the world, and being part of the Grantmaking team means we can offer end-to-end support for different activities and processes. For instance, we can support the growth of the Arabic WP community through the WEP, which in turn might generate new energy in the Arabic community for other programs and resources that can be supported through grants. This is why WEP's addition to our team is so promising, and why our targets include significant work by the Education Program. ASengupta (WMF) (talk) 13:52, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thank you. --Pine 18:58, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Narrowing focus and affiliates[edit]

I was very glad of the narrowing focus WMF have been through, but I still feel there are opportinities to further focus the work of WMF and let more acitivities of an ourtreach kind to be done by other entities (chapters). Basically I think of the EE work but also some of he evaluation activites. I beleive the chapters can be given more responsibility to run these typs of acitivies, even some of a global coordinating type.

Can you be more specific around that, Anders? What types of editor engagement work that is currently done by WMF do you think can/should be taken on by chapters instead? Thanks, --Eloquence (talk) 18:18, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I was thinking of the whole budget item for EE and that part of the plan. Why not allocate that in a chapter instead of WMF.--Anders Wennersten (talk) 19:12, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I watched the metrics meeting yesterday and think I understand the current work being done by the EE team. Much of the work is heavily involved with the software so it seems properly placed with WMF for now. Perhaps in the future EE, evaluation, community advocacy work could be done in several organizations that are spun off. But I think that is pretty far done the road. My opinion is that the work was not being done by anyone until WMF added teams to do it and it came late and as was much needed. I would need see an organizations who can approach it from a global perspective better than WMF before I would like to see these areas handed off. Sydney Poore/FloNight (talk) 19:30, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
That's correct - it's primarily technical/user experience work. Note that we no longer have a "Community Department" tasked exclusively with non-technical interventions -- most of that kind of work is now done through grantmaking (stuff like the individual engagement grant in support of Wikisource, or community work by chapters and others supported by grants).--Eloquence (talk)
This all makes me utterly confused. After reading the text in the proposal, I find that it talkes of a dedicted action area with resources supporting editing from Uni/Schools, that is just the type of work that is seen also being done by Chapter resources. In your replies you talk of this as a tool being developed in the SW developing department, which is not what I can find by reading through the text in this plan. If that is correct then I feel it must be soemting missing in the text of this proposal and wonder why it is specified as a special action areas, and not part of the general sw development efforts?--Anders Wennersten (talk) 05:46, 5 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Anders Wennersten: I refer you to the "Editor Engagement" subsection of the Key programs, which makes it pretty clear that this is about engineering work, no?--Eloquence (talk) 19:55, 7 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Anders Wennersten I'm trying to understand where you are getting confused. To me it makes sense to have EE located in Product and Engineering. I don't think chapters have the technical resources to take over this work from WMF, and WMF is in the best position to scale the benefits of EE software through all the wikis. --Pine 22:18, 7 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Event Coordinator[edit]

Well, for instance "Engineering" proposes "14 Software Engineers, 3 Ops Engineers, 2 QA Testers, 2 Scrum Masters, and 1 Event Coordinator". I'm confused how the "Event Coordinator" fits with narrowing focus. If it's a travel planning administrative position, it would be useful to change the name. A rather minor thing, but still. --Nemo 10:17, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Nemo: I think our approach to engineering events is pretty rational at this point (and consistent with Sue's recommendation). In a nutshell:
  1. We need one opportunity per year for the whole WMF tech department to come together. WMF does an annual all-hands meeting, and historically we've had a tech all-hands associated with that (see last year's Tech Days for example). In addition, we need to bring together technical leaders across the MediaWiki world to think about the architecture of the platform in deeper ways and move it forward. In the current fiscal year, those were two separate meetings, since we did the Architecture Summit for the first time. My recommendation for next year is to combine them into a single meeting, adjacent to the all-hands meeting, to minimize travel cost, and to make it open to community technical contributors. This is an SF-based meeting.
  2. We do various team offsites throughout the year. This is especially important for highly distributed teams (e.g. language, ops), but also for focused thinking outside the normal office context (e.g. long term roadmap work). These are smaller, anywhere from 5 to 30 ppl, but still need some degree of support. The same goes for smaller in-office events (guest speakers, hosting participants in mentorship programs, etc).
  3. We partner with local partners for international tech events. This year it's Wikimedia CH for the Zurich Hackathon. We've also worked a lot with Red Hat for language engineering related meetings in India. We are not planning any international hackathons organized by WMF. And of course we have very significant staff presence at Wikimania, and do a hackathon there every year.
The internal logistical/administrative/programmatic support varies, but it's not limited to travel. For example, for categories 1 and 2 it includes securing appropriate venues, Internet access, developing the program, etc. For all larger events with selective participation, a big piece of work is surveying folks internally and coming up with a fair final list of attendees, cost estimates, etc. And whenever you have >10 ppl travelling it's a good idea to have support staff on-site in case of smaller or larger emergencies or just basic assistance - it would be unreasonable to rely entirely on local partners for this. These responsibilities exist today - they're just handled by the admin team. The idea is to a) add capacity due to the increased size of the department, b) move them into the Engineering Community Team which has primary programmatic responsibilities for many of the above events, and generally advises on volunteer participation.
Quim may have more to say but that's the gist.--Eloquence (talk) 01:38, 17 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Nemo bis and Eloquence, I just want to add that the ECT is small enough not to have "pure" roles. Yes, we need someone to focus on the big and small events (online and face to face, open and WMF internal, in San Francisco and elsewhere). However, that person would help in other areas as well. From our point of view, events are part of outreach, just like the GSoC / OPW / GCI programs, just like our MediaWiki social media channels. All these activities are driven by calendars and deadlines, as opposed to the work-in-progress style of most ECT activities. We expect that person to help and perhaps even be the main responsible of these areas as well one day.--Qgil (talk) 17:29, 22 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Education program[edit]

Similarly, I don't understand how this fits with the alleged narrowing of focus. Rather than decrease, I see a proposed further increase of spending, with "1 Global Education Officer". The "integration of the Wikipedia Education Program and the Program Evaluation and Design teams" makes the scope of both highly unclear. It's implied that the Egypt and Brazil programs will continue (the latter executed via another org) but not what's the role of the rest: "laid the foundation for an education cooperative", what's this thing? Do you mean a w:Cooperative in the actual sense of the word i.e. a separate organisation? --Nemo 10:17, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Hi Nemo, thanks for this question, and apologies again for the delay. As I've responded elsewhere on this page, the Education program is shifting its approach as we move away from running our own programs towards offering grants and other resources for our communities. As a reminder though, in the Narrowing Focus document, Sue made clear that while tech and grants are two primary focus areas, we would continue with the Wikipedia Education Program (aka Global Education), Wikipedia Zero and Community Advocacy.
In any case, re the Wikipedia Education Program (WEP), we've found that our communities around the world use different versions of the 'education program' - from working with high schools to universities, in a variety of models - and the Wikipedia Education Program would like to become a facilitative hub through which different kinds of resources for education programs - materials, skills, tools etc - can be developed in collaboration with community organisers. In order to be working with this plurality of context - and not assuming that one size fits all - the WEP team has initiated an informal 'cooperative' with Wikimedians running education programs (individuals and organisations). The first meeting of the cooperative in March included representation from over 10 different Wikimedia education programs. So this cooperative is not a separate organisation, it's an informal collaboration structure to be more effective in our worldwide efforts to partner with educational institutions as key entry points for increasing and improving content and expanding community. In addition, as we understand more about the different kinds of education programs being run in different communities, we can support WEP's resources with grants where appropriate (some of the programs involved in the education cooperative are already being supported by FDC/annual plan grants, for instance). ASengupta (WMF) (talk) 16:16, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Role of the appendix[edit]

Grants:APG/Proposals/2013-2014 round2/Wikimedia Foundation/Proposal form/Ongoing work areas: what is this thing? Why is it a subpage of this proposal? If it's not integral part of your proposal, can you please consider moving it elsewhere? Do other entities do such a thing too? It's 100 KB and it doesn't seem to contain anything of use or that I don't know already, so I don't plan to read it unless its scope is clarified. Thanks, Nemo 18:08, 3 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Thanks for your question! This appendix is designed to give the FDC and other readers a better understanding of what the money will be spent for, explaining many activities that the main annual plan only mentions briefly or not at all, and providing lots of concrete data that help to get a sense of the volume of activity going on in each work area. As stated in the box on the top right of the main proposal page and on top of the appendix page itself, it is part of the Foundation's FDC proposal along with other supplementary material. The inclusion of this supplementary material was approved by FDC staff in advance - I understand that they are fine with entities including such additional content if it helps the purpose of the proposal document, and that this has already been done by other entities previously. It appears that you would strongly prefer to read everything in one page, and we could ask the FDC staff if they are OK with moving or transcluding the appendix content on the main proposal page like for the Board Q&A, but I'm not sure if this would really make it more readable and I also prefer not getting too hung up on such formal issues.
It's interesting that you haven't read the document yet but already assume that it doesn't contain useful information. I have no doubt that you know part of it already, but I'm also certain that some of the data hasn't been published before. What's more, even the information that is already public is scattered among many, many pages on various wikis, and not everyone might have the time and inclination to read all of them, in fact I guess that there are very few people besides you and me who have done so ;)
Regarding the size, yes, we are at several hundred kB for the proposal and appendix now, but it's also about a budget of sixty million dollars. I'd like to observe that this proposal still contains far less words per budget dollar than the other proposals, even including the appendix.
Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 22:06, 3 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
No, I didn't ask it to be merged/transcluded. Yes, I was gifted with a supernatural intuition for what is worth reading (there are millions books out there and only one life for me to read). Ok for the precedents; still not clear to me if the appendix is supposed to be reviewed/approved too. --Nemo 22:12, 3 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Greetings, Tbayer and Nemo:
We just wanted to clarify that many entities do submit supplementary documents as subpages of their FDC proposals, and that this has always been accepted as part of the proposal process. In this same round, for example, WMFR has also submitted several supplementary documents as subpages of its proposal, and these documents will be reviewed and considered by the FDC along with its proposal form. Furthermore, the FDC does also review and carefully consider documents related to each organization or its plans (such as a strategic plans or an annual plans) as part of the proposal process, whether or not those documents are included as subpages of the proposals.
As Tbayer mentions, they did consult with FDC staff before including this large supplement to the proposal, and we did confirm that this document could be accepted as part of the proposal process. The FDC will be reviewing this supplementary document along with WMF's proposal.
Thanks to both for the clarifications about the appendix offered here. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 00:20, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Yes, the supplemental documents are very welcome and helpful. In particular the larger organizations will need to have additional documents to explain the work of the organizations. Sydney Poore/FloNight (talk) 19:15, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I think what Nemo's getting at is that the appendix is just plain weird. Tony (talk) 14:31, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Epilogue regarding "it doesn't seem to contain anything of use or that I don't know already": It looks that reading the appendix could, for example, have helped the question you just asked here ("... SugarCRM?! Was the adoption of SugarCRM ever announced and documented?"). Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 08:38, 23 September 2014 (UTC)Reply
Incorrect: it's not an announcement, and it's not documentation because it's not in (an appropriate page) in main namespace. Of course I have ways to discover things, but that's not what my question on that blog post was about. --Nemo 07:33, 24 September 2014 (UTC) P.s.: More at Talk:SugarCRM.Reply
Huh. To me, it looks that suggesting that these three lines buried in a 14K words document constitute an appropriate documentation is laughable. It looks that trying to get away with the abyssal lack of documentation on the usage of SugarCRM by brandishing this page is both sad and ridiculous. And, finally, it looks that using such a tone that, frankly, comes across as smug, is quite not appropriate. Jean-Fred (talk) 21:31, 24 September 2014 (UTC)Reply

Request for minor correction edit[edit]

I'm requesting permission from the FDC staff to edit this page, in order to fix some broken links in the following pattern: [[:meta:Wikilegal|Wikilegal]] --> [[:m:Wikilegal|Wikilegal]]. (Nemo: we'd rather keep the "[[m:.." prefix in because it makes it easier to reuse the content on other wikis; also, it's not a report per se in the sense of the usual monthly and annual WMF reports about activities conducted in a certain timespan, so the category you added isn't suitable. I'll leave it to the FDC staff to categorize this page as they see fit.) Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 21:41, 3 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

I think the category is correct, it's rather the page being in the wrong place probably. ;) See above. --Nemo 22:01, 3 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hello, Tbayer: Thank you for making this request. The corrections to these links are approved, and you may go ahead and make the approved changes now. We will categorize the Appendix to show that it is part of your proposal form, just as we would do for any other supplementary proposal documents. We will apply some categories to the Appendix that are consistent with the other proposal documents. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 23:47, 3 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Comments from Anders Wennersten[edit]

Thanks for a most excellent plan (even if it taken some time reading it all + appendices+talkpage above). I specially want to give you credit for your openness, where you candidly decibed the "failures" and also I really like that you stress tranparency as a key for the organisation.

Focus areas and goals[edit]

In the owerview you state to expand the numbers of readers and contributors; to make it easier to contribute from any device, especially mobile; to ensure that our sites are robust enough to meet the additional traffic we expect; and to continue supporting innovation at both the Wikimedia Foundation and in the greater Wikimedia movement. Here I fully support the last three. For the first I personalay think it is to be stuck in what is stated in our strategy and which we have learnt was unoptimal wording. I like better to get more and better content with higher quality in our projects and where more contributers is the one of many options to reaach this goal. Mainly I miss in the plan support to utilize the new "middleware" that is now availabe for article creation (manually and semiautoamtic), like Wikidata, new support for maps and usen of advanced BOTs. Also to expand our content I beleive we are not working through all oppurtinities to involve contributers outside our core reqrutimen base. Just now paid editor is a red rag, but I beleive it can also be an opportunity, if controlled the right way. There exist a large base and competence in the Glam sociaty universites etc that approaced in the right way could become new good contributers

To be done more or less of[edit]

Of the key areas, "Infrastructure", "Mobile", "Editor Engagement", "Nontechnical Movement Support". I fully support 1, 2 and 4. For nontechnical support I want to emphazize the important, exdellent and dedicated work done by WMF functions like Legal, finance and grantmaking team. It is a pleasure working with these and I find it a privillige for the movement to have these good people in place.

I would like less of (as already mentioned) acitivities outside the key acitivty areas, with efforts to delegate as much as possible of activites of outreach type to chaters, - read EE and some evaualtion activites.

I am missing (as already mentioned) acititievs related supporting contributers for the utilization of the new "middleware"techniques that have been introduced (Wikidata, Bot, Maps etc). I also think the effort described under external opportunities is (too) unambitious considering the enourmous strength in the brand name of Wikimedia/Wikipedia

Movement strategy plan[edit]

This is mentioned but in a noncommitent manner ("it all depends on new ED"). I would like this to be highlighted better and resources secured for this important work. Even if the actual set up will depend on new ED, we surely know something like this must be done, and including the learnings from last time. And would it not involve efforts covering more areas and with workgroups with proper staffing from WMF?

Thanks for the question, Anders. We know strategy and planning will be a critical piece of our work in FY 2014-15 and have budgeted $300,000 for strategic planning in the governance budget. We just don't know what form the planning will take yet. Admittedly, we are at a somewhat awkward point in our leadership transition with this. There is a healthy tension between a responsible desire to start planning and respect for giving a new E.D. the room and trust to lead us. We are certain that strategy and planning will be important to a new E.D., though. You can expect to hear more about this and to be involved in the conversations. In the meantime, we beg for your patience during the transition. :) --Lgruwell (talk) 17:14, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
It is good to see there is an amount allocated, but I would have liked some more text for it in the plan, even if it will be full of reservations duee to the ED transition.Anders Wennersten (talk) 19:19, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I agree with Anders here. I think it would make sense to have this described in more detail in the budget document, including some explanation for the amount of $300,000. That seems pretty expensive and I can think of other ways to use some of that money to benefit the projects. --Pine 22:18, 7 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Very small detail[edit]

Table 2 mention FDC funding of $4,459,000. This is only Round 1 figures, round 2 is missing, making it confusing as all other figures covers full year.--Anders Wennersten (talk) 09:05, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Thanks for the question, Anders. In the proposal's FAQ, the Wikimedia Foundation noted why we put "n/a" in the Round 2 section, and I'll repeat the language here: When we synched up the WMF annual planning process with the FDC process, we did it in such a way that the FDC review period happened at the same time as the WMF Board review period -- because that's the point at which, by design and in actual practice, input has the most ability to influence how the plan develops. But the WMF needs to incorporate input and develop the final version of its plan more quickly than the FDC process allows. The FDC publishes its dollar amount recommendations 1 June, but the WMF timeline requires its plan to be finalized 6 June so it can be discussed and voted upon by the WMF Board of Trustees in time for 1 July. It's not possible (nor would it lead to the best possible outcome) to tear apart and rebuild the WMF plan in five days. That means it's not possible for the WMF timeline to incorporate both the FDC/community review period, and also a dollar amount recommendation. Therefore, after considerable discussion and reflection, the WMF has decided to synch up with the FDC review period, since that's the point at which FDC and community input can have the greatest influence on the WMF plan. JonathanCinSF (talk) 18:33, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I wonder if you are not misunderstand my point? The comment is just about a number presented i table 2, which is there for reference purpose, as it is related to 2013-2014 not the budget for 2014-2015. --Anders Wennersten (talk) 19:17, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hi Anders. Thanks for the follow-up. I think you mean that the $4,459,000 may only represent part of the Wikimedia Foundation's request from the previous year, and not the full year's total. WMF didn't request additional monies in round 2, so the $4,459,000 is, indeed, the full amount the FDC last allocated to us, and why that number is in the table section asking about previous FDC funding. Please let me know if this answers your question. Thanks again. JonathanCinSF (talk) 20:16, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
No the sum is what FDC allocated to other entities in Round 1, none of this went to WMF, and for the whole year a more correct figure would be around 6 MUSD. Perhaps is should be taken away completly?--Anders Wennersten (talk) 05:09, 5 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Actually, this page states that "Wikimedia Foundation received a funds allocation in the amount of 4,459,000 in 2012-2013 Round 1:, i.e. the same number as quoted by Jonathan above and given in Table 1 for "last year" (2012-13).
You mention the total sum that the FDC allocated to other entities in Round 1 of 2013-14, this was $4,432,000 (according to the FDC recommendations page for that round). The two numbers are similar in size, which may explain the confusion, combined with the fact that the (current) 2013-14 round 2 is actually about 2014/15 budgets, etc. - Just jumping in here to offer these facts in the hope that they are helpful; happy to let the FDC staff or someone else with an in-depth understanding of the FDC process chime in as well.
Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 00:16, 8 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I will take a try. Last year, the WMF did not put its entire budget forward for review by the FDC. We only put forward programs that were considered "non-core." The total budget of the non-core programs was $4,459,000. --Lgruwell (talk) 04:18, 8 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks. You are right, I have mixed up these two numbers. Still a little confused why figures for 201-2013 turns up here where I thoughut it would be numbers for 2013-1014, as are the top sum of 50 Million, But I leave this issue now with youir explanation.--Anders Wennersten (talk) 07:10, 8 April 2014 (UTC)Reply


Request to better format links table[edit]

I'm requesting permission from the FDC staff to better format the links table, which would make it more readable. Thank you. JonathanCinSF (talk) 20:18, 4 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

This change is approved, as this will definitely make the table more readable and useful. Thanks for the request! Cheers, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 20:18, 5 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
All set, thanks! (Please review the descriptions.) heather walls (talk) 20:11, 7 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Looks great. Thank you. JonathanCinSF (talk) 15:57, 8 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Other ugly stuff[edit]

  • -- ->
  • - ->
  • -> '
  • Repetition: "Annual Plan that looks ahead"
  • "Upcoming year's annual plan: strengths, opportunities and threats" has three subpoints which should be h3 and three subsections which should be h4
  • "Site visits.": period incorrectly bolded
  • "See above re: WMF’s approach to continued iteration": unclear above where. Might mean point 5.1.4; anchor and/or precise title needed.
  • "Examples of this include:" is followed by four bullets. Should be level 2 bullets, or this sentence should not be in a bullet.
  • "WMF Board of Directors" is not a thing
  • "FY 2013-12"?
  • Does "and host" mean "and to hosting", subordinate of "Increase support to"?
Thanks for the thorough read, Nemo. Could you please sign your comments per usual talk page practice, so that they are attributed and timestamped (in particular when they are added over a span of several days, as here)?
Responses to the above points:
  • Dashes and apostrophes: I don't want to dispute anyone's style preferences, but it seems that these choices won't significantly hinder the ability of the FDC and others to read and understand the document.
  • Repetition: "Annual Plan that looks ahead" - I fail to see the problem here.
  • "Upcoming year's annual plan: strengths, opportunities and threats" has three subpoints which should be h3 and three subsections which should be h4 - I know what you mean, but these three subpoints (e.g. "1. What organizational strengths enable your organization's plan ...") come from the standard FDC proposal template and it was understood that its formatting should be left intact in that respect. The three subsections however (grouping the listed risks into three areas) were added when filling out the content, so it made sense to format them in this way. Perhaps this is rather a suggestion to the FDC staff to change the formatting of the general proposal template.
  • "'Site visits.': period incorrectly bolded" - True, the bolding of this dot is inconsistent with the dots in the other bullet points. But I don't think this significantly harms the purpose of the document.
  • "See above re: WMF’s approach to continued iteration": unclear above where. ..." - that seems to be a general objection to the use of "see above" in any document ;) But OK, it could indeed be made easier for readers who have not yet read (or do not remember) all of the preceding text. So to go into detail here:
    You are referring to the responses to questions 5.2.5 (in the section on Mobile) and 5.3.5 (in the section on Editor Engagement). In both cases, the sentence refers partly to answers 5.1.4 (as far as it applies generally) and 5.1.5, and partly the following statement at the start of the corresponding section (in response 5.2.1 and 5.3.1, respectively): "Precise operational goals are developed in the course of the annual goal-setting process in May-June and iterated on a quarterly basis, following the model of the current fiscal year's engineering goals". The predefined format of the FDC proposal does not allow linking those responses separately. But if people feel it enhances readability greatly and the FDC staff permits to modify the proposal page in that way, we could add {{anchor|...}} templates to these (5.1.4, 5.3.1. etc.), and add links to them from 5.2.5 and 5.3.5, as a parenthesis after the word "above". FDC staff, do you approve me making these changes?
  • "'Examples of this include:' is followed by four bullets. Should be level 2 bullets, or this sentence should not be in a bullet." - Correct, the "*" in front of that sentence should be removed to make the intended structure clearer. FDC staff, I'm asking for permission to make this edit.
  • "WMF Board of Directors" is not a thing" - actually, "Board of Directors" is a frequently used synonym for "Board of Trustees" (e.g. en:Board of trustees redirects to en:Board of directors).
  • "FY 2013-12" - I confirmed with HR that this should have read "FY 2011-12". FDC staff, I'm asking for permission to make this change.
  • "Does 'and host' mean 'and to hosting', subordinate of 'Increase support to'?" - No, I checked with the Grantmaking team, and this wording was intentional. It doesn't exclude the possibility that those events might still turn out to be organized in partnership with others, but in any case it's not about mere financial support for such events.
Thanks again for spotting these typos and suggesting these improvements!
Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 21:54, 19 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hi Odder. Thanks for pointing out the discrepancy in the variance section of the FAQ’s spending-increase table. I’ve requested permission from the FDC to fix the table. JonathanCinSF (talk) 21:24, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Just a note that this has indeed since been fixed. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 21:54, 19 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Change request approved[edit]

Greetings, Tbayer: The request to add some anchor templates and additional links in the "Key programs" section of the proposal form in order to make this proposal form easier to navigate is approved. Thank you for the suggestion. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (FDC Support Team) talk 22:14, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

We also approve the request to change "FY 2013-12" to "FY 2011-12" and to adjust the bullets mentioned accordingly. Apologies for missing those suggestions at first. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (FDC Support Team) talk 22:28, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
All done now. Thanks! Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 01:40, 22 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

References/notes section[edit]

Please can the <references/> tag be moved up so that the notes appear underneath the "Staff and long-term contractors" (which is the only place where ref tags appear to be used)? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 12:30, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Placing the notes as a footer section at the end of the page is standard practice, which readers are accustomed to from e.g. enwiki. But if there's consensus that moving it next to the section would considerably improve readability in this case, sure, why not. FDC staff, do you approve the edit to move the <references/> tag as suggested by Mike? Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 21:54, 19 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Where notes are included throughout the page, then yes it makes sense to include them at the end. But since they are only being used in one specific table, why not move them to just below that table? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:50, 19 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Change request approved[edit]

Greetings, Tbayer: This change request (to move the references from the bottom of the document to just under the table) is approved. Thank you for the request. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (FDC Support Team) talk 22:32, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Done now. Thanks! Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 01:40, 22 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Stabilize infrastructure: AWOL[edit]

Once again, one of the five pillars of the five-year plan is totally missing. The section "Infrastructure" claims to be related to that goal, but I don't see any annual goal or metric related to said strategic goal;

  • in particular I'd expect to see metrics for "reduce the likelihood of outages", "caching centers" and optionally "stability and security"
  • and, if possible, qualitative goals for "Manage the MediaWiki release cycle" and "clear documentation and APIs".

All of that is still current, and the first two items are particularly important. Yes, I saw that "Nontechnical Movement Support" also mentions this strategic goal but that's about "public awareness and support" and "internal capacity", of which I'm not talking here. --Nemo 15:12, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Nemo: Infrastructure work is called out as a key program. As noted in the proposal, operational goals and targets will be developed more closely to the beginning of the fiscal year. This will be done in a process designed to be iterative, consistent with the goalsetting framework and quarterly reviews process we used this year (we've broadened the quarterly reviews over time, and will likely include ops-focused reviews soon).--Eloquence (talk) 01:59, 17 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Bassel Khartabil[edit]

We also host meet-ups to strategize about efforts like the one to free imprisoned Syrian free culture activist Bassel Khartabil.

What? --Nemo 15:24, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Hi Nemo, Thanks for your question. This paragraph is about how "We are also part of a global community of people who support and advocate for free knowledge, free culture, free software, and the free and open internet", and the meetups in support of imprisoned Syrian Creative Commons affiliate (and Wikimedian) Bassel Khartabil are mentioned as an example of the way that the Wikimedia Foundation connects with like-minded people and organizations outside of our own direct work. Occasionally, the Wikimedia Foundation hosts after-hours meet-ups at our San Francisco office, where foundation staff members and people outside the office meet in a welcoming group environment to go over subjects related to the Wikimedia community. Many of these meetings revolve around software and technology updates, as in a 10-15-13 (7 p.m.) meet-up about Flow. There are also meet-ups about areas beyond technology, as the 3-15-14 (Saturday) meeting about Bassel Khartabil and its 2013 predecessor (Friday March 15, 2013, 5pm-7pm), held jointly with Creative Commons and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, both SF-based organizations which are important in the above mentioned global community. Hosting the meet-ups at our office in San Francisco offers a convenient location for many people in the San Francisco Bay Area. Thanks again. JonathanCinSF (talk) 00:21, 10 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Please rename your account, @JonathanCinSF. odder (talk) 19:42, 10 April 2014 (UTC)Reply


Lack of assessment[edit]

Some risk statements lack any objective assessment of whether things are getting better or worse. This means that, even though you know some area is stressed, you won't notice when the stress is approaching implosion, very much like a certain expected earthquake down there. This is particularly true of the "lack or loss of community goodwill" section. Examples:

  • «ensuring that we are responsive to the needs of our wider community, including those speaking our 287 languages, instead of only a small number of vocal users», but no assessment (even generic and qualitative) is included of how many users of how many languages have been involved, how many words and staff hours have been spent for each language;
  • "including 45 posts in multiple languages" similarly doesn't say if this got better or worse, how many comments they received, how many reports were fully translated in how many languages, etc.;
  • "170,000+ words from 1,000+ users", a single example of very little value when global evaluations are missing, moreover it's missing number of languages and communities of those users and number of languages spoken in the conversation;
  • "shortage of Silicon Valley technical talent": similarly, I don't see how this risk is being tracked, both in severity (e.g. how much standard wage is raising) and ability to counter it (e.g. how many employees were "stolen" to the WMF, how many positions impossible to fill, how many made impossible by a relocation to SF requirement, ... your job to figure out).

--Nemo 15:49, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Hi Nemo, Thanks for your question. The "lack or loss of community goodwill" section is from our risks assessment overview that talks in both general and specific terms about the challenges that the Wikimedia Foundation is facing in the year ahead. The Wikimedia Foundation makes a concerted effort to publish our materials in multiple languages, and the numbers we cite are meant to give perspective on the scope of that work. One example you cite is the proposed amendment to our Terms of Use on undisclosed paid editing, which within a week prompted 170,000+ words from 1,000+ users. The discussion, which can be seen here, generated six comments in French, 11 in German, four in Spanish, three in Swedish, one in Portuguese, and four in Japanese. Regarding our reference to 45 blog posts in multiple languages between July 2013 and January 2014: For context, we published 56 blog posts in multiple languages between January 2013 and June 2013. Among our blog posts: One requesting community input on our privacy policy, which was published in six languages (English, Japanese, Spanish, French, German and Arabic); and our post requesting community input on our trademark policy, which was published in English, Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. So we continue to publish a high percentage of our blog posts in languages other than English. And we continue to publish them at a similar level of depth in each language. Our blog post requesting input on our privacy policy, for example, was published at about 1,300 words in English, which was about the same word count for the post's other languages. As for the "shortage of Silicon Valley technical talent" and the way this is being tracked: Part of the way we track this is in terms of time to fill a given position, benchmarking of salary rates for given roles in particular geographical contexts, and anecdotal data about where our employees get offers from, as well as where they move to when they leave the Wikimedia Foundation. We have yet to encounter an "impossible to fill" position, or "impossible to relocate" -- partly because we have a lot of remote employees, so relocation is not a requirement, and also because we have excellent immigration counsel and the United States makes immigration easier for STEM roles. JonathanCinSF (talk) 17:12, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for the reply. I'm not sure exactly what was meant by the reply above, but you seem to be implying that you feel you are assessing and tracking the trends of those risks. If so, can you please tell me which are getting worse and which are getting better? One word each will suffice. --Nemo 20:59, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hi Nemo, thanks for the follow-up. Every year in our Annual Plan, the Wikimedia Foundation assesses our targets and details the most important risks that the foundation faces in the year ahead. Such risk assessment sections are a standard feature of an organization's annual plan, but formal declarations on whether a particular risk has gotten more or less severe are not part of the format we use. However, regarding your concern that this will mean that "you won't notice when the stress is approaching implosion", be assured that the risk assessments are conducted with the intention to apply to the upcoming 2014/15 fiscal year, not just to the present time (April 2014).
In any case, each area we detail is fluid (it may not correspond 1:1 to a risk section in last year's annual plan), and not all risks can be reduced to a statistical measurement. There are of course some quantitative risk indicators, like trends in readership and editor numbers, which are tracked on our monthly report card. As we note in the section, desktop pageviews are down. Our level of community advocacy is up. Our number of projects aimed at new editors is up. Donations have increased. We are making efforts to increase our grantmaking's programmatic impact, but this is fluid. And of course, apart from the risk assessments conducted for the annual plan, the Foundation is constantly engaged in tracking various measures and "employs multiple mechanisms to understand what the Wikimedia projects' readers and editors need and want", to quote from a different section, namely the response to the FDC's question "How do you know what the members of the community/communities your organization serves (including chapter members and broader online volunteers) need and want? How does this influence your strategic planning and decision-making?".
Thanks again. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 02:42, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
On "declarations on whether a particular risk has gotten more or less severe are not part of the format we use", sure, it's precisely what I'm asking to change. It's like having a permanent point "a meteor could fall on our data centre in Ashburn" and not updating it when you know that one is approaching. I really don't see any value in those risks statements, they don't help planning in any way. --Nemo 08:48, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Positive change sources[edit]

"Change aversion" and "ossified platform" put all the fault of the lack of change on the community's shoulder. This focus on a top-down approach where all the good comes from the centre is inappropriate and the root of your problem. Here, too, a self-assessment is needed to see, for instance, how many users the WMF manages to involve and listen to in building "change and innovation" and in "set[ting] us up better for the future", from the smallest MediaWiki feature requests to the largest visionary ideas. --Nemo 15:49, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

I cannot but quote Nemo. --Pequod76(talk) 11:15, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Strabismus and programmatic impact[edit]

We apprehend that «resources may not be effectively achieving programmatic impact [...] strong, demonstrated impact on our mission»: this whole section doesn't explain why it's believed that this risk is only true of the grants and not of the programs conducted by the WMF directly. Consequently: "impact and learning strategy" and "impact different types of formal and informal organizations" seem to imply the WMF will not conduct such a reflection on itself; "Enabling impact through individuals and diversity" is logically disconnected from the rest of the section, as it gives for granted that one specific kind of (grant) spending has more impact than another kind. --Nemo 15:59, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Net neutrality[edit]

Given the potential impact of overbroad Net Neutrality laws, it's important that the principle be implemented narrowly.

I don't understand what is meant by "narrowly" here. --Nemo 16:02, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Net Neutrality laws should focus on preventing ISPs from charging websites for high speed delivery of their content. If Net Neutrality laws broadly prohibit discrimination of content, they can have unintended consequences. Thanks, YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 07:21, 10 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I do not agree a decision to lobby on a certain topic should be done over a grant proposal. If it came to a community decision, I am not convinced a majority would be in favour of a "narrow" definition just to save Wikipedia Zero. A narrow definition can have unindended consequences. --Dimi z (talk) 12:20, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I agree with Dimi and hope that this topic will be discussed more broadly in the movement (e.g. in context with the strategy process). --CDG (talk) 10:45, 13 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
@Nemo: *Pointing at the elephant in the room* Wikipedia Zero, [1] --Atlasowa (talk) 11:14, 14 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Measurable results[edit]

Did someone find a single measurable goal/result proposed in this draft? I was unable to spot any, but I've not read everything yet. In particular the "Editor Engagement" doesn't seem to answer the "Please share the a) goal as well as (b) the measurable result(s)" question at all; I see a lengthy essay on the structure of wikis and then, incidentally, a mention that "The overall goal of these efforts will be to increase the number of contributors to our projects"; but no specific goals. This lack is a made worse by the complete lack of answer to points 4 and 5, which redirect "above", presumably to the section where we see unrelated measuring tools ("At the infrastructure level", "tools such as Bugzilla and Gerrit") and generic tautologies ("analytics" + "qualitative research"). --Nemo 16:17, 9 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

There may be team-level metrics and deliverables that aren't included in this high-level report. I agree that it should be possible to link from this report down to the level of SMART criteria and there should be transparency about how those criteria are being met throughout the year. I think WMF has some dashboards that help with this and it would be good to make them transparent and accessible through the Annual Plan and the regular reports that WMF already does. I think a lot of this information already exists and the issue is mostly a matter of making it transparent and accessible. --Pine 19:12, 10 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Maybe. However, just to make it clear, I'm looking for global measurable results for each of the proposed items, not for some arbitrary granularisation of them. --Nemo 19:26, 10 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
So you would like to see high-level metrics for each of the four "critical initiatives"? It may be difficult to pick or synthesize a manageable number of metrics but I agree this is a good idea in principle. I think it is more realistic to do this at levels lower than the strategic level, although I think some important metrics that WMF currently covers in the monthly metrics meetings include active editor counts, page views, financial reserves, year to date revenues and spending versus plan, and year to date hiring and attrition versus plan. What other metrics do you think are strategically important and relevant to individual Annual Plan "critical initiatives" at a high level? --Pine 07:36, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hi Nemo. Thanks for your questions. As we noted in our first "key program" answer, the Wikimedia Foundation establishes precise yearly goals in May and June, which we then use to set quarterly targets and assess our progress throughout the year. As an example from the current year, we linked to our engineering goals (https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Engineering/2013-14_Goals). Because the FDC process is earlier than this May-June period, some of our answers were deliberately more generalized. As Tilman explained in the copyediting section above: In the proposal's Editor Engagement and Mobile sections, "see above" refers to descriptions of the Foundation's iterative planning processes. We have now inserted specific links there to make this clearer. They point to the explanation that the Wikimedia Foundation values iterative learning over detailed long-term agendas, and that quarterly reviews and team-level retrospectives and planning meetings continually influence our direction based on what we learn. We note that WMF regularly releases team-level updates in the monthly engineering report, presentations in the public monthly metrics/activities meetings, and public minutes/slides from the quarterly reviews. We also release detailed monthly reports about the work of the entire organization. In short, the Foundation does have processes in place to establish concrete goals at various levels, and measure progress against them. JonathanCinSF (talk) 19:24, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
"Wikimedia Foundation values iterative learning": yes, I'm able to read, but this doesn't answer my question, unless it's a "No, we won't provide measurable results in this plan". Is WMF's proposal consistent with Programs:Evaluation portal/Library/Focusing on Program Goals and Measurable Results, linked from the form questions? --Nemo 08:14, 24 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I think Jonathan stated it quite clearly, but in case you overlooked it both in his answer and in the proposal itself: "the Wikimedia Foundation establishes precise yearly goals in May and June". It's now April.
The submission of the WMF proposal in this form represents a compromise between two established processes/timelines: the Foundation's annual planning process and the FDC process. As Sue explained (now reproduced above: #Introductory remarks from Sue Gardner), another difference is that the proposal does not ask the FDC to recommend a specific dollar amount, either.
Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 01:57, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks but knowing the timeline for the production of "precise yearly goals" doesn't imply that measurable results (and goals) will be proposed for each area: are you saying they will?
I understand that "precise yearly goals" will come later, but I don't understand how they're going to be produced when you didn't even write down the measurable results for which to come up with a specific target. --Nemo 16:54, 1 May 2014 (UTC)Reply


To make a specific example, not because it's the main area I'm interested in but only because it's mentioned in the text, about LCA we read «chief measure of success is our effectiveness in responding to our hundreds of inquiries and issues, both internally and externally». But no such measure, however approximate or qualitative, is made available. The appendix doesn't have any either (cf. #Role of the appendix). It's still better than the areas which don't mention measures/results at all. :) --Nemo 10:07, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

I think LCA has a way to track what they call incidents, how much time lapsed between the start of the incident and a staff response, the start and end times of the incidents, and the amount of staff time spent on each incident. I think it would be good to make this information public in an aggregated way with explanations for any especially time consuming incidents if they wouldn't violate user privacy. As you say this is only one example and we could come up with ways to create quantitative reports for many areas of work. However we need to balance the value of getting these statistics with the cost of employee time that it takes to produce them. I agree that there are opportunities for WMF to share more data. --Pine 06:25, 14 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I can't speak for everyone obviously but from the CA standpoint I know we're working hard on trying to get better tracking and insight into the work load ( as well as better ways to do the repeatable work with tools where tracking can be semi built in). Currently a large portion of stats like that are still impossible to gather or very manual and time consuming. Obviously fixing that often has to take 2nd fiddle to the need to keep our head above water on the work itself but it is not unimportant. Those numbers are initially meant for internal uses but I think trying to make them as visible as possible is important (We just created a public view into the staff rights assigned for example here which I've linked from MZ's talk page (where it was being discussed) but haven't found a good permanent home on meta for it yet (I swear there was a page for it.. but haven't 're found' it yet). We have tried to put some numbers in the discussion on the Ongoing work areas blurbs which are, if anything, actually under sells. For example it talks about 19 reported emergency@ threats though there were just over 70 of those cases total (not all are reported) and that doesn't count duplicates that come in from multiple users over the course of a couple hours (possibly waking a staff member up each time but which we're going to merge into the original case for tracking purposes). Jalexander--WMF 02:36, 17 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks Jalexander. Nemo was using LCA as an example but I think we're interested in surfacing workload and performance metrics everywhere in the org. Personally I'm most interested in them for purposes of strategic planning and resource allocation, not because I think people are slacking. Indeed, some people work long hours. --Pine 07:22, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Impact of Program Evaluation[edit]

If we're going to discuss Program Evaluation then while we're at it can someone provide a summary of what impact the Program Evaluation team has had this year? I know the team has examined some projects, created a portal on Meta, and started the learning patterns library. It would be good to know how much benefit these projects have created this year and what the plan is for that team next year, including the new evaluation officers. --Pine 06:28, 14 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

I moved this from #Community workload and strain because that's a more general question though it comes with a specific example. --Nemo 14:24, 14 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Anasuya (who is currently travelling, until next week) will respond here. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 05:37, 19 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks. While we're on the subject I think it would be good to clarify the difference between Program Evaluation and Grantmaking Learning and Evaluation. My feeling is that these functions could be combined. Thanks, --Pine 07:17, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Apologies in the delay in responding, Pine and Nemo (I've been travelling and then unwell). First, as you point out, with the Program Evaluation and Design team coming into the Grantmaking department, we are combining the two to form an overall Learning and Evaluation team. The two teams have already been working together for the past year, but the merger will make the team's work that much more efficient, and we hope, effective. The key functions of the team - under the overall rubric of learning and evaluation - will continue to be exploring both program and organisational effectiveness; supporting the Wikimedia movement with the tools, data and capacities required to do this well and build self-assessment cultures and practices; as well as helping the grants programs to improve grant-making decisions and processes, and evaluate the impact of our grants. We're still in the process of working out exactly what this combined team will look like, and making sure there's no duplication of efforts and roles. We'll certainly be getting back to the community once we have finalised this.
Secondly, we will not be asking for three evaluation officers for the next year. We are revising our request and asking for only one evaluation officer position for next year, while filling the two outstanding positions open for this current fiscal year. The Analytics team will also be supporting us much more fully with data needs, so we believe this will be a better approach to maximising the merged team's effectiveness.
Finally, both teams have been working on a number of different issues this past year - and as I said, will continue into the next. You can find an overview here, but the most important have been the seven reports on Wikimedia programs, the initial research on grants programs and Wikimedia organisations and the ongoing conversations on wiki and off, that are helping build a shared understanding of where our efforts are going in the movement, what we're working on and why, what seems more effective (or not) and why, and what more we need to do. Since this is the first time we are doing this kind of analysis in our movement, it is very much a work in progress, creating the baselines that will allow us to then look back and analyse impact. We don't have enough data right now in many instances, for example, to make definitive statements about impact; what we can see are trends towards design (what kind of program designs work better than others) and a relative mapping of costs (money, volunteer/staff time and energy and other resources). But the initial feedback we have (for instance, from attendance to virtual meet-ups, comments regarding the beta reports, reports of workshop learning, etc.) indicates that people are interested and finding this work useful (including as some of it leads to heated debate, which is also helpful to know what's useful and what's not!) and recognise the need to have additional support and data of this kind. Grant reports are also showing that people are paying more attention to what their objectives are for programs and how to assess their progress in terms of outcomes (what changes) rather than outputs (what is produced), and that overall, we're all seeking a better sense of how effective we're being, as individual volunteers or organisations serving an overall set of communities and movement goals. We're also planning specific feedback measures in June and July as we reach our one-year follow-up point from the baseline reports we began a year ago. This would be a good opportunity for us to learn what we - as a Learning and Evaluation team - need to do more (and less) of, and what our community believes should be our strongest focus areas. For next year, as you can see in our targets, we will be revisiting all of this year's baseline reports as well as exploring up to three more program areas for evaluation. In addition, we'll be analysing at least two grants programs and continuing to build and share the resources needed for better self-assessment within the movement. ASengupta (WMF) (talk) 14:41, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Domain names and trademarks[edit]

I note that the term "domain" appears only once. «An additional allocation of about $1.3 million to cover various legal fees (such as maintenance of our global trademark portfolio and community defense initiatives)». I'd like a comment on what portion of that spending is community-initiated, or otherwise corresponding to specific community requests, and if the increase in spending in this area is expected to produce a proportional increase in delivery of community-requested results. --Nemo 19:46, 10 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Thanks for the question. Yana Welinder from the Legal team is going to respond here. Regars, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 18:02, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
While this document only specifically refers to "domain" once, many different parts of our trademark work are intended to provide domain protection. Building and maintaining a global trademark portfolio will enable us to protect against domain squatters internationally.
We don't designate a particular portion of the budget for community-initiated expenses with respect to trademarks. However, we evaluate and proceed with those initiatives when they are important for protecting the Wikimedia projects and are consistent with a reasonable legal strategy. Thanks, YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 21:47, 28 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I have no idea what you're talking about, frankly; I've never asked anything about "designate a particular portion of the budget for", I only asked what portion of the budget is consistent with, or direct consequence of, community desires. Do you really have no breakdown of what kinds of sub-goals your costs come from? Sounds like a disastrous fund management.
The lack of answer on the impact of this funds allocation makes me strongly object to any increase in spending. I instead suggest a strong decrease until mission-consistent results are shown. --Nemo 17:00, 1 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
I'm curious to see if the next iteration of the annual plan, due in few days, will answer my question. Nemo 11:24, 24 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Budget breakdown?[edit]

  • I have a question about this table in the FAQ.
Variance from FY 13-14 Budget
FY 14-15 Budget FY 13-14 Budget Variance from FY 13-14 Budget % Increase Notes
Infrastructure $15,255,059 $14,830,059 $425,000 3% 1


$2,614,000 $1,145,000 44% 2
Editor Engagement $6,719,941 $4,657,941 $2,062,000 44% 3
Non Technical Movement Support $19,254,000 $15,627,000 $2,930,000 23% 4
Other $15,076,000 $12,341,000 $3,432,000 22% 5
Total Budget $60,064,000 $50,070,000 $9,994,000 20% 6
If there are no changes other than staff increases for Infrastructure (12), Mobile (11), and EE (5), then their costs per new employee are about $35,417, $104,091, and $412,400. Please explain the wide range of costs. --Pine
Hi Pine, Garfield will be able to address your question after he is back from the Berlin conference next week. Thanks for your patience. Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 00:00, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
The information provide does not include the cost reductions in each area, only the information where we plan on increasing spending. For example, under the "Infrastructure" line item is included cost reductions of $1 million.Gbyrd (talk) 15:15, 14 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
  • OK, are there any cost reductions that will result in service reductions? For example if Language Engineering got a 50% cut or VE development was halted I think we would all want to know about that. In future years I would like to see any service reductions or significant cost reductions footnoted from this kind of table. If there are no service reductions as a result of cost reductions I think that should be noted as well. New efficiency is good.
None of the cost reductions will result in service reductions. The primary cost savings in Engineering are for lower bandwidth cost and capital expenditure cost.Gbyrd (talk) 00:32, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Good, thanks Gbyrd. --Pine 07:33, 25 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
  • Also, what is the reason that each new employee in EE is apparently costing $412,400?
As noted in the FAQ, the number of additions of employees are five new and six conversions from contractor status to employee status.Gbyrd (talk) 00:32, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Gbyrd, there seem to be problems with the EE increase each way that I do the math. If we assume that there are no additional costs from converting a contractor so the new costs are entirely for five new employees then the average per employee cost is $412,400 which is excessive. If we assume that all 11 employees' costs are entirely new then the average cost per employee is about $187,455 which is still excessive. I think something is wrong here. --Pine 07:33, 25 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks, --Pine 02:39, 16 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Included in the EE increases, that are not included in your calculation, are the 5.1% for cost of living and other salary adjustments, the 0.8% increase in benefit cost, and some other increases in cost related to having a larger team, plus some additional contractor cost.Gbyrd (talk) 18:00, 28 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I'm needing to make wide estimates here about actual costs and accounting, and this makes me uncomfortable. More comments below. --Pine 07:00, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
  • Hi all. Thanks for putting together this proposal. I'm somewhat confused about the level of budget breakdown available here. For example, with Mobile, I can see in the FAQ that you're proposing an increase of $1,145,000, which you say is due to "Increases in the budget due to increase of 11 staff." However, the infrastructure budget line is increasing by much less than than and by 12 staff, so there must be other components going into this. Where can I find a breakdown of those components, please, and likewise for the other budget lines? Apologies if I've missed spotting this somewhere in the proposal. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 12:41, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Some of the spending reductions that offset the spending increases are included in the FAQ Q: What does the proposed new spending consist of.Gbyrd (talk) 15:15, 14 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hi Garfield. Thanks, that pointer is useful. :-) But I remember you showing me a full spreadsheet last year that set out the WMF's budget across its departments. I'd really like to see that for the forthcoming year, please, as that was exactly the level of detail that would be needed here. Please could that be posted here? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:53, 19 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I second Mike Peel's comment. It's hard to get a handle on some of these costs without department-specific data. I note that many government organizations in the US provide full transparency of their costs including compensation of every employee, and I think that level of transparency is appropriate for WMF if that's the level of transparency we all think is appropriate for chapters who request funding through the FDC. --Pine 07:27, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
The plan summary has been provided to the FDC. The only salary information that is available is what is disclosed in the Wikimedia Foundation 990.Gbyrd (talk) 17:34, 28 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
OK, for me this is making it difficult to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the Annual Plan, particularly for Editor Engagement, and I would need more information and transparency to feel comfortable with making a recommendation to go ahead with the funding increase for EE. The FDC members are likely more familiar with their process than I am, but I am troubled that it is proving difficult to make an independent analysis of cost-effectiveness because the costs are not transparent. I would feel more comfortable if at least the FDC members had full transparent access to the costs so that they could make an independent recommendation based on their opinion of cost-effectiveness of proposed funding increases. --Pine 07:00, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Just to note: a more detailed financial document has now been shared in confidence with the FDC, which answers my questions here. I'd ideally like to see this document made public, but at least it's been shared with the FDC so it can be used in our deliberations. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:04, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
OK, Mike Peel. I agree that it should be possible to get more transparency into these costs, and I'm interested in the reasons that the more detailed table is being kept confidential. US government agencies provide more public transparency into their personnel costs than WMF does for its personnel, and I think that any WMF policy that is prohibiting disclosure of these personnel costs should be reviewed. For a nonprofit that is dependent on raising funds from many small contributors, especially a nonprofit that values transparency, I think this data should be public, and I hope WMF will reconsider its views on this issue. --Pine 23:50, 2 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
Discussion formatting
(BTW, if you could sign each new question or question set in the usual talk page format, that would help us and other readers keep track of them. E.g. to see that this question was posted on April 6, and the one below about endowments on April 10.)
Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 00:00, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thank you. Yes, I have started to sign individual questions that are additions to the original set. I think I am done with starting new subjects. At some point I might add subheadings to each question. --Pine 07:37, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hi Mike, I asked about that table in my questions above. Tilman says that Garfield will respond next week. Would you like to add your questions to the ones I already asked there? Consolidating the questions is probably easier for readers and Garfield. --Pine 07:47, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks Pine. Mike Peel (talk) 07:58, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Mike Peel I just edited my original comment before you posted. I'm surprised I wasn't warned of an edit conflict when I saved. (: --Pine 08:02, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
OK. I think it's better to keep this here, rather than in a section of comments from you, so that it's easier to find and so that follow-up questions on this are easier. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 08:26, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I agree with Mike and I've moved Pine's question in this section: sections by topic are more useful for everyone. I don't like the per-person headers someone added to my sections and I've likewise removed them. --Nemo 08:58, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Request to fix the FAQ’s spending-increase table[edit]

I'm requesting permission from the FDC staff to fix the spending-increase table in the proposal’s FAQ section. We would like to fix the variance figures for “Non Technical Movement Support” and “Other.” Thank you. JonathanCinSF (talk) 21:23, 11 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Thank you for the request. These changes the table in the FAQ are approved, since the accurate figures are needed to understand this part of the FAQ. Please make the change using strikethrough on the numbers currently listed and listing the correct numbers beside them. Our apologies for taking a few days to respond to this request. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 02:51, 16 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks, Winifred. I've made the changes as you directed. JonathanCinSF (talk) 16:31, 16 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Community workload and strain[edit]

I would like some of the programs to include an assessment of what workload they pose on the community's shoulders. Quite often,

  • integrating the new WMF hires ("on-boarding" in HR jargon);
  • giving them the information they look for during their work;
  • doing all the work that they ask for integration into their deliverables or that's byproduct of their work:

all this is very time-consuming for the community and consumes a lot of community energies, which are subtracted to

  • the fun volunteers have,
  • things they manage to get done.

This is true of many activities but less so of the bulk of Finance, HR and Fundraising departments (which are mostly inner-facing); so I'm particularly concerned by 5 proposed positions, "3 Evaluation Officers for Program Evaluation, 2 Program Officers for Grantmaking". --Nemo 11:46, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Anasuya (who is currently travelling, until next week) will respond here. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 05:35, 19 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hi Nemo, thanks for this valid question - it does take a lot of time and energy to onboard new employees both internally within WMF and for the community at large. However, in this case, we hope that the onboarding 'costs' will be minimised because much of the responsibility will be taken on by the Grantmaking team itself, and - more importantly - that the positions will actually help improve the community's sense of the 'fun volunteers have' and the 'things they manage to get done'. :-) We're cutting down the Evaluation Officer request to just one for next year (as I mentioned in an earlier response), and the two Grantmaking Program Officers are a) to support the Annual Plan grants/FDC process and b) to support individual volunteers through a much broader set of grants and resources for individuals.
The first is obvious, I think, but to confirm: the FDC process has been resource-intensive for everyone involved, and we want to push the centre of gravity of the process towards self-assessment and learning from where it's been (understandably) so far, building accountability for the considerable resources going into the process and each organisation's systems to plan, design and execute effective programs. This will, we hope, also establish a much clearer connection between these funds and what our communities would like to do, and what they need additional resources for. The second is an even more solidly focused position to support Siko and the rest of the Grantmaking team in working with individual volunteers and community organisers across different language and project communities, ensuring we're offering the kind of resources volunteers need to do their work joyfully and well, and doing it at scale where possible. This may be micro-resources like books, it may be micro-grants, it may be gadgets for a better on wiki experience.
In addition, the new Evaluation Officer will also be joining a pretty experienced team by this time, and hopefully will not need too much additional orientation from beyond our own team. Let me also add that one of the key focus areas for our Learning and Evaluation team as we build out an integrated strategy is ensuring that we're taking volunteer motivation into account (a tough but critical qualitative indicator) and that our work is helping *increase* motivation, not decrease it. We know our volunteers are the core of our movement, and I agree with you - making sure volunteers stay motivated and enjoy what they are doing is key. For the Grantmaking team, which is particularly community-focused (and specifically focused on diversity in language, region, project, contributors and contributions...), we're at the moment, a pretty small team for the breadth and range of communities we seek to serve. We want to be extremely cautious about any growth in size and budget, but our growth is primarily driven by whether it means we can support our volunteers better. I believe all our additional staffing requests for the next year will help do this. Thanks, ASengupta (WMF) (talk) 15:09, 29 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Grantmaking and evaluation[edit]

Further centralisation of spending?[edit]

The four bullets at "Grantmaking runs four main grants programs" don't mention any increase in spending for any of those (though the answers to "What does the proposed new spending consist of?" and "What are the main increases in spending" have conflicting statements on the matter): correct? So the increase in spending would consist (mostly) of what listed in "Staff and long-term contractors", i.e. San Francisco staff: correct? --Nemo 12:27, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

There are proposed increases in spending of $250,000 for IEG, $50,000 for Wikimania Scholarships and $99,000 for Project and Event Grants in addition to the request for additional staffing that may be based in the San Francisco office.Gbyrd (talk) 16:16, 14 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
@Gbyrd: I'd like to know how much of the increase will be assigned to actual grants and scholarships, and how much to additional staff that will manage those grants and scholarships (ie. what is the value–for–money ratio here). Please ping me with {{ping}} since I don't have this page on my watchlist. Thank you. odder (talk) 15:17, 5 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
All of the amounts listed above are just for grants in the program listed. There are no other cost included in these increases.Gbyrd (talk) 18:33, 5 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

Multiplication of tools[edit]

At least one point in "Nontechnical Movement Support" seems to actually talk of mw:Analytics work: "Increase the number of and ease of access to at least three self-evaluation tools [...] (baseline: 1 tool developed, Wikimetrics [...])". I disagree with the addition of yet another tool (or two even), especially in a period when we see a dramatic decay of the existing ones (of all sorts). Instead I propose to focus on the two central self-assessment and motivational tools of our community, that is:

In general, I oppose development of any tool/platform/system/portal the need for which didn't arise from the base. Top down approaches don't work. --Nemo 12:27, 12 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

I hadn't seen the "number of tools" point there -- I agree that that's not a particularly helpful target, and would suggest the "number of tools" part of the target be removed. On the larger point, as I think you know we followed up to your suggestion to support Henrik's stats.grok.se service with a hardware upgrade, which is now done, leading to dramatic improvements in access, and enabling volunteers like Magnus to improve GLAM-related tools (which he is now doing). Thank you for that suggestion - without that prodding we probably wouldn't have done so yet. I don't agree with your other point - Wikimetrics is a mission-critical tool for us, and increasingly for others as well, and also creates some foundations for more real-time access to some of the Wikistats-type reports. Cohort productivity analysis, user-scheduled custom reports and standardized editor engagement metrics aren't luxuries, they're foundational and fully aligned with our most urgent challenges. --Eloquence (talk) 02:26, 17 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Sure, my point is that building "two more tools" is not a sensible/useful goal; I don't have problems with Wikimetrics and the other two things I mentioned were just examples of how one can spot things of actual interest to work on. --Nemo 21:27, 20 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Catalyst Programmes[edit]

There is also a conversation going on here related to funding of the Catalyst Program in India that are directed at WMF. Asaf Bartov and Anasuya Sengupta have answered a few questions asked of WMF there and are worth reading. I would like to clarify that my position up front that interventions such as the WMF India Programs and the continuing CIS-A2K programmes are not good for the community, at least in India. With that bias clear, I would like to further explore some of the questions raised there and the thinking at the level of WMF. Please feel free to ignore these questions if these don't seem appropriate here.

This is related to "The Centre for Internet and Society is initiating a cross-­section of projects designed to increase Indic-­language editors and Indic­-language contributions, including outreach to university students through Education Program classes, holding workshops, holding community meet­ups, supporting hackathons, and other efforts. During the first ­year of our partnership with the Centre for Internet and Society, many Indic-­language Wikipedias increased by number of editors and by number of readers. By readership growth, for example, Punjabi, Assamese and Odia Wikipedias increased by 82 percent, 59 percent, and 37 percent respectively, while Malayalam Wikipedia became the first Indian language Wikipedia to reach 100 active editors. The Centre for Internet and Society has developed a visualization project that makes it easier to see the progress in new articles and editors --­­ an example of innovation that is arising from our new partnerships."

  • I believe that some of these figures could have been achieved by the community and WMIN if it had asked and help provided with communication and technical resources by WMF. Rather than intervening and trying to grow Wikipedias faster than they already are, I think the partnership with CIS could have been better utilised to research the movement as it existed in India, support WMIN's growth during its year of struggle and providing IEG. Are there metrics or research to show that such interventions help in the long run of volunteer-run projects?
  • Asaf (answering on behalf of WMF, I think) has said here that they used the learning had from India to improve the process and methodology in Brazil and perhaps in other future associations by involving the community in the decision making process. This has left a mess in India and I think some of this is getting thrown at CIS being the successor of WMF India Program. Is CIS or WMF planning to work with the community to ensure better engagement with the community and trying to win back some trust lost?

Unrelated, but more generally, I'm happy to see the WMF also engaging in the FDC process. Any plans on how you plan to let donors know of these initiatives?

Thank you and good luck with this, Prad2609 (talk) 11:30, 20 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

  • Hi Prad2609, I'm cautious about redesigning strategic initiatives of WMF as part of the Annual Plan review but Anasuya is very good about answering questions and hopefully she will respond to you when she returns from her current overseas trip. --Pine 07:12, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Hi Prad2609 (and thanks, Pine!), my apologies for the delay in this response. About the process in India, it's clear that all of us who care about the future of the movement in India need to continue to engage on what that looks like - whether language communities, WMIN, CIS or WMF. It's also worth remembering that the opinions of a vast range of Indian Wikimedians are not necessarily represented here on Meta, and it's important for us to engage with them more thoughtfully. Given that our approach to India has changed relatively recently, part of our outreach (and learning) process was to have a series of constructive conversations in India earlier this year with WMIN, CIS and some community members, but I do think there's more we need to do - and Asaf and I have been discussing what that might look like, in preliminary explorations with WMIN members and CIS. I do agree with you that CIS may be bearing the brunt of not having the community involved more fully in the past, which is why we're doing our best to change that - with our visit to India, our ongoing conversations with WMIN and community members, as well as with CIS being part of a global participatory peer-review process like the FDC. As I said, we'll certainly do more, so please be assured we'll come back to the Indian community for ideas, advice and support on this as we roll into the implementation phase of our annual plan (July onwards).
Let's also be clear that given the relatively short history of our movement, we are still very much in the phase of experimentation and starting to solidify on certain approaches, so it continues to be difficult to say exactly how one strategy (entirely volunteer-led) vs. another (entirely staff-led) or a third (a combination of the two) or any other permutation works best for which kind of programmes. This is why (on a separate note), we need to get better as a movement at assessing our goals and achievements, and learning from our successes and failures. From my experience in other movements and community organising, I feel that a movement likes ours - with so much potential and so much to do, particularly in a complex context like India - needs every kind of support and intervention: whether by volunteers, Wikimedia organisations or allied organisations. The trick (and frankly, if we all knew the answer to this, we wouldn't be having these passionate and important discussions) is working out complementarity: how best can these different interventions work together in the most effective way possible? I would like us to engage in these conversations constructively and in good faith - as you are, Prad2609, so thank you - so that we truly can achieve the potential we all see in the Indian context. ASengupta (WMF) (talk) 12:29, 30 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Status on strategic and annual targets[edit]

The proposal is lacking clear presentation of where the movement stands against 2015 Strategic targets and 2013-14 annual targets as a whole, though information is provided in bits and pieces. The previous year's plan has information on annual plan targets. While the last available status for strategic targets for 2015 was in 2012-13 plan A summary status and/or comments on any proposal to amend strategic targets based on the experience gained is requested. --Arjunaraoc (talk) 09:41, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Seconded. Cf. #Stabilize infrastructure: AWOL. --Nemo 14:36, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
That is a reasonable point but remember this is an early version of the Annual Plan. Hopefully we'll see that kind of information as the plan document evolves. --Pine 07:08, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Dealing with declining India regional language page views(both desktop and mobile)[edit]

While the drop in desktop page requests surfaced as a top concern for 2013 for English and other large Wikipedias, for most Indian regional languages, even mobile page requests have declined in the last six-nine months. This is happening despite the innovations attempted like Mobile, Wikipedia zero, Catalyst program/CIS-A2K engagement etc. There seem to be other dominant factors at play. What is the foundation doing or plans to do to understand the situation in detail from different environmental factors, to enable better planning for 2014-2015 and also for the strategic plan 2015-2020? --Arjunaraoc (talk) 10:11, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

This trend is actually occurring throughout the project and isn't specific of India articles. This is, IMO, due more to the toxic editing culture that has gradually rooted itself over the years. Editing Wikipedia is a volunteer effort so it needs to be fun. If its not at least enjoyable, people won't do it. Right now, there is so much infighting within the project and admins trying to show how important they are, its not enjoyable. It doesn't matter how many shiny new tools are implemented or how many Wikilove apps the WMF creates. If the admins on Wikipedia are allowed to continue to treat editors like second class citizens and dive away new editors, things like Visual editor are not going to help regardless of how much money you spend on thieeir development. Reguyla (talk) 23:14, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I'd agree that our understanding of reader behavior is incomplete and our strategic vision is to enable a much more data-informed approach to product development to help address the issues you bring up. The first step is to upgrade our analytical capabilities with the deployment of a more scalable infrastructure to allow us to understand our traffic at a more detailed level than we can today. We're almost finished with this first step and are starting to address issues of definitions, data usage and distribution with the community. We're also ramping up our expertise with specific projects around mobile and desktop traffic and fundraising; two areas where traffic patterns are especially relevant. Please review our Quarterly Review presentation for more info. TNegrin (WMF) (talk) 21:18, 30 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
See also the slide (added on the right) about ongoing work in this area, from the Analytics team's presentation about traffic trends at the monthly metrics meeting on February 6 (video). Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 22:36, 30 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
That is a fair assessment and I understand these things take time. May I offer some suggestions. There are a lot of things, like the ones you mention, that could be developed, at least in part, by Wikipedians. IMO, if you were to develop some ability to ask for takers, it would save the organizaton a lot of money. There are a lot of academics with Phd's or advanced degrees that could and would be willing to do some of this already. If this were mine to lead I would suggest determining some things and then establishing some working groups made of of WMF folks and Wikipedians and perhaps at Wikimania or a meetup somewhere, you could work to solve some of these problems. This would help improve the us and them mentality that exists between the WMF and the community and foster some cooperation between the 2. I think you would be surprised at the result. And I say that as someone who has a fairly low opinion of the English Wikipedia community at the moment. Reguyla (talk) 20:23, 15 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

Effectiveness of Mobile Research strategy using Personas.[edit]

I participated in Research:Mobile_Strategy_Research/India during 2011. Now that WMF has deployed Mobile Wiki solutions for over two years what has been the effectiveness of that research. What predictions worked and what did not work? Has there been any assessment? Are any alternatives being considered for future work?--Arjunaraoc (talk) 11:19, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Developing an agile strategy[edit]

Engineering and product development has been following modern Agile practices, while the strategy is still traditional spanning five years at a time. Strategy does not seem to undergo any modifications at least based on the annual plan experiences. Why can't strategy development be more agile, as we are dealing with information like other Internet technology companies. --Arjunaraoc (talk) 11:53, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Thanks for the question, Arjunaraoc. The new Executive Director will largely define the new approach for strategic planning. In the meantime, the staff and the board have had discussions about whether or not a five year strategic plan makes sense for WMF and if a more agile approach would be more effective. --Lgruwell (talk) 19:26, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
If you want a little free advice. It would make sense to establish a short term, mid term and long term plan for something like Wikipedia. Determine what are the things you want to do with the project, then decide where they fit short, mid or longterm. The short term goals should help build on the midterm ones and the midterm goals should help build on the long term ones. Short term being the things you want to do this year mid term are the next 1-3 and the long term are 3+. Reguyla (talk) 23:18, 21 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Just a thought about Newcomers. This new comer.[edit]

Having been a newcomer to Wikipedia I had acted out rashly trying to edit others publications. I didn't do it to proof my "soap box attitude"(in my opinion that is a racist/biased statement to a poor person) with great respect to a certain person that had blocked me. I adore this persons vigilance to protect this organization from legal implications that could very well destroy the whole idea of Wikipedia. I am not writing my comment here to ask for my editing right back nor do I expect my editing rights back soon or ever again. I have to learn the right way to do it 1st before I could actually "help improve the encyclopedia." This will take time.

The attitude by some editors(established ones), I believe, is that this domain is not under jurisdiction of any country, it is an organization an Independent one. Yet to stay afloat wouldn't Wikipedia need, lets say, US dollar donations as well as any De facto currency. This indeed would subjugate Wikipedia to abide to a whole wide range of legal implications that if some one took absolutely serious and had the dedication, could, in all honesty, sue Wikipedia or get it banned/blocked in a particular Country, regardless of Wikipedia's intention to improve education across the world.

My proposal would be this. When a newcomer comes to Wikipedia that they automatically are not given the right to edit. This could lead to even the most well intended persons to make a controversial edit and seriously diminish time spent here for advisers to play a role of active guardians stealing their time away from important projects. Time = money. Merit to edit should be proven and earned. Proper structure is very important in all realms for example, A chain of command, with various balances and checks. I wouldn't want advisers to let the worse of people to get the better of them and come off, in my simple way of thinking, rude.

Sandbox feature should be step one in making a account and not to punish some one because they lack the experience of a proper educational process or structure(depending on your point of view). I could name lists of people that added to the world for the better that never got proper due because they seemed different, alien, not with "herd of traditional thought." Why waste my time if you don't understand my statements.

I believe, from my point of view, that all scribes are "Artists" even if it a norm and we are trained to be so. To be automatically put in talk page about your intellectual ideas is, in some form, a wrong process of intellectual publication. 1st comes the artist THEN the editor. Some publications could take decades of a persons life. I understand that Wikipedia has only so much bytes of information to store and is in the midst of a expanding the world of information. This could actually lead to the uselessness of Wikipedia through greater invention. That being said Sand box 1st option is a safe guard. You could invent a que button to bring in adviser/editors to make suggestions or post laws of not accepting certain points of a persons "thesis". I also think this would be a safe guard against hackers trying to spam or even to insert pre-made engines to shut Wikipedia or parts of Wikipedia down. Nothing is full proof. In a scientific process of entering a new (physical)environment there is a decontamination process. Yes Wikipedia is "airspace" but it is subjected to the scientific method as well.

At any rate, I really did come here to improve this place. I could have tweeted the inventor, but that would break the chain of command, in my opinion. Even if I could or could not give a blessing here, I do so, even if my follow sisters and brothers from different families didn't believe the same way as me or others. So God Bless You all.

Forgive my improper format, I ask in/of earnest love. Thank You for your time in reading this.

— The preceding unsigned comment was added by Andrew Chuprevich (talk) 4:02, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Grants and governance[edit]

I'm glad that governance has been highlighted among the main organisational risks. Culturally (in the West in particular), there is an increased focus on value for money, and how money is spent in general. I've very rarely commented on Wikimedia issues in my six years as an editor, but I can't help but think that the expansion of chapter, expenses and grant spending has opened up significant risk to public image. This could impact future funding, ability to recruit technical staff, and participation at all levels. The lessons of the Belfer placement and Sue Gardner's criticisms need to be learnt quickly. GLAM event have been relatively successful, but when I look at much of the rest of a chapter's spending I don't see how £60K-pa CEOs are value for money or even relevant to what we're supposed to be doing. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 20:18, 22 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

We haven't discussed chapter funding through the WMF in the Annual Plan. I think you make good points but they would be best discussed when we start the next Strategic Plan. In case you're interested in WMF executive salaries, that information is publicly available on WMF's Form 990. I think a broader discussion about executive compensation at chapters and WMF would be appropriate for the WMF Board at some point but it's a stretch to include a review of executive compensation in this Annual Plan talk page. --Pine 07:06, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
@Sillyfolkboy: The Belfer Center Wikipedian–in–Residence programme took place under the auspices of the Wikimedia Foundation, and has nothing—nothing to do with any of the chapters existing at that time, so I wonder why you're mentioning chapters as a risk factor to prove your point. odder (talk) 09:46, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
I agree with much of what Sillyfolkboy is saying. For example, the Chapter here in DC is almost useless. We have a lot of good organizations here in the DC area and if used properly the chapter here could make a tremendous impact on the future of the project. Instead though, they generate a negative image with a lot of the Archives and museums in the DC area. Several have voiced interest in working with Wikipedia but the DC chapter just sits on their hands and doesn't talk to them unless they want something from them (a meeting room for a Wikiconference, free swag, a tour, etc.). If we truly want them to work with us, we need to treat them as an asset, not like we treat editors on the site...as throwaway, disposable and replacable commodities that are easily replacable. With the exception of a couple, the chapters are a drain on resources . Reguyla (talk) 14:25, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
LOL, funny that you say so of a chapter without staff. Don't ask what the chapter did for you, but what you did for the chapter. --Nemo 15:44, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
My concern is governance throughout WMF and chapters, not just chapters. Sue Gardner's criticisms raised chapter risks, hence my mentioning chapters after that link.
Risk-wise, it's quite straight forward for the WMF to control negative impact of WMF-led initiatives. I think chapters present much the same level of the reputational risk to WMF, yet they are often conflated with WMF despite their independence from it - this is why I think they pose greater organisational risk and why the WMF needs to ensure good governance in grantmaking. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 17:17, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
The same is true of the contrary. For instance, the FDC system first created and then criticised by the WMF, as well as the Belfer position, produced bad press worldwide; chapters had to deal with it despite not having any control over such decisions. --Nemo 18:40, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
If a chapter is actually doing something meaningful and can prove they are providing a return on investment to the project through outeach, collaboration with local organizations, recruiting editors, development of content, etc. then great. But if all the chapter does is meet once in a while and strategize without action such as many of them do, then they shouldn't get any funding. Further, as has been mentioned, if the right people aren't in place they could prove to be an embarrasment at least and a detriment at worse to the project. I just think the chapters need to provide some solid proof that they are making a difference which most don't and the perception by several of the museums and organizations in the DC area is that the local one here only wants to work with them when they want something. Reguyla (talk) 19:20, 23 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
TL;DR: value for money, please. Ok.
This page is for WMF's case, see also #Measurable results. For funds (if any) received by other entities and groups like WMDC, see e.g. wmdc:Category:Plans and Grants:PEG/WM US-DC. --Nemo 08:25, 24 April 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thank you for those links, there is some interesting stuff there. I just find the idea of giving away money like these proposals suggest when the WMF just put up a big ugly "please give us money so we can keep the servers running" message. Reguyla (talk) 11:43, 25 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Impact report of previous grant[edit]

For more details on the previous year performance impact of WMF, please see WMF 2012-13 Impact report. It will be good to have this as a mandatory link for the proposal.--Arjunaraoc (talk) 06:06, 28 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Wikimedia suggestions[edit]

I suggest that wikimedia increase its content by asking ebay to ask sellers to grant permission for use of their images. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by TomTrottier (talk) 01:26, 30 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Hi, that sounds like an interesting idea - I think that being able to reuse product photos from Ebay on Wikimedia projects would be great.
But it's probably out of scope for this particular draft annual plan of the Wikimedia Foundation. However, you could share your idea at the IdeaLab and see if other people want to help implementing it. Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 05:21, 30 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Wikimedia Font[edit]

Some of writing-systems have not a proper free font. Wikimedia foundation can work to create standard fonts for Wiki.

thanks -- Alinowe (talk) 17:01, 30 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Metrics for the infrastructure programs?[edit]

Hello. One of the things I'm very concerned about at the moment is the absence of performance metrics for the infrastructure section of this plan. Can I ask a few questions to try to clarify this topic?

  1. I understand that there is a plan to develop metrics over the rest of this month and next month; please could the process for doing that be expanded on, with a particular focus on how the resulting goals will be SMART or otherwise clearly targeted and measurable? Will there be community involvement in this process?
  2. I'd like to understand the distinction that is made here between strategic goals and management priorities - looking at the current year's goals a lot of the 'goals' look more like priorities to me rather than things that can be shown to have been achieved (e.g. things like 'More Content Translation'). Is there a plan to make the forthcoming year's goals SMARTer, and higher quality as a whole across the different groups?
  3. Are there standard targets/commitments for things like site uptime and performance, frequency of data dumps, rate of reviewing code, etc.? Are these tracked over multiple years?
  4. Can links to the summary sheets of the monitoring tools used be shared, please? Also links to the reports that are mentioned?
  5. Are there long-term goals for the infrastructure work? What will the state of the work be in 3 years time?

Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 19:53, 5 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

Hi Mike,
Allow me to address your questions more broadly. The goals will be developed here. It's a bottom-up process with some high-level guidance. Each team has a designated coordinator whose role it is to ensure that the required conversations take place, and that all stakeholders are consulted in the process, in a manner that makes sense for the team. A first revision of the goals is due June 6, and they will then be iterated on through June to be finalized before the beginning of the fiscal year.
Team-level goals are reviewed/revised on an at least quarterly basis through the quarterly reviews process. For the purposes of the final version of the Annual Plan, we'll identify some high-level goals/targets that we feel make sense to shoot for at the annual level, and which will be less likely to be revised (if they are, it will be in consultation with the Board).
In developing metrics/targets, our focus is on emphasizing good practices from the bottom up, rather than establishing metrics/targets from the top down. For instance, in the last year, most teams have invested effort in finding the best ways to measure and track their work, both in terms of measuring the impact, and the quality of the work and process. This includes:
  • The Enginering Community Team has invested effort in a Wikimedia Technical Community dashboard in partnership with an external firm specializing in analytics for open source development, Bitergia. This dashboard is still experimental but it, or a version of it, should ultimately serve as a way to measure the health of the open source ecosystem around MediaWiki.
  • The operations and platform teams have collaborated on significantly improved site performance metrics. A lot of the key metrics can now be found in gdash, which accesses data collected in our Graphite setup (itself not publicly accessible due to concerns related to private data). These metrics help both at the level of an individual product like VisualEditor, and at the level of the site performance as a whole.
  • Greg Grossmeier has led an effort in partnership with the operations team to significantly improve tracking of site incidents, including a new quarterly postmortem review process to ensure that we follow up on root cause analysis.
  • The platform team continues to make improvements to our continuous integration infrastructure which, beyond automated testing, computes metrics such as code coverage analysis (still pretty rudimentary).
  • Individual teams have built many different dashboards for tracking team-relevant metrics. Examples include the mobile reportcard, the Wikipedia Zero dashboard, and others. In addition teams use process metrics such as "story points completed in a sprint" to measure and improve their ability to deliver work. Acceptance criteria are becoming more refined to increasingly include necessarily validation steps, driving towards continuously validating work e.g. through user-testing.
In short, the organization is continually becoming more data/evidence-informed, and this process can only happen from the bottom up in order for metrics to be meaningful and not simply an expression of vague aspirations. I am giving our teams guidance to escalate metrics to the level of the goals-document where they feel they can confidently set meaningful targets that are actually relevant to their work, and am requesting targets or milestones for the highest priority work. This is not a onetime process at the beginning of the fiscal year, but something to iterate on as well. A set of high priority targets/milestones will be included in the final version of the Annual Plan.
In the next year, we will spend more effort organizing the key performance indicators for the organization as a whole (iterating on the old report card which is overdue for an overhaul), strategically closing gaps in our analytical framework, and raising the visibility of existing metrics where appropriate. But just insisting on "SMART" without meaningful contextual differentiation would be anything but.--Eloquence (talk) 06:45, 21 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
(A more complete list is on Statistics.) Thanks, let's see if I understood the answers:
  1. They won't; sort of;
  2. no;
  3. no;
  4. done;
  5. no.
Correct? --Nemo 07:28, 21 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
Not really; the "tl;dr" is "it depends".--Eloquence (talk) 07:47, 21 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
Nemo, I agree with you that more performance metrics are needed. However, I'm glad to see the org moving in the direction of more quantifiable measures, and I'm glad they're moving in a direction that makes sense and that there is a bottom up approach to thinking about performance measurements and targets. A key assumption here is that WMF employees are internally motivated, and I think the majority of them are so I'm willing to AGF more than I would for a lot of other orgs. I think the WMF has its share of problems, but I think optimistically that with the new ED's arrival we're going to see it move in directions that you and I both agree are good, including greater awareness of quantitative information throughout the org. --Pine 06:43, 22 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
Thanks Erik. Mike Peel (talk) 08:07, 22 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

Community review period has ended on 30 April[edit]

Thanks to all who have engaged so actively with the discussions about this proposal! Community discussion during the review period is an important input into the FDC process, and is considered very carefully by the FDC. We appreciate everyone's engagement with this proposal, but we would also like to remind all that the Community Review Period for 2013-2014 Round 2 proposals has ended on 30 April. While everyone is free to continue to comment, the FDC or FDC staff may not be able to take further comments into account when preparing assessments of this proposal or consider new comments during the deliberations. While we ask organizations to be responsive to comments and questions during this review period (until 30 April), we do not ask organizations to reply to new comments and questions made after that date within any particular timeframe; therefore, it may take some time for organizations to reply to any new comments. Thank you to everyone for your engagement and your understanding. Best regards, Winifred Olliff (FDC Support Team) talk 04:01, 6 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

Late comment (however upon request :) )[edit]

per request I would like to add just 2 cents.

Community/Product Related/Environmental Risks[edit]

  • We are all aware that the activity of editors has been shrinking in many languages for a while and that networks have their own dynamics (including critical mass and a "winner takes it all" rapid dynamics) so I am a bit surprised that a risk of rapid deterioration / sudden collapse of contributors' base has not been recognized. Similar thing: we can read about increasing diversity and bringing new editors, while traditionally less expensive retention (keeping old contributors) is not called explicitly.
  • A risk of alternative products/encyclopedias based on existing free resources but providing a better suited service for some populations (different Point of View / political spin, better or different technology and user experience etc.) is skipped.
  • Decrease in desktop page views: search providers like Google are clearly cutting into Wikimedia territory with introducing new structured ways of presenting results, e.g. during Winter Olympics 2014 live results, statistics etc. were presented by Google in a new fashion, reducing a need of using Wikis.

Abovementioned risks might need some action plans with budgets. OTOH enumerated points with action steps like site visits and on wiki consultations look very reasonable.

Hiring and limited talent pool in Silicon Valley[edit]

Wikimedia as a global movement has a strong position to hire internationally (Silicon Valley superpowers are doing so already) obtaining talents from far cheaper markets. Local affiliates could be used to attract new candidates as well as remote work and off-shored competence centre (maybe managed by an affiliate?) should be considered ASAP. E.g.: Wikia (commercial wiki provider) has been running their software development in Poznań, Poland for many years and I believe their costs of staff are smaller than 100k USD per person while obtaining a good quality of work.
In comparison, WMF costs are high: $1,145,000 increase in spendings on "mobile" to hire 11 new staff members - target of 29 staff with $3,759,000 budget, $2,062,000 increase in spendings in "Editors Engagement" to hire 5 new staff members! - target of $6,719,941 for 48 staffers).

Mobile devices: Experiment with new ways to contribute specifically from mobile devices, recognizing the specific opportunities that mobile usage can present.[edit]

In my opinion this is the crucial endavour for Wikimedia and their software development. Changing environment (new standards of User Experience: touch interfaces, small screen and tablets, smaller and smaller familiarity with batch mode of traditional wikieditor, potential editors' demographics growing older, want of gamification) requires a search for new ways of contributing to Wikimedia (a "game" where the "player" sees an edit and evaluates whether it is O.K. or not? Automated "add an citation" tool opening a new tab of web browser and allowing to add a proper quote with two clicks? etc. etc.)
The search of new tools will require a considerable budget, taking into account not only software developers but also a proper qualitative market research, testing and implementation&support afterwards. Wide and deep research of new UXs (if done) will probably require more than a 44% increase in "mobile" and "editor engagement" spendings.

On the other hand, some initiatives like "The Flow" are begging for an independent evaluation if they are really worth their budget. Let us say that the users were not precisely thrilled during the first tests.

"Non-Technical Movement Support" and "Other" budget items[edit]

These are the biggest budget groups and yet they are pretty diverse and their descriptions are very general. In sum, they should be split into more detailed positions. What is more, they see the biggest nominal increase of the requested budget, which is not well explained amd a bit surprising, especially in the "Other" part.

What is more, the "Other" part, which can be treated as a general cost of management / running an organization, aims to constitute of ca. 25% of the total budget which is IMVHO a so-soish value.

Best Regards and I hope it helps.
aegis maelstrom δ 21:50, 8 May 2014 (UTC)Reply

While not the requestor, I appreciated these comments. Thank you, Aegis. SJ talk  22:03, 14 May 2014 (UTC)Reply
The explanations for the FY 13-14/14-15 comparisons in the FAQ don't make sense -- obviously we're not paying $2M to hire 5 new staff, or $425K to hire 12 staff for that matter! Pinging Garfield so he's aware of the issue. I suspect the underlying cause is a difference in allocation of staff to programs between fiscal years.
Generally speaking, more than half the engineering/product department (including part-time contractors) is not based in the San Francisco Bay Area. We don't have offices in other locations, but we hire wherever we find awesome people, and only relocate folks to HQ if they want to and/or their position requires it. We use cost-of-living adjustments for different geographies to arrive at fair comp. We might choose to open other offices down the road, but my own recommendation is to continually optimize for being a highly distributed organization instead as it gives us maximum flexibility and diversity. We also offer flexible use of co-working spaces for our remote workers. I view additional offices as more suitable for partner organizations like Wikimedia Chapters. Wikimedia Germany leads development of Wikidata with a small team in their Berlin office, and I'd love to see other chapters get more involved in engineering work down the road.--Eloquence (talk) 08:40, 21 May 2014 (UTC)Reply